I’ll Be Speaking at the LVWG on Thursday!


I love speaking at the Las Vegas Writers Group meetings. They’re a lot of fun and I actually met my writer’s group, the Illiterati, at the LVWG. Please join us on Thursday, January 19 at 7:00. We’ll be talking about critique groups. We’ll discuss the pros and cons, how to give and receive feedback, and answer any questions you may have. The LVWG is friendly to novice and veteran writers alike. Please join us! I’ll also be selling and signing books afterward. It’s five dollars to attend, and you can either RSVP here or simply walk in. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

The Tap House

5589 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 

The popular Mercedes Murdock Yardley is returning this month to give us her take on joining and using critique groups. (Hint — she’s in favor of them.) Last time Mercedes presented her talk was very well received, and she has been invited back virtually by popular demand.

Here is Mercedes writing about herself:

Hi. I’m Mercedes. I have two broken laptops, three kids, a husband and no time to write, although I try my very best. I like to write stories. I like to write poems. I like to write essays and sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they aren’t. I’m the author of the short story collection Beautiful Sorrows, the “serial killers in love” novella  Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, the BONE ANGEL trilogy, Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, and the Bram Stoker Award winner Little Dead Red. I specialize in the dark and beautiful.

We meet in the non-smoking meeting room. Door opens at six, meeting starts at 7. Come early to order a bite to eat and network with fellow Las Vegas writers! New members at any stage of their writing career are always welcome!
It costs just $5 at the door! Come early to meet old and new friends and sample some fine Tap House food!

Miss Murder’s Easy Zuppa Toscana Recipe

I know. “Easy” and “Zuppa Toscana” don’t seem like they should go hand-in-hand, but they do. This is our weekly Sunday dinner because it’s delicious, simple to throw into the crockpot, and nourishes the soul as well as the belly.



1 pound ground spicy Italian sausage

4-6 potatoes, chopped (I prefer golden for the mellow flavor)

1 chopped onion

2 TBLS minced garlic

1/2 pound bacon

32 oz chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup kale

3 TBLS flour

Brown sausage. Cook and chop bacon. Add sausage, bacon, chopped potatoes, garlic, broth, and onion to crockpot. Add water to cover vegetables, then cook on HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 5-6 hours or until potatoes are soft.

30 minutes serving, mix flour and heavy cream together until smooth. Add cream mixture and kale to the crockpot, stir, and let cook for 30 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

I hope you enjoy one of our favorite recipes! This is amazing with bread, breadsticks, or rolls, and it’s easier than you’d think. Have a wonderful day!






The Inaugural Issue of Gamut is Live!

I can’t believe it! This has been a long time coming. Gamut magazine is now live!

If you have a subscription to Gamut, feel free to log in and read the wonderful first issue. It’s simply beautiful.

If you bought ebook format, you should have already received those.


And if you’re simply curious to see what we have to offer, come check out the sample stories on our site. Might I suggest you start with the very first story submitted, chosen, and published, Love Story, an Exorcism by Michelle E. Goldsmith.The art was created by Luke Spooner.


2016 Reading Lists!

There are few things cooler to me than seeing somebody’s favorite reads of the year. I’m always trying to catch up on super cool books. But I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to actually end up on somebody’s list!

Apocalyptic Montessa

Apocalyptic Montessa was mentioned on The Baked Scribe.


Detritus in Love was mentioned on Char’s Horror Corner and Gingernuts of Horror.


Little Dead Red was mentioned on Wag the Fox.


Water Thy Bones (Gutted) was mentioned on James Everington-Scattershot.

If you have a minute, please stop by and see the other wonderful books that made these lists! Thank you. 😀

Miss Murder’s Easy Lemon Melt Cookies

I can’t get enough of these delicious, flavorful, but surprisingly light lemon cookie sandwiches. I make them all of the time.



I cup  room temperature unsalted butter

¼teaspoon salt

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1½ cups flour

½ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of one lemon


1 cup confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (50 grams)

Juice of one lemon

For the Cookie

Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl cream the butter, salt and sugar. Mix in vanilla and lemon zest. Stir in flour and cornstarch. Roll the dough into balls and place on a baking tray lined with wax paper. Press down with a fork to leave a design. Bake for 20 minutes.

 For the Frosting

Beat sugar, butter and lemon juice until incorporated. Ice the flat side of the cookie and then sandwich them together. You can also ice one side of the cookie and leave them open-faced.


I hope you enjoy one of my favorite cookies, and that you find it easy enough to add to your rotation. Enjoy!

A Different Kind of Christmas Present

Niko, my darling boy, is 13 this year. He has Williams Syndrome, and like a lot of kiddos with WS, he’s difficult to buy for. One year he asked for an escalator, and Santa pulled a few tricks out of his bag for that one. He doesn’t attach to typical things, generally. He doesn’t particularly care about gifts, and that hurts people’s feelings sometimes. They want to express their love through things that he’ll love and value, and unless you’re giving him a dryer or a washing machine, he isn’t really going to care. It’s an aspect of having a child with special needs that we don’t think about until it happen. Christmas isn’t supposed to be a time of ultra-sensitivity and despair. We’re not supposed to feel that gap between us widen.


So Niko’s main present this year was a stay at the Excalibur hotel here in Vegas. It was a night all about him. We bought his favorite foods, which are grapes and goldfish crackers, and ordered pizza.


We rode elevators, escalators, and caught Pokemon. Tomorrow we’re checking out the laundry room before strolling over to New York, New York to watch the roller coaster. It will be a perfect day for our sweet son. I’m so glad he has such great little sisters who are willing to support Niko Day. I know it isn’t easy for them to watch him struggle with day-to-day issues, but they’re good kids who love each other.


There’s something even better. My parents are coming down for Christmas and are inviting him to stay in their hotel with them. He gets to do this TWICE. You haven’t seen joy until you’ve seen Niko jump in the air, laughing and flipping his hands. His delight is so contagious! I can’t wait to see it again. 🙂

2016’s More Realistic Holiday Newsletter

A few years ago I started the new tradition of sharing a more realistic holiday newsletter. You can read the first here and the second here. Now it’s time wrap up 2016. Hoo boy.

Hey, friends! Let’s be honest and admit 2016 sucked in almost every way possible. Somehow the Yardleys managed to soldier their way through it, because we’re not smart enough to lie down and quit after we’re knocked over. LUKE spent pretty much the entire year with allergies, an inhaler, and breathing treatments. He borrowed our daughter’s Sammy the Seal nebulizer and was simply adorable. MERCEDES won a cool haunted house but lost DAVID BOWIE. It wasn’t a fair trade and she wants her Glitter God back. NIKOLAI got into this weird Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez phase. Yes, it is too late to say you’re sorry.  NINA takes turns being delightful, turning sullen, and bursting into noisy tears. We think she’s most likely possessed by imps. LILIA is afraid to go into the bathroom because she thinks giant tarantulas live in there. We assure her that no, we only have deadly scorpions, but she refuses to quit screaming.

This year a dirty, starving, flea-bitten cat wandered upon our property and immediately claimed us as his humans. Now he’s our fat, sassy Lord of All. His true name is far too awesome and terrible to utter, so he deigns that we call him Marsh. Also, he hates you.  So bad. He’s absolutely wonderful and I’m grateful for him every day.

We hope you had a great year and that 2017 will be even better. Let’s do this thing!



These truthful newsletters are so much fun to write, and make me chuckle when I look back on the year. Please let me know if you write one. I’d love to read it!

Chasing After Joy


Mornings are a terror. Getting the kiddos dressed, finding lost shoes, doing a five-year-old’s hair, getting Oldest onto the bus, and dropping the girls off at school usually wears me out. I was on my way home to do some work when I saw this gorgeous rainbow.

It was bright. Really bright. It was probably the most defined, colorful rainbow that I have ever seen in my life. Breathtaking.

In that moment, I made a conscious decision to shove deadlines, laundry, and the To-Do List to the back of my mind. I flipped my car around and drove off after the rainbow. There was a light rain and I was listening to Christmas music in the car. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Canon, to be exact.


Many of you know that I struggle with anxiety and depression. It’s a major force, if not THE major force in my life, and I’m constantly building my day around it. But I make an effort to choose joy as much as I can. I take pictures of things that catch my eye. I remind myself of the good in the world, and while it’s an active fight, day after day, it helps me to recognize moments of peace when I can find them.

This was such a moment. Music and rainbows. I was so enraptured that I was actually surprised by an expected phone call that I had forgotten. I was to be interviewed for a city magazine.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I saw a rainbow and started to chase it. May I call you back from home?”

He quite graciously agreed and said he understood. Even that was a joy. I drove home and my terrible, stressed-out day felt more like something magical.


Darling, Mediocre Holiday Cookies. (And the best chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world.)

Hooray! I baked some darling, flavorless cookies that were horribly disappointing. But look, I put them in a little jar, so now they’re charming. And look! A Christmas village! Don’t you want them now?

No. No, you don’t. But they are cute.


I’d give you the recipe but it’s a waste of flour. But hey! Sprinkles!


If you want the best cookie recipe in the world, go to Williams-Sonoma and try these. Only instead of straight semi-sweet chocolate chips, do 1/3 cup semi-sweet, 1/3 cup milk chocolate, and 1/3 white chocolate. You’ll thank me. They’re crack cookies.

Meanwhile, these are cute!