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  • Deadened (Previously Unpublished)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  • Ravenous Stars, Carnivorous Moon (Previously Unpublished)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  • A rich and horrifying collection of Miss Murder’s short fiction, containing two brand-new, unpublished stories (“Deadened” and “Ravenous Stars, Carnivorous Moon”), as well as the exclusive print version of her essay, Monarchs.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.

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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!

Gamut Closes Its Doors

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This is an announcement I hoped we’d never have to make, but unfortunately it is true. Gamut Magazine is being forced to close. While the initial Kickstarter was successful, the money raised was only enough to last for a year. We wanted to pay not only fairly, but generously, for our fiction and art. We were counting on renewing subscriptions and the success of Gamut’s many side ventures (editing services, online classes, etc) to keep the magazine afloat. We scrambled, worked our fingers to the bone, and even hoped for some mystical Hail Mary, but it wasn’t to be.

I’m forever grateful to be involved with this project. The quality and care put into it has been stellar. The work we published has literally brought tears to my eyes because of the depth and beauty it contained. More than that, I have met wonderful people who fill in the missing pieces of my soul. I’m privileged to know them and eternally proud of the quality of people and pieces we have published.

I wish success and joy to all of you. ❤