Posts Tagged ‘Mercedes M. Yardley’


That’s pretty exciting for me! The Whitney Awards are for LDS authors, and I’m thrilled that Nameless: The Darkness Comes was nominated for it! Especially since it might be a little bit different than the typical LDS fare. I’m so excited that the judges will take the time to read it, and hopefully even enjoy it a little. :)

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I can’t tell you the tears, both his and mine, that have ensued because of new schools.


This is my darling Niko. He has Williams Syndrome, and had been shuffled from school to school to school until he ended up in an autism classroom with the BEST teacher ever. She loved him and he thrived with her for three years. Now it’s time to send him to middle school. Yikes!

There are a few things I learned during all of these transitions, and if any of these tips can help you, you’re welcome to them, my friend. Anything to make it easier, yes?

1. Familiarize your child with the school.

If you can go and wander around, do so. In Vegas everything is chained up and no wandering is permitted, so we looked his school up online and familiarized ourselves that way. Today is the Meet and Greet, so we’re going to meet his teacher and see the school in person. We already picked out special landmarks (the main doors, the mascot, etc) so he can identify them when we get there.


2. The teaching staff will take their cues from you.

I wish I had figured this out earlier. I was always so overwhelmed by Niko’s explosive behavior. He would squawk and bang his head against walls. He’d also headbutt and bloody my nose. He’s a very sweet child, but would become anxious rapidly, and his first teacher treated him horribly.Because of this, he freaked out whenever he was at school. I was terrified that he’d be unloved and abused again, and would often introduce him with that fear in my eyes and voice.

I was teaching the staff to be wary of my son. I didn’t mean to, but I was so busy warning them about his triggers that they didn’t have a chance to see what a beautiful, affectionate boy he is. So  I changed my approach.

“This is Niko. He loves washers and dryers. He struggles with handwriting but types beautifully. He loves music and if you give him a chance, he’ll love you.”

This is how I introduce him now. Yes, we can discuss triggers and negative behavior and all of these other important things. But first off, I introduce them to my son.  And he will bring joy to their lives. Joy, not fear.


3. Familiarize staff with your child and their diagnosis.

I use a scrapbook that he takes with him on the first day. It’s simply made out of paper and copied pictures. That way the teacher can keep it all year if he or she chooses. The scrapbook is a fun, positive way to let them know about Niko’s like and dislikes. This is where I discuss his personal triggers. “Niko is terrified of loud noises. He has OCD and will repeat things incessantly. He thrives on a schedule and repeating it to him will calm him.”

I also give them a folder on Williams Syndrome so they’re aware of the condition. Most haven’t heard of it. I take care not to overwhelm them with lengthy, difficult information, but give them a general overview so they’re not paddling in the dark.

An example of a scrapbook.

An example of a scrapbook.


4. Set your child up to succeed.

What do they personally need? Niko has difficultly with buttons, latches, and anything with fine motor skills. Doing the hook and eye on his school uniform shorts is nearly impossible for him. I bought him elastic-waist uniform shorts so he can pull them up and down easily without help. What can you, as a parent, do to help your child be as successful as possible? Pack a lunch with a certain cup that he or she can use without help? Have him wear only navy shirts because that’s the only school uniform color that doesn’t panic him? There’s pressure to have our children fit in. If everybody is wearing the red shirt, maybe we want them to wear the red shirt, as well. But if it doesn’t benefit our kiddos, then it isn’t worth worrying about. Make them comfortable.


5. Send in soothers.

What calms your child down when he or she is upset? Niko is soothed by movement, so we bought an inexpensive rocking banana chair and donated it to the classroom. (After asking permission, of course.)  He also does well bouncing on an exercise ball. If he’s hysterical, wrapping him in a blanket and rocking him helps. He also has one specific music album, Sufjan Steven’s “Illinois” album that seems to reach him when nothing else will. We sent in a CD for the classroom CD player, and also loaded it on an iPod for him with earphones. Give your child’s teacher all the help and tools that you can.


6. Don’t assume the school has all of the information it needs.

Wearing the bus harness

Wearing the bus harness

If your child needs to take medicine at school, make sure everybody knows. Niko wears a harness on the school bus so he doesn’t wander around and get brought home by the police.  Even though the harness is in all of his transportation paperwork, the bus driver never seems to have that information. When I talk to them before the first run, I make sure to tell them about the harness so they have the bus’ half of the harness installed. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Things get lost in the shuffle. Don’t feel that you’re being nagging or annoying. You’re just being a good parent or caregiver. :)

So those are six things that I’m doing to help Niko begin the terrifying world of Middle School. :P I’ll admit that I’m still a wreck, though.  What tips and suggestions do you have? Please share. And best of luck this school year to you and your little one!


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Just for fun. :)

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1. People will give you terrible advice out of love. They’ll tell you to give up on writing and focus on a more stable career. Thank them, with a smile, for their concern. Then ignore them. Firmly.

2. Enjoy every success. It’s easy to look ahead and work for the next big success to the exclusion of where you are now. Don’t let this happen. It will steal your joy away.

3. There will be controversies and scandals and feuds. Writers like to be heard, and one way to do that is to hop on the bandwagon and shout along with everyone else. This doesn’t make you stand out. It almost always gets you in trouble. If you have a firm opinion on something and want to share it because it is dear to your soul, absolutely go ahead and do so. But instead of taking the time to be part of an argument, use that time to write.

4. If you’re not having fun anymore, go ahead and quit. There’s no shame in it. The rewards for writing are few and far between. Write for the love.

5. You’ll find that much of the wheeling and dealing happens at conventions in hotel rooms after the main event. And for women, you’ll be treated differently in this situation. It is not necessary, ever, to be someplace that you feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable. Writers like to spin tales. Don’t ever put yourself in a situation where you could become a victim or villain in somebody’s story. Be a person of class, and eventually the opportunities you hope for will come to you. You won’t need to chase them.

Good luck!

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I found this delicious recipe on The imPerfect Housewife and had to try it. It’s just as good and easy as promised.


You will need:

2 quarts of softened vanilla ice cream

1 container of whipped cream

1 cup of sugar

1 stick of butter

3 cups of crushed corn flakes (Crush them before measuring them. I…didn’t do that until after the picture. Sorry!)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon


Crush up your cornflakes and measure them. Then melt your butter in a frying pan, and add the crushed cornflakes and sugar. Stir it for about three minutes.

fried ice cream recipe

Pour about half of the cornflake mixture into a casserole dish. I used a 9×11. Pat it down nicely to form a crust.  Then stir together the softened ice cream, whipped cream, and the cinnamon.

homemade fried ice cream recipe

Pour it on top of the crust. Then sprinkle the rest of the cornflake mixture on top. Freeze it, and it’s an absolutely amazing treat! The imPerfect Housewife suggested drizzling some honey on top, and she hit it out of the ballpark. That tiny taste of honey made such a big difference. Suddenly it’s a wonderfully luxurious dessert. Enjoy!

Fried Ice Cream

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10552561_1461500197440122_5235131119817003125_nEarlier I wrote a post about Found Poetry. I wrote something new and unique using Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. Ah, Bradbury! What a thing of beauty!

Now imagine that you’re writing a found poem based on something a little more…well, base.

Introducing R.J. Keller’s brainchild 50 SHADES OF REGRET. And I can hardly type this with a straight face!

R.J. picked up everybody’s favorite book, 50 Shades of Grey and used it to create brilliant blackout poetry, such as this gem:

Double crap

Holy crap

Poem #2, by R.J. Keller.


Art! It’s art, I say!

I bought my own copy from Goodwill, brandished my Lysol, and I’m going to take a crack at it, as well.


If you’d like to join us, you can find us at the 50 Shades of Regret Facebook page.

Art on. :)

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You guys know that I adore Lee. Great man, great writer, great friend. He’s celebrating the release of his new crime novel A Beautiful Madness, and you can enter the giveaway!
A Beautiful Madness novel cover (2) (402x640)
A Texas Senator and his wife go missing… On the same day, their son is slaughtered by an enigmatic killer on the lawn of ex-Governor Edward Wood’s residence. Sammy, Wood’s drug dealing son, suspects his father of the crime. After all, his old man snapped once before and crippled his wife with a lead pipe. But there’s something more to these events…something deeper and festering just beneath the surface…
In direct opposition to Homicide Detective Jim Thompson, Sammy begins an investigation of his own, searching for the truth in a labyrinth of lies, deception, depravity and violence that drags him deeper into darkness and mayhem with each step. And in doing so, brings them all into the sights of an elusive and horrifying killer who may not be what he seems.
A brutal killer on a rampage of carnage…a hardened detective on the brink…an antihero from the shadows…a terrifying mystery that could destroy them all…
Welcome to Lee Thompson’s A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS blog tour! This blog, and the others participating, will receive a paperback copy to give to a random reader who leaves a comment and shares this post.
Throughout the book tour, I’ll be sharing fun facts about my first Mystery/Thriller, and also offering dubious advice to novice writers because I’ve had writers and editors farther along the path than myself give me tips that have helped me tremendously. If you want to up your game, pay attention and pass what you find useful on to those in your critique groups.
If you’re here as a reader, thanks so much. You’re every author’s life source. You’re the yin to our yang. The stories we set down on paper don’t seem to exist until someone else has read them, and the more the merrier.
Why You Should Read Widely
By reading great writers, across all genres, we develop more complex emotions and can learn to use those emotions to create more well-rounded characters.
By reading great writers, across all genres, we meet all kinds of people.
Chances are if you’ve spent most of your life stuck in a three or four different jobs, a couple different serious relationships, and still live in the place where you graduated high school, your worldview and the kinds of people you interact with in your neighborhood is very limited.
But the casts in dozens of terrific novels will help you see the scope of the world we live in and broaden your knowledge of people, which you can then use in your work.
A big hang-up for many novice writers is writing the same characters over and over and over because they have not lived enough or have not read enough to grasp the potential kinds of people available to populate their stories.
You’ll learn different ways to tell different stories, and different ways with which to start and end the scenes in your book. There’s an art to it, and we can learn it if we’ve got a smorgasbord to sample and lock away for future use.
You’ll learn and be influenced by different prose styles, have to look up and discover the meaning behind words, you’ll find those ‘ah ha’ moments hidden inside the structure of great plots, and when you read hundreds of novels that give an emotional payoff, you’ll dissect the dozens of ways it can be done.
It’ll make you a better writer, that’s all.
So don’t shortchange yourself or your audience by being a snob and saying you can only read this type of fiction because everything else is garbage.
For some variety, check out these novels (some of my favorites): THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green; GRENDEL by John Gardner; THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS by John Connolly; A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN by Tom Piccirilli; NAMELESS by Mercedes Yardley; THE DAMNED by John D. MacDonald; GALILEE by Clive Barker; THE RAPIST by Les Edgerton; THE THROAT by Peter Straub; WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen; THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott; SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn; MYSTIC RIVER by Dennis Lehane; AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner; FEAST DAY OF FOOLS by James Lee Burke.
In A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS, my protagonist Sammy grew up as a governor’s son and was used to those types of people and that lifestyle; as an adult he’s a drug dealer, selling to that same upper crust, and also has a lot of experience swimming along the underbelly of society thanks to the way his sister Delilah lives her life.
If he’d had a different history and personality the story would have been a completely different one since he would be a different person. And as he reads the people around him like we read books, he begins to change himself, and he’ll need that change to survive all the death-threatening obstacles he faces.
 Lee T.
Author bio: Lee Thompson is the author of the Suspense novels A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS (August 2014), IT’S ONLY DEATH (January 2015), and WITH FURY IN HAND (May 2015). The dominating threads weaved throughout his work are love, loss, and learning how to live again. A firm believer in the enduring power of the human spirit, Lee believes that stories, no matter their format, set us on the path of transformation. He is represented by the extraordinary Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary. Visit Lee’s website to discover more: www.leethompsonfiction.com
A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS main page (http://www.leethompsonfiction.com/?page_id=2423)
Enter to win a paperback copy! There will also be a grand prize at the end of the tour where one winner will receive my novel, and four other DarkFuse novels in Kindle format!
Simply leave a comment on this blog and share the link.
Thanks to those who participate.
Happy reading~ Lee

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Woo hoo! TeleRead reviews my debut urban fantasy novel, Nameless: The Darkness Comes. It’s a pretty awesome review and it makes me happy. What is even funnier, though, is that the sequel to Nameless is titled Relentless.  Why does that make me crack up? Read the review and find out! :D

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I was there for World Horror Convention. I stayed in a beautiful house with my friends. We experienced joy and tragedy. It was a house of laughter and sorrow, much like the city.

Enjoy a few pictures of the city last year. It was such a pleasure.


My laptop, a bay blanket, and a “Don’t Forget Me” letter from my middlest. :)


We rented a house that came with a bottle of vodka and a game of Twister. I touched neither. I can’t say the same for my housemates.



Mason Bundschuh and Mort Castle play ukelele and harmonica after the Bram Stoker Awards.


How do you do that voodoo you do so well?



This is my brother in everything but blood. I bought my own uke right after this.



It was just such a pleasure to be somewhere so different from home.


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The paperback of my debut NAMELESS is five dollars off!  Woo! I’m not certain how long this promotion is going on, so if you’re interested in a book, you’ll want to jump on it. I’ll quote directly from The Ragnarok Team, here.

In celebration of Ragnarok’s Facebook page surpassing 1,000 LIKES, we’re offering $5 off print editions of NAMELESS, DEAD WEST OMNIBUS, DEVOURER OF SOULS, THE FORTY FIRST WINK, PATH OF THE DEAD, and DAMOREN.

Follow these links to the CreateSpace eStore and enter the code at checkout: TLPYH9BS







* REMEMBER! Enter code: TLPYH9BS
** Paperbacks editions only.
*** Shipping charges still apply.

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