Barnes and Noble B-Fest Follow-up!

 

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We had the best time! It was super cool to talk about writing with four other local authors. I enjoyed them so much! Then we had a signing and a chance to chat with each other and the readers who came to visit. It was such a pleasure.

It was also a dream come true to see my books on the Barnes and Noble wall. That whole row behind me? It’s full of Nameless and Pretty Little Dead GirlsI kept turning around to look at them. When I was a child, I dreamed of having my books in a real book store and maybe even (gasp) signing there. Now I realize one of my favorite dreams has come true. It’s a fantastic feeling.

Thanks to everyone who came and celebrated B-Fest all across the nation. It really was a fantastic time.

A Perfect Pie Crust

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You guys know I like to bake. A lot. And when it’s a gazillion degrees here in Vegas, I need to choose my projects carefully because the oven heats the entire house up and we die a hideous death.

But pie? It’s so worth it! Pies taste like summer and there are few things better. I have a recipe for an easy pie crust that is simple and delicious.

Ingredients 

  • 2½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • ¼ to ½ cups ice water

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

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Mix flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Cut in butter with knives until it’s about pea-sized. Add ice water to the ingredients, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball. (1/4 a cup is usually all I need. You don’t want to drown your dough.)

Separate dough into two balls. You’ll either have enough for two pies or a top and bottom crust for one pie.

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Roll out and place in your pie pan. Flute edges if you desire. Poke holes in the pie crust and pop in the oven. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. This will give you a nice pie crust ready for filling.

If you want to bake the pie with the filling in it (an apple, cherry, or rhubarb pie, for example), then simply put your crust together, fill, and bake according to the directions for each individual pie. I used this crust for a rhubarb pie, and I’ll give the recipe later. It was delicious and really tasted like summer.

I hope you enjoy!

 

Come See Me at Barnes and Noble Today!

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Barnes and Noble is celebrating B-Fest this weekend! Stores all over the nation are having guest authors, panels, signings, giveaways, and games. It’s a great time to pop in and support your favorite authors.

Join us today for B-First at 11, where you can get samplers of upcoming YA books, an author panel and signing with Christene Houston, Jessie Humphries, Mat Kaufman, Keith Thomsen, and Mercedes Murdock Yardleyat 1, and then our 2 PM game and spelling B-Part of the Fun events!

So. Come by and say hi. We’d love to have you! (And B&N has air conditioning. That’s super important.Come cool off.) The address is:

Northwest Rainbow Promenade 
2191 N Rainbow Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89108
702-631-1775

Pimp a Friend Friday: John Boden and Mercedes M. Yardley

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You know I adore John Boden. He was one of the original founders of Shock Totem, and was such a wonderful guy to work with on staff. One day he approached me and asked if I’d read this wonderful story he was working on, called “Thief.” As time went on, the title was changed to “Loving the Girl with X’s for Eyes.” He asked me if I wanted to contribute to it, and thus was born the most enjoyable collaboration I’ve ever taken part of. We worked on it every day, or we didn’t work on it for months. He’d write a line, I’d write a line, or we’d write a…well, almost a chapter, but it doesn’t have chapters. It’s gentle and jagged and full of love and horror. This was the piece I’d work on when I couldn’t even stand to look at anything else. And now it will be published later this year.

I’m delighted to announce that Omnium Gatherum picked up our story, which is now called “Detritus in Love.” It’s a dark, lovely, bizarre novelette about a boy who never should have been and things that should not be.

author2John Boden lives a stone’s throw from Three Mile Island with his wonderful wife and  sons. A baker by day, he spends his off time writing or working on Shock Totem. He likes Diet Pepsi and horseradish cheese and  sports ferocious sideburns. While his output as a writer is fairly small, it has a bit of a reputation for being unique. His work has appeared in Shock Totem, Splatterpunk, Blight Digest  and Lamplight  as well as the following anthologies Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen and the Criminally Insane, Once Upon An Apocalypse,Robbed Of Sleep Vol 1, and Borderlands 6. His not-really-for-children children’s book, Dominoes is a pretty cool thing or so people say.  You can track him down on the Facebook.

author1Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist who wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair.  She was a contributing editor for Shock Totem Magazine and currently works with Gamut, a new neo-noir magazine. Mercedes is the author of many diverse works, including Beautiful Sorrows, Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls, and the Bone Angel trilogy. She recently won the Bram Stoker Award® for her story Little Dead Red.  Mercedes lives and works in Las Vegas, and you can reach her atwww.mercedesyardley.com.

WIP Wednesday

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It’s been a while since I did a Work in Progress Wednesday. I always loved to see what everyone was working on. Quite frankly, I still do, which is exhibited by the fact that I regularly hit up my writer friends with the old “Whatcha dooooooin’?” They’re always busy, which is awesome.

I sold a short story called “Ivan and the Hurting Doll” to the Heroes of Red Hook anthology, which is put out by Golden Goblin Press. My story was written specifically for the antho and I’m glad they decided it’s a good fit. It’s a traditional Russian fairytale that takes place in the boroughs of New York, and I dearly love my sweet, stalwart Ivan.

My main focus right now is on The Demon Prince, the second book in the Bone Angel Trilogy. The first third is written and polished, which is strange because that isn’t how I work. I write the whole thing before going back to edit, but the first section has already been to the editor. This whole experience has been atypical for me. Not only writing a series, but the way I’m going about it, etc. I suppose it only goes to prove that each book is its own beast and we cannot expect to tame them all equally.

I’m on tap to provide six short stories to different anthologies. Right now they’re all diaphanous ideas, but they’re constantly in the back of my mind.

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Meanwhile, the kiddos are out of school and it’s 111 degrees here at home. We fought the heat in order to bake our very first rhubarb pie yesterday, which somehow turned into a voodoo rhubarb pie. It turned our home into an inferno, but it was so worth it.

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So I want to know. Whatcha doooooin’?

Madame Perry’s Salon: An Interview

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I was invited into Madame Perry’s Salon for an interview and we had the best time! Jennifer Perry has the *most* glorious laugh, and it was such a pleasure to go on her show. She asked about Little Dead Red, the Bram Stoker Award, and what went through my mind when my name was called. It wasn’t what you would think. If you have some time, why not pull up a chair and take a listen?

We talked for about an hour and a half, but I hear the recording stops at about 45 minutes. That’s honestly for the best, since the rakish Jasper Bark showed up at the end there and let fun and debauchery reign. I adore that man.

Anyway, stop by and enjoy the fun!

Gutted: A Review

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I was excited to read this upcoming release from Crystal Lake Publishing, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories. I was also fortunate to get an advanced reading copy of the anthology. Crystal Lake is making quite a name for itself in the horror and dark fiction categories since their opening in 2012.

This year Crystal Lake walked away with two Bram Stoker Awards at Stoker Con in Las Vegas, one for Mercedes Murdock Yardley’s Little Dead Red and Alessandro Manzetti’s Eden Underground. One of the authors in Gutted, Paul Tremblay, also won a Bram Stoker Award at the event, and received a shout out from horror giant Stephen King on Twitter.

King isn’t the only giant around these parts. Gutted also features stories by Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, and Ramsey Campbell. Gutted also has its share of stunning interior artwork for each story and a stunning cover that speak…

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About A Horror Show

A beautiful, well-reasoned letter arrived in my inbox. Quite frankly, it was a nice change from some of the hate and threats that I’ve received lately. I wrote a post earlier asking us to be careful and thoughtful when dealing with important things like sexual assault and was surprised at the backlash.

I think we’re all basically saying the same thing: predators aren’t welcome in our community. We can unite on that. But I do urge caution that in the zeal to protect, we don’t become predators ourselves.

I will share this letter. Then I will step away. I won’t talk about this unfortunate situation in interviews, on social media, or in private messages. This has become a circus that greatly distracts from the original message, which is safety, love, and concern.

 

 

As this year’s Stoker Awards toastmaster Stephen Jones said in his opening remarks, “It truly saddens me when I see what is happening to our community.”

As writer Mercedes Yardley discussed on her website, these remarks are in reference to a series of cases involving allegations of white supremacy, theft, and sexual assault in our community. “These are important things, and that’s why this is so difficult.”

Since they claim to have disdain for what they call passive aggression (and what Mrs. Yardley and others might call tact in public speech), we’ll be just as direct as they prefer: This letter primarily regards Brian Keene and his Horror Show podcast, particularly the episodes from April 28, May 5,and May 19. (Brian and Dave, there’s your desired plug.) As Mrs. Yardley says, this is about a much broader problem in our community, but for good or ill, it’s one of which the show has recently chosen to put itself at the forefront.

We’ll say it up front: Brian and Dave are not bad guys. But even good men make mistakes, especially when they haven’t been trained in journalism ethics and procedure. And snarkily titling an episode, “Mercedes Yardley’s Rules of Broadcast Excellence” doesn’t mitigate that concern in the slightest, self­-evidently. We applaud them tackling issues of importance on their show, but the execution does leave something to be desired, and their colleagues shouldn’t be mocked for simply suggesting that we can all do better.

Among the chief concerns is assuming things not in evidence: First, the demonstrated accusation that Mercedes Yardley was not only speaking purely to Brian and the show, but attacking both. Given the title of her post and the totality of its content, that strikes us as an arrogant assumption. She was clearly speaking to the entire community. Part of Mrs. Yardley’s point revolved around the reactionary abdication of reason and scale going on, and their reaction has perhaps proved her point more singularly than anything.

Then there’s the demonstrated assumption that Mrs. Yardley was referring to RJ Cavender in everything she said. That is beyond not in evidence, and if one assumes that she was not referring to Cavender in that particular section of her remarks, it puts rather a lot of comments both on and off the show into stark relief. So, people got that backward: RJ Cavender is a very different man from the other man named on the podcast, and repeatedly conflating the two is not only unfair to the other man, but frankly negligent. The show not only allowed the other man named on­-air, but restated it and further opted to use the word “rape” in conjunction with that man through the duration of that episode. When even the accuser can’t attest to what happened, it’s not proper to name the accused, especially without also naming the accuser, in instances where neither party is a minor.

The show refers to people as witnesses simply because they call themselves witnesses. The show has that backward. A witness who can not say what he or she claims to have witnessed is not yet a witness, neither legally nor rationally. If a person isn’t attesting to anything, that person is just a guest or interviewee, not a witness. Those who did attest are potential witnesses, yes, but not all those the show called witnesses have done so.

They say, “If we’ve been deceived… if Mrs. Yardley has any information… share it with us,” but they’ve got that backward, too. They were right about the current culture being toxic, but wrong in assuming that part of that toxicity doesn’t stem from misapprehending the nature of process and rushing to judgment with only one narrative of events in hand. And to be clear, multiple accounts of the same narrative don’t constitute a hearing of both sides. It’s the show’s responsibility to be ethical and responsible in what and how it “reports” (in quotes because neither of its hosts are actual reporters), especially when accusations of felony behavior are involved. It is not Mercedes Yardley’s responsibility to remind anyone of this fact, nor to provide anyone with evidence or testimony that isn’t hers to share. In at least one instance, people other than Mrs. Yardley have confirmed that information exists and invited Brian to private dialogue about it. As of this writing, he has opted not to take them up on it. No one’s saying Brian and Dave were deceived. We’re saying they and others have chosen to focus on casting aspersions, impugning true motivations, and elevating unsourced gossip. And that’s not serious, sober examination.

People are allowed to bring up the fact that no one has stopped to consider the possibility that evidence or information of that sort even exists; that in a community full of writers, no one could seem to come up with an alternate narrative aside from the one provided by an accuser, let alone one who admits to having no clear recollection of the events in question. Accusing Mrs. Yardley of “attacking” anyone for warning people to be careful with serious allegations is just distasteful. Accusing her of making things more difficult for victims in the future? Unacceptable. A victim is someone for whom victimhood can be demonstrated by a presentation of evidence, not by the collective reactions of a mob, and it’s a bit self-­righteous for the hosts to castigate any woman about the perils of sexual assault, nevermind one who just won a Stoker Award for a story about sexual assault.

Beyond that, of course, there’s the small matter of the accused being presumed innocent until proven guilty in our society. Simply using the word “alleged/allegation” doesn’t absolve anyone of the responsibility to bear that fact in mind at all times, and that is precisely why responsible people and media outlets try to account for gaps in coverage. Note, too, that there’s a difference between receiving no reply and getting the response, “No comment.” But then, perhaps one would have to be an actual journalist to know that.

They say, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” but in contextualizing that aphorism, they seem to get the crux backward again, because the expression doesn’t account for who actually set the fire. Which would be fine, except that determining who set the fire is essential to determining who deserves victim status and who deserves to stand accused. Only due process, which the community has not observed and which the show did not observe with regard to one who was named and accused, stands a chance of sorting it out. And since these topics are as important as they are, we don’t get to abdicate due process.

They say they’re embarrassed for Mercedes Yardley. For the culture everyone involved was critiquing, maybe, but for her in particular? They say “shame on” Mercedes Yardley.

Shame on Mercedes Yardley? For being the voice of reason? Really?

It seems to us that the only people who should be ashamed of themselves are those who’d even begin to suggest that Mercedes was somehow engaging in victim­blaming. That’s not only an ugly and perverse lie, but worse, one that misses the entire point of her post.

C.A. Suleiman & Craig Spector

A Recorded Interview! Woo!

 

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You guys, I had so much fun on Jackie Chin’s ZOMBIEPALOOZA radio show on Friday! It was a pleasure to talk about Little Dead Red, being a woman in horror, and showing you my ukulele briefly. (I strum it when I’m nervous.)  If you would like to watch, this is part two of the show. You’ll catch Nicole Cushing, John Palisano, and I. I hope you enjoy!

To watch the interview, please stop by here.