Last Week to Submit to the HWA Poetry Showcase!


My dear friend and colleague Stephanie M. Wytovich is the editor for the 5th volume of the HWA Poetry Showcase. And this is EXCITING.

Something also exciting? She’s asked Michael Arnzen and I to be guest judges. Eeeee!

You can read a wonderful interview with Stephanie here where she tells you a little what she is looking for.

Members of the Horror Writer’s Association are invited to submit. You can find the guidelines and submission form here. The submission window correlates with April’s National Poetry Month, so it opened on April 1 and closes on April 30 at midnight, Pacific time. Please send us your work, and good luck!


Submit to the HWA Poetry Showcase!


My dear friend and colleague Stephanie M. Wytovich is the editor for the 5th volume of the HWA Poetry Showcase. And this is EXCITING.

Something also exciting? She’s asked Michael Arnzen and I to be guest judges. Eeeee!

You can read a wonderful interview with Stephanie here where she tells you a little what she is looking for.

Members of the Horror Writer’s Association are invited to submit. You can find the guidelines and submission form here. The submission window correlates with April’s National Poetry Month, so it opens on April 1 and closes on April 30 at midnight, Pacific time. Please send us your work, and good luck!

“Loving You Darkly”


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 (

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

Kiernan, Caitlín R. – Agents of Dreamland (

McGuire, Seanan – Down Among the Sticks and Bones (

Taylor, Lucy – Sweetlings (

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)

Two Stories Eligible for Bram Stoker Consideration


“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!

Becoming Mob, Judge, Jury, and Executioner

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The horror world has been a mess lately, and I mostly try to stay out of it. I want to help where I can, lend support to those I love, and lift my skirts above the spilled blood we’re all wading through. But things are reaching a fever pitch and I need to say something.

Be careful.

Be careful of what you say. Be careful of what you read. Be careful of clinging so tightly to unverified facts that you become a beast and lose your humanity along the line.

We, as writers, especially know that words have power. When we send them out into the world, they grow bigger, sprout teeth, and turn into things we can no longer control. One person’s account of things can not and should not be taken as gospel. It is up to us as individuals and communities to be responsible, level-headed, and decent human beings.

That’s right. Be decent.I’m talking about charged topics, I know. We’ve been dealing with white supremacy, narcissism, theft, and sexual assault. These are important things, and that’s why this is so difficult. We should be angry about them. We should rush to support anybody who is victimized. But on the other hand, when we lose all sense of reason, we create new victims.

What if, heaven forbid, the person accused of crimes is innocent? What if, in the blur of time and emotional duress, some circumstances aren’t remembered with perfect clarity? What if the accuser simply makes a mistake?

There is more information coming out in one of these situations that leads one to believe that it was physically impossible for one of these things to occur. That changes everything, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t it? Or is the smell of blood in the water so delicious that we can’t stop thrashing long enough to think it through?

I was just reading a thread where an interviewer said that he hadn’t reached out to the person he publicly named and accused on his show, but explained that away by saying that his contact information was readily available and the accused could always reach out to him.

That isn’t how it works. That shouldn’t be how it works.

People are not collateral damage. Look at what we’ve become. Look at our politics. Look at our lives. School children are being beaten to death in their school restrooms while nobody intervenes, but we have self-appointed Bathroom Vigilantes making sure we don’t pee-while-being…I don’t know. Don’t pee while being human. Isn’t that the bottom line? We are all human.

Until we allow ourselves to turn into beasts.

I read about the witch hunts in Salem and I wondered how such a thing could happen. I learned about the holocaust and my mind was blown. How could so many people allow a vocal few to override reason and humanity? How could an entire group be so cruel?

I see it now. This is how. We whip ourselves up without facts. We allow our disgust to overthrow careful consideration. In some cases, love of the spotlight trumps all.

Lives will be lost over this attitude. I hope we realize it. In our passion to protect the victims from bullies, we become the bullies. A single, solitary person can’t stand up to the crushing weight of a crowd, and some won’t even try. I think our intentions are good. We want to protect. We want to punish people we see as threats and predators. But inciting the mob isn’t the way to do it. We have a legal system. We have police. We have people trained to follow protocol that is there for a reason.

My soul hurts. We have become so ugly as a society that I fear for us. I fear because of us.  Please take care with each other. A knife can be used to protect or to harm. A torch can light the way or cause uncontrollable destruction. Put down your torch. You’re going to set everyone around you on fire.


Good News for Little Dead Red!


My friends, I’m delighted to announce that Little Dead Red was recommended for the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot. This means that some members of the Horror Writers Association liked it enough to recommend it, and it may or may not be on the final ballot, which consists of five stories.

It means that people are reading Little Dead Red, and I’m exceptionally grateful. It is very dear to me, a dark story, and kind of fell to the wayside with all of the publishing brouhaha that went on last year. Being recommended (not nominated. Nothing is considered nominated until it’s on the final ballot) means the world to me.

If you are a voting member of the HWA and would like an ecopy of Little Dead Red to read for consideration, drop me a line at mercedesyardley (at) gmail (dot) com. If you aren’t a voting member but are interested in reading LDR and want to support the author (that’s me!) you can pick it up here.

To see the complete preliminary list, hop on over to the HWA page. Thank you, and good luck to the other wonderful authors! There are a great many people I respect and enjoy on that list.

The Dragon Takes a Wife

Las Vegas Book Festiva;


The Vegas Valley Book Festival was fun! A lot of people came out. We represented the HWA, sold a few books, and I drank a LOT of Diet Pepsi. But my favorite part?

Once upon a time, when Niko was a little boy, we were on the dialysis floor. He wasn’t having dialysis himself, but received a pamidronate treatment to help his calcium levels go down. While we were there, I found the most charming, hilarious book on the waiting room table. It was Walter Dean Meyers’ The Dragon Takes a Wife.

The Dragon Takes a Wife

It is one of the best children’s book I’ve ever read. Clever. Original. The fairy, Mabel Mae, has a beautiful afro and uses 1970’s jive talk. I loved it so much.

I wanted to steal it from the Seattle Children’s Hospital, but, alas. I thought that would be in poor form.  It’s out of print, but I tracked it down and bought an old copy from a library.

Walter Dean Meyers was reading at the festival, and I sneaked in to listen. Fantastic. I had brought my ragged, shredded, tattered copy of The Dragon Takes a Wife, and my friend X asked Meyers to sign it for me. I was all giggly.

Walter Dean Meyer

That was my favorite part of the entire festival.

Do you have a children’s book that means something special to you? Can you tell me about it?