“Loving You Darkly”

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Art  for “Loving You Darkly” by Brian Demers.

I’m delighted to announce that my short story “Loving You Darkly” has made the  Short Fiction preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards.  This means that it was chosen along with nine other short stories, and there will be a vote by Horror Writer Association members. Five stories will be chosen for the final ballot, and a winner will eventually be picked.

It’s crazy because we don’t write for awards, but it feels really good to be validated by our peers. Thank you to everyone who took the time and effort to read our works and vote. I know it isn’t an easy process.

“Loving You Darkly” was published by Tethered by Letters in their F(r)iction Magazine and can be read online here. I’m particularly proud of this story and of the journey that editor D.M. Hedlund and I went on to make this story as strong as it could be. It’s a timely tale about love, revenge, and justice when your life collapses.

There are some amazing works on the ballot, and here it is. Hopefully you can find some new works to fall in love with this year!

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Barker, J.D. – The Fourth Monkey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Golden, Christopher – Ararat (St. Martin’s Press)

Jemc, Jac – The Grip of It (FSG Originals)

King, Stephen and King, Owen – Sleeping Beauties (Scribner)

Malerman, Josh – Black Mad Wheel (Ecco)

McGrath, Patrick – The Wardrobe Mistress (Hutchinson)

Miskowski, S.P. – I Wish I Was Like You (JournalStone)

Nevill, Adam – Under a Watchful Eye (Pan Macmillan)

Rabarts, Dan and Murray, Lee – Hounds of the Underworld (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Purcell, Laura – The Silent Companions: A Ghost Story (Raven Books)

Tem, Steve Rasnic – Ubo (Solaris)

 

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Cabeen, Robert Payne – Cold Cuts (Omnium Gatherum Media)

Davidson, Andy – In the Valley of the Sun (Skyhorse Publishing)

Hartwell, Ash – Tip of the Iceberg (Stitched Smile Publications)

Hayward, Matt – What do Monsters Fear? (Post Mortem Press)

Hepler, Jeremy – The Boulevard Monster (Bloodshot Books)

Rosson, Keith – The Mercy of the Tide (Meerkat Press)

Thomas, Scott – Kill Creek (Ink Shares)

 

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

French, Gillian – The Door to January (Islandport Press)

Leveen, Tom – Hellworld (Simon Pulse)

Liggett, Kim – The Last Harvest (Tor Teen)

Lukavics, Amy – The Ravenous (Harlequin Teen)

Porter, Sarah – When I Cast Your Shadow (Tor Teen)

 

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Carey, Mike and Arvind, Ethan David – Darkness Visible (IDW)

Duffey, Damian and Butler, Octavia E. – Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (Abrams ComicArts)

Ferris, Emil – My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagraphics)

Haun, Jeremy and Hurley, Jason – The Beauty Volume 3 (Image Comics)

Hickman, Jonathan – The Black Monday Murders (Image Comics)

Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 2: The Blood (Image Comics)

 

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Baxter, Alan – The Book Club (PS Publishing)

Deady, Tom – Weekend Getaway (Grinning Skull Press)

Edelman, Scott – Faking it Until Forever Comes (Liars, Fakers, and the Dead Who Eat Them) (Written Backwards)

Jones, Stephen Graham – Mapping the Interior (Tor.com)

Keisling, Todd – The Final Reconciliation (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Kiernan, Caitlín R. – Agents of Dreamland (Tor.com)

McGuire, Seanan – Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Tor.com)

Taylor, Lucy – Sweetlings (Tor.com)

Vandermeer, Jeff – The Strange Bird: A Borne Story (MCD x FSG Originals)

Waggoner, Tim – A Kiss of Thorns (DarkFuse)

 

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Bailey, Michael – “I Will Be the Reflection Until the End” (Tales from the Lake Vol. 4) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Bodner, Hal – “The Baker of Millepoix” (Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Chambers, James – “A Song Left Behind in the Aztakea Hills” (Shadows Over Main Street, Volume 2) (Cutting Block Books)

Fawver, Kurt – “Etch the Unthinkable” (Gamut #1) (Gamut Magazine)

Lombardi, Nicola – “Even the Stars Fall” (The Beauty of Death Vol. 2: Death by Water) (Independent Legions Publishing)

Mannetti, Lisa – “Apocalypse Then” (Never Fear: The Apocalypse) (13Thirty Books)

Marceau, Caitlin – “No Filter” (Read-Only: A Collection of Digital Horror) (WatchMojo Publishing)

Neugebauer, Annie – “So Sings the Siren” (Apex Magazine #101) (Apex Publications)

Rourke, Naomi Brett – “Coyote” (Straight Outta Tombstone) (Baen)

Taff, John F.D. – “A Ware That Will Not Keep” (Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Wahl, M.F. – “Absolution” (Feverish Fiction Magazine Issue #6) (Sleazy Viking Press)

Walters, Damien Angelica – “All the Windows, All the Doors” (Chopping Block Party: An Anthology of Suburban Terror) (Necro Publications)

Yardley, Mercedes M. – “Loving you Darkly” (F(r)iction Magazine #8) (Tethered by Letters)

 

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Cain, Kenneth W. – Embers (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Cataneo, Emily B. – Speaking to the Skull Kings (Trepidatio Publishing)

Dorr, James – Tombs (Elder Signs Press)

Fracassi, Philip – Behold the Void (JournalStone)

Gafford, Sam – The Dreamer in Fire and Other Stories (Hippocampus Press)

Hill, Joe – Strange Weather (William Morrow)

Kiste, Gwendolyn – And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe (JournalStone)

Malerman, Josh – Goblin (Earthling Publications)

Matsuura, Thersa – The Carp-Faced Boy and Other Tales (Independent Legions Publishing)

McGrath, Patrick – Writing Madness (Centipede Press)

Sheldon, Deborah – Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories (IFWG Publishing Australia)

 

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Aronofsky, Darren – Mother! (Paramount Pictures, Protozoa Pictures)

Del Toro, Guillermo and Taylor, Vanessa – The Shape of Water (TSG Entertainment, Double Dare You Productions)

Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: MadMax, Episode 02:01: Chapter One (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)

Ducournau, Julia – Raw (Frakas Productions/Petit Film/Rouge International)

Frost, Mark and Lynch, David – Twin Peaks: The Return “Gotta Light?”, Episode 3:08 (Rancho Rosa Partnership Production)

Palmer, Chase, Fukunaga, Cary, and Dauberman, Gary – It (New Line Cinema)

Peele, Jordan – Get Out (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment)

Shyamalan, M. Night – Split (Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions)

 

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Bailey, Michael and Speegle, Darren – Adam’s Ladder (Written Backwards)

Brooks, Kinitra, PhD., Addison, Linda D., and Morris, Susana, PhD. – Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing)

Datlow, Ellen – Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology (Pegasus Books)

Eads, Ben – Tales from the Lake Vol. 4: The Horror Anthology (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Ferguson, Cin and Campbell, Broos – Mother’s Revenge: A Dark and Bizarre Anthology of Global Proportions (Scary Dairy Press)

Kaheaku, Danielle – California Screamin’ (Barking Deer Press)

Maberry, Jonathan and Romero, George A. – Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Manzetti, Alessandro and Lester, Jodi Renee – The Beauty of Death Vol. 2: Death by Water (Independent Legions Publishing)

Matthews, Mark – Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror (Wicked Run Press)

Murano, Doug – Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Price, David – Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine (Grinning Skull Press)

 

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Brittany, Michele – Horror in Space: Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre (McFarland)

Brooks, Kinitra D. – Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror (Rutgers University Press)

Cardin, Matt – Horror Literature through History: An Encyclopedia of the Stories That Speak to Our Deepest Fears (Greenwood) 

Hendrix, Grady. Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction (Quirk Books)

Jones, Stephen – The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books; Ill edition)

Mynhardt, Joe and Johnson, Eugene – Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre – (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Rhoads, Loren – 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die (Black Dog & Leventhal)

 

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Bolivar, Adam – The Lay of Old Hex: Spectral Ballads and Weird Jack Tales (Hippocampus Press)

Fantina, Michael – Alchemy of Dreams and Other Poems (Hippocampus Press)

Frazier, Robert and Boston, Bruce – Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Hanson, Michael H. – When the Night Owl Screams (MoonDream Press)

Manzetti, Alessandro – No Mercy (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Ness, Mari – Through Immortal Shadows Singing (Papaveria Press)

Razvi, Saba – Heliophobia (Finishing Line Press)

Simon, Marge and Turzillo, Mary – Satan’s Sweethearts (Weasel Press)

Sng, Christina – A Collection of Nightmares (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Weikel, Cynthia O’Quinn – Return to Graveyard Dust (Goose River Press)

Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Sheet Music to my Acoustic Nightmare (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

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The Finalized Cover of Little Dead Red and Other Stories!

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I’m thrilled that we have finalized the cover for “Little Dead Red and Other Stories,” which will be put out by Vault Books.

Marcela Bolívar is the artist and she knocked it out of the ballpark! This is only one of the gorgeous illustrations that she did. The numbered edition will have four original pieces of art, and the lettered will have five. They are all breathtaking.

I’m also delighted to announce that Dan Wells, author of I Am Not A Serial Killer, not only wrote the foreword, but also signed each copy. I’ll admit that I’m fingerling a bit. Okay, a lot!

​Vault Books is extremely pleased to publish a limited edition printing of the Bram Stoker winning story, Little Dead Red along with selected other short stories and essays. Little Dead Red & Other Stories will be an exclusive printing of this collection unavailable anywhere else, and will showcase Yardley’s ability to terrify us with short stories, flash-fiction, and of course, her award winning novelette.

Table of Contents
Fiction:

  • Little Dead Red
  • Taking the Storm as a LoverCharms for the Dark Season
  • Milk and Moonshine
  • Deadened (Previously Unpublished)
  • The Quiet Places Where Your Body Grows
  • A Cypher of Spring
  • Big Man Ben
  • Ravenous Stars, Carnivorous Moon (Previously Unpublished)
  • Black Eyes Broken

Essays:

  • Hide the Sickness
  • A House Without Corners
  • Monarchs (Previously only available in audio)

Little Dead Red & Other Stories will be available in two different editions. Here is what they will have in common:

  • A new, original cover, as well as three additional full-color interior illustrations by Marcela Bolívar
  • A rich and horrifying collection of Miss Murder’s short fiction, containing two brand-new, unpublished stories (“Deadened” and “Ravenous Stars, Carnivorous Moon”), as well as the exclusive print version of her essay, Monarchs.
  • A new Foreword introducing the Bram Stoker Award winning novelette and the other stories
  • An in-depth interview with author, Mercedes Murdock Yardley
  • Brief explanations from the author discussing each story in the collection, giving readers a window into the author’s mind (safety not guaranteed)
  • Printed on 60# acid-free paper
  • Smyth sewn for durability
  • Foil stamping on the front boards and spine

Numbered Limited Edition:

  • Limited to up to only 500 copies
  • Bound in leather
  • Personally signed by Mercedes Murdock Yardley
  • Hand-numbered


Lettered Edition:

  • Limited to up to only 52 copies
  • Bound in leather
  • Personally signed by Mercedes Murdock Yardley
  • Hand-lettered
  • Housed in a custom slipcase
  • Will contain one additional art piece not in the numbered edition

 

The collection is available for preorder HERE.

Thank You, Delivery Workers! <3

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I saw this somewhere, and the idea touched my heart. I wanted to thank those who were working so hard during this holiday season to bring us our packages.

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Every time I go outside, find a package, and see a missing treat, it feels like Santa has taken a bite out the Christmas cookies we left for him! It’s a special kind of magic. Merry Christmas! May you all have a wonderful holiday with those you love. ❤

Christmas Gifts for Children with Special Needs

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This is a toughie. It can be downright hard, because there are so many emotions tied up with the holidays. We have expectations. Christmas is supposed to be a time where we express our love and gifts are a way we do that.

What if the child, who has special needs, doesn’t like their gift? What if they don’t play with it? What if they open it, don’t react, and turn to their iPad instead?

It seems like a little thing but it can hurt. It hurts because Grandma and Grandpa want Julia to love her baby doll like they loved their baby dolls. They want Juan to love airplanes like they loved their airplanes. This hurts Grandma and Grandpa because their gift, their love, was tossed aside. It hurts Mom and Dad because they knew Juan didn’t like airplanes and really wanted a toaster instead, but that’s painful information to share because it shores up that Juan is different. It hurts Juan because he can sense new tension but he doesn’t understand where it came from or why it’s there.

It may seem silly to somebody who doesn’t have a child with special needs in their life, but it’s a very real issue. We want to fit in. We want our children to fit in. We want everybody to be happy, and to share the magic of the holidays that we enjoyed as a children, or to make them better than ours ever were. But a child often doesn’t appreciate the nuance of what we’re trying to do, and if you toss in any sort of disability, it complicates it even more.

What do we do? How do we keep feelings from being hurt?

I’ve learned through experience that the first thing to do is take a deep breath and let the expectations fall. This moment isn’t about us. It’s about the child.

I’m going to say that again, with love and relief.

It isn’t about us. It’s about the child.

We need to let go of the stress and the hurt. We have our own hangups that we carry with us. Set those aside, because it isn’t Julia and Juan’s fault that we feel stress to find the perfect gift, or that our gift has to be bigger than the other set of grandparents, or that we’re afraid our child will feel unloved if his or her gifts are simple. This is our perceived reality that we’re forcing on our sweet kiddo, and it isn’t fair. It isn’t about us.

What does Juan want? What does he really want, not “what do I think Juan should want?”

Here are some gifts that have made a difference in our lives, and I’ll tailor them to Juan and his beloved toasters.

1) The Object

Juan loves toasters with an unholy love. Does the household need a new toaster? Does Juan need a shiny toaster in the kitchen that is just for him? My son loves bread machines, so he received one for his tenth birthday. You’ve never seen a happier child.

2) Things Related to the Object

There are, believe it or not, stuffed toasters. Toaster-themed bedroom decor. The movie “The Brave Little Toaster.” Make him a sweater with a toaster on it. What about a toaster cake? A bag of his favorite bread with a little card that says, “Juan’s Special Toaster Bread” on it? You may think I’m kidding, but something small and dear like that means so much. It means that you see him, you see what he likes, and you support him in liking that thing. You aren’t trying to change him. You’re simply loving him the way he is.

Try giving him a toaster manual. Take pictures of toasters and put them together in a book for him to flip through. My dear friend did that with ceiling fans, and her son had a book specifically designed for him. Perhaps make a short video of your family and friends, waving and saying hi to Juan. Call him by name. Tell him you love him. Show him your toaster and how it works. Show him the buttons and slides and levers. Wipe it down so he can see it become clean and shiny. Make a piece of toast. Smile, because he is special to you, and you are letting him know in a way he can understand.

My brother and sister-in-law did this for my son with their washers and dryers. Everyone in the family got together with their kids and showed him their laundry room. They showed him where they kept their soap and started a load of laundry for him. “Here’s the dial for the water. I’m going to put it on low because I’m doing a small load.” He was rapt, seeing his favorite people doing his favorite thing, smiling at him and using his name. I cried. I’m tearing up again simply thinking about it. It was a 30 minute movie that was just for him, and it’s been replayed often. It might be the most touching, thoughtful gift we’ve ever received.

3) Experiences

Life changes when special needs happen. Things that used to be simple, like leaving the house, become astronomically difficult. Modifcations must be made and expectations adjusted.

Experiences don’t need to be big to be meaningful. Perhaps for Christmas, you can give Juan a card saying that you’ll take him to the store to look at toasters. He can look at toasters as long as he wants to. He can touch them and study the coils inside. You won’t rush. This is his Christmas gift. Just you and an experience he’ll enjoy.

You can visit a pawn shop and pick up a junky old toaster. You can have a date at your house so he can use your toaster. You’ll make and eat toast together, just the two of you. Or perhaps he can make toast for the whole family. It will be half an hour where everybody sits down and enjoys Chef Juan’s toast. It will be his contribution, a way that he can show his love while you show yours.

Does the child in your life like escalators? You can take her to the mall and ride the escalators for half an hour. Does she like the feel of fabric? Then how about an outing to a fabric store so she can feel every piece of fabric that she wants? Whatever you do, treat it as special because it is. Give her a calendar with the date of your outing circled in red. “This is the day we’re going to do this fun thing together.” Let her look forward to it.

4) Mend Treasures

Perhaps Juan only has five toys he’s interested in, and they’ve taken a lot of abuse. This is a wonderful time to give these treasures some care.

Replace their batteries. Stitch them back together. Fix the wonky eye, the broken lens, the bent rims. Wipe them down. Shine them up. Replace missing parts and make them magical again. Show him these things are important to you because they’re important to him.

I hope your hearts and those dear to you are filled as you share your love. Disabilities can be so difficult and isolating, and the fact that you searched for this topic says so very much about you and your kindness. May you continue to be a joy to those who love you, and a light to the sweet child you care about. Happy holidays. ❤

 

 

Two Stories Eligible for Bram Stoker Consideration

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“The Absolutionist” art created by Luke Spooner

I’m delighted to announce two of my short stories are eligible for consideration in the Bram Stoker Awards Short Fiction category.

The first one is titled “Loving You Darkly,”  which was published in F(r)iction magazine this year. It’s available online and can be read here.  “Loving You Darkly” is about hope, loss, and finding a reason to dance after the destruction of everything you love.

The other is “The Absolutionist,” which was published in Issue 10 of Gamut. “The Absolutionist” is a futuristic tale of a sin-eater’s grudging place in society, and the way she is treated. Even those who save others deserve to be saved themselves.

While “Loving You Darkly” is free to everyone online, “The Absolutionist” can only be read with a Gamut subscription. However,  if you are an active member of the HWA and would like to read a copy of either story in order to nominate it for the Bram Stoker Awards, please contact me at mercedesyardley(at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll provide you with one. Happy reading!

2017’s More Realistic Holiday Newsletter

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After reading a few glowing family newsletters, I am more inspired than ever to continue the tradition of the Yardley’s More Realistic Holiday Newsletter. If you ever wanted to see how we really live, this is the way to do it. And here we go!

2017 started with a bang and ended with a whimper. LUKE travels constantly for work, leaving disasters in his wake whenever he is gone. He comes home to scorpion stings, town massacres, and a nearly-blind wife. He’s leaving again in January, so please stock up on emergency essentials and hunker down until he returns and the cosmos properly realigns.

MERCEDES acquired an awesome new agent, a life-threatening scorpion sting, and acute iritis in one eye, leaving her with a blown pupil, vision difficulties, and worsening her anxiety problem. One of these things was heartily celebrated with cake.

NIKOLAI is now in high school. The best part, besides his aid Miss Marci, is that he can wear anything he wants instead of a school uniform. Because of his favorite shirt, he is now called Commander Chimposwki.

NINA cut her hair short and is constantly mistaken for a boy. In fact, only today her substitute teacher called her “he” several times until Nina said, “My name literally means girl.” The sarcasm is strong with this one. I’m so proud to call her my son.

LILIA is afraid of: the dark, the bathroom, being alone, scary movies, not-so-scary movies, sleeping alone, sleeping by someone, hotel rooms, being late for school, being too early for school, dogs, and songs with the lyrics changed.

MARSH CAT is a magical thing who loves to rub his fluffy, fluffy self against us so we break out into hives and rashes. He’s the most stable member of the family, and knows it.

RUSH THE TURTLE hates everyone and everything, except Pierce Brosnan. He’s the only one she’s come out of her log for. She flips everyone else off with all four feet.

LAS VEGAS was shot up by an insane man with unfathomable weapons. We were not injured, but were in that area not long before with our ten-year-old daughter. I saw the best and worst of humanity that night. We are #VegasStrong.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! May you be well! And may you write your own, realistic holiday newsletters so we can share them. ❤

Light the World: 25 Days of Service

The LDS church has started its 2017 #LightTheWorld campaign! The idea is to spread kindness and joy in the days leading up to Christmas. We’ll focus on adding light to the holidays. Each service can be as grand or as simple as you desire, and every little act counts. ❤

It has been such a harsh year, but I know the gentle kindnesses shown to me have pulled me through. We can do so much good for each other. I think this is a great initiative and I’m happy to be a part of it. Together, I believe we can do much to brighten lives.

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Happy Miss Murder

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I was asked to show a picture of myself where I was truly happy, and I chose this one. It was a Sunday. I wore a red dress to church, and I came home to be with my family, whom I love more than life. I have glittery walls in my bedroom and an original The Last Unicorn movie poster signed by Peter S. Beagle. Life was good, and it shows.

Do you have any pictures that show you at your happiest? I would love to see!