The Qwillery | category: Mercedes M. Yardley


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A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Mercedes M. Yardley - March 30, 2015

Please welcome Mercedes M. Yardley to The Qwillery. “Cactus Flowers and Bone Flutes” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the fourteenth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with Mercedes M. Yardley - March 30, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here. GENIUS LOCI has been funded and there is less $2000 to go to the Deluxe format of the printed edition!

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mercedes:  I adore writing flash fiction and shorts, but the space constraint definitely challenges you to condense your story. You either have to focus on a short, precise section of a character’s life and give it rich detail, or you can follow the character for quite a while but lose the detail. Everything is streamlined with the short form and you have to choose your words very carefully. Each one is like a jewel that must be polished.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

Mercedes:  I adore so many authors! I grew up reading Erma Bombeck, and I’d say she’s influenced me with her humor and ability to make the mundane seem funny and magical. Peter S. Beagle has influenced me. All of his work is stellar, not just The Last Unicorn, although that is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. Aimee Bender has influenced me with her delicate prose and dreaminess. I haven’t read anything of hers I haven’t liked.

TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Mercedes:  I’d love it if somebody asked about one of the most memorable moments in the author’s life and how that influenced their art. I was driving home from work one day when a Monarch butterfly swarm passed through on migration. Suddenly there was a cloud of butterflies. They were literally all I could see, and everybody stopped on the road so the butterflies wouldn’t be killed. I rolled the windows down in my car, and several flew inside. It was one of the most stunning, meaningful moments I’ve ever experienced. I had my hands on the steering wheel, sharing it with several butterflies. They were in my hair. They covered the hood of my Geo Metro. When I arrived home, I opened the door and let several more out, and watched them as they wheeled into the air. I’ll never experience that again.

Butterflies, and especially Monarchs, tend to be a theme in my work. I try to capture that moment of whimsy and perfection and also that sense of danger. The darling things are so vulnerable. Their wings are torn so easily. People are damaged easily, as well, and I write about that often.

TQ:  Describe “Cactus Flowers and Bone Flutes”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Mercedes:  The desert openly lusts for a young boy’s blood.

TQ:  Tell us something about “Cactus Flowers and Bone Flutes” that will not give away the story.

Mercedes:  This story is actually part of a larger canon. I have a novel titled Pretty Little Dead Girls, which is actually a Genius Loci backing reward, that has to do with this very desert. It’s a hungry thing, this monster of sand and bone. “Cactus Flowers and Bone Flutes” takes place before the novel. The desert is never satisfied.

TQ:  What was your inspiration for “Cactus Flowers and Bone Flutes”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Mercedes:  I grew up in a small desert town, and spent quite a bit of time outdoors. We were always hiking and climbing. We learned Rattlesnake Bite 101 in school. I can’t tell you how many times I stepped on cactus or saw something whip into its hole out in the middle of nowhere. The desert was exceptionally beautiful but also dangerous. Everything out there could kill you. So that became the powerful, sentient inspiration for Pretty Little Dead Girls and “Cactus Flowers and Bone Flutes.”
That’s my Genius loci. The desert is very much alive.

TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “Cactus Flowers and Bone Flutes”.


The desert prowled up to the front porch, eying Lucas Marsh with interest. Lucas eyed it back.

TQ:  In which genre or genres does “Cactus Flowers and Bone Flutes” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Mercedes:  This story is a magical realism story, along the lines of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I think classifications are still useful as a general guideline toward what interests a reader, but works straddle so many genres right now that one story could easily be classified as several things. In my opinion, genre classifications are used for marketing purposes and to give the reader a general idea of what the book will be like, but it really isn’t super useful beyond that. And the classification system is growing every day. A few years ago nobody had heard of Grimdark, but now not only is it a genre, but it has its own subgenres as well.

TQ:  What's next?

Mercedes:  I’m currently working on a couple of shared-world novellas, and that’s really a lot of fun! I’m also working on the second book of THE BONE ANGEL trilogy, which will be out later this year. It’s called Heartless: Carnival of Isolation and it really takes a dark turn. I’m breaking the main character into teeny tiny pieces. I’m far too excited about that.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Mercedes:  Thank you for having me! It’s absolutely a pleasure.

About Mercedes M. Yardley

Interview with Mercedes M. Yardley - March 30, 2015
Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantastic who wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair. She writes short stories, novellas, nonfiction, and novels. She is the author of Beautiful Sorrows, Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Nameless, Little Dead Red, and her latest release, Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, from Ragnarok Publications. Mercedes lives and works in Sin City, and you can reach her at

Twitter @mercedesmy  ~ Facebook

Spotlight: Grimm Mistresses

In celebration of Women in Horror Month, The Qwillery is spotlighting Grimm Mistresses, a collection of retellings of Grimm's fairy tales by Stacey Turner, Mercedes M. Yardley, Allison M. Dickson, C.W. LaSart, and S.R. Cambridge.

Grimm Mistresses
Angelic Knight Press, February 23, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 232 pages
Hardcover (limited/signed)

Spotlight: Grimm Mistresses
Remember the Grimm Brothers? Those dark fairy tales that made you leave the light on long before Disney went and sanitized them? Well, we do! Now the MISTRESSES GRIMM take back the night, five female authors who will leave you shuddering deliciously. Get ready to leave the lights on again with four pieces of short fiction bringing the Grimm Brother’s tales into the present. Be advised: these aren’t your children’s fairy tales!

About the Authors

Stacey Turner

Spotlight: Grimm Mistresses
STACEY TURNER is the former owner of Angelic Knight Press, now the Supernatural Horror Imprint for Ragnarok, and she remains its Managing Editor. She loves reading and writing horror and dark fantasy, but does not love scarecrows, creepy dolls, birds (of any sort), snakes, clowns or garden gnomes. She blogs at The Author Spot.

Twitter @Spot_Speaks

Mercedes M. Yardley

Spotlight: Grimm Mistresses
MERCEDES M. YARDLEY is a dark fantasist who wears stilettos and poisonous flowers in her hair. Her short story collection, Beautiful Sorrows, came out in 2012, and her novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love won the 2013 Stabby Award for "Best Short Fiction." Her debut novel, Nameless: The Darkness Comes, the first book of "The Bone Angel Trilogy," also released in 2013. Her latest title is Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy (September, 2014).

Twitter @mercedesmy

Allison M. Dickson

Spotlight: Grimm Mistresses
ALLISON M. DICKSON is the author of two published novels: horror-thriller Strings, and the dystopian epic, The Last Supper. She has nearly two dozen short stories in publications such as Apex Magazine. Her "Colt Coltrane" indie series features a detective and his robot sidekick in 1940s Los Angeles.

Twitter @MsAllieD

C.W. Lasart

Spotlight: Grimm Mistresses
C.W. LASART is the author of Ad Nauseam: 13 Tales of Extreme Horror, her debut story collection, as well as multiple other stories in publications such as Shock Totem Magazine, Nightscape, Dark Moon Presents, and Fifty Shades of Decay. She is also one of three winners of the "Cemetery Dance" Amateur Writing Contest in 2011, and a card-carrying member of the Horror Writers' Association.

Twitter @CWLaSart

S.R. Cambridge

Spotlight: Grimm Mistresses
S.R. CAMBRIDGE is a fancy cocktail enthusiast, aspiring nerd writer, avid napper, trivia dork, pedant, and human encyclopedia of Simpsons quotes. Her career as an author is just getting started with stories in Grimm Mistresses by Angelic Knight Press and Blackguards: Tales of Assassins, Mercenaries, and Rogues from Ragnarok Publications.

Twitter @SRCambridge

Guest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014

Please welcome Mercedes M. Yardley to The Qwillery. Nameless: The Darkness Comes (The Bone Angel Trilogy 1) was published on January 16, 2014.

Guest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014

Writing Through Adversity. Or Not.
By Mercedes M. Yardley

I wrote as a kid. I wrote as a teen and in college. Then I stopped to be An Adult, but this didn’t work for me. It made me miserable. It murdered my soul.

Then I was a young, married woman with a sweet, tiny son. I start writing again, and it was hard. I was rusty. I was afraid and not technology savvy and I had no idea what to do with “the business aspect” of writing. But I tried not to care about that. I wrote and wrote and wrote, building novels and short stories the way that somebody learns to walk again: one step at a time.

How To Write Anything: Take a word. Add another word. Hook on a third word. Crochet with syllables. Build a scaffolding with adjectives. Write music with phrases, with exclamation marks, with descriptions of the character’s day. Of their weeks, of their problems, of their thoughts.

Create. Build. Generate. Construct. Produce.

Write a little, every day. On some magical, wondrous days, write a lot. But only a few words are necessary to be a success. Build your novel one sentence at a time. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.

I was writing a novel titled Nameless: The Darkness Comes. It was a thing of joy. I was writing so quickly, so easily! I was banging out a chapter a night, giggling with Luna, mooning over Reed Taylor. This was what writing was supposed to be.

I received some surprising news. Hey! You’re pregnant!

Hey, they’re triplets!

Hey, there’s something wrong with one of them. No, wait. Two of them. No, wait again. There’s a possibility you could lose all three.

It was devastating. But I couldn’t waste time worrying, because I had two other children to worry about. So I needed to cope. And how does a writer cope?

That’s right. A writer writes.

So I pushed through. I gave Reed Taylor size 13 steel-toed boots. I let their world take me away from my own concerns. I wasn’t worried about babies or choosing caskets or invasive medical procedures. Instead, I chose to worry about Luna’s demons and Mouth’s real intentions and Reed Taylor’s decisions. And this saved me.

Until it didn’t.

There came a time when I was forced on bed rest. For months. I couldn’t sit up. I couldn’t hold a computer on my now-nonexistent lap. Writing wasn’t the option that it had been before.

I couldn’t push through it. I couldn’t work. It wasn’t physically possible. It wasn’t mentally or emotionally possible, either.

Then there were babies and blessings and funerals and one strong, healthy, premature little girl. I visited her every day in NICU for two months until we brought her home. Then there was grieving and sleepless nights and adorable outfits and a child I refused to put down.

I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I needed her close to my heart, all of the time.

I felt as though I should get back to writing Nameless. It was a weight upon me. My agent was waiting for it. It would heal my soul, and I had obligations. I was a writer, and writers write all of the time. Even when it’s hard. Even through adversity.

This is true. I’ve written through adversity before. When time was short and kiddos were sick and it was 117 degrees outside. I’ve written even when I was depressed, when I didn’t feel like it, and when it was hard to get to a computer. I wrote in foreign countries. I wrote in the dead of night when I couldn’t sleep. I wrote when I didn’t wanna. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Again, step by step. Build. Create. Do. Become. BE.

Be a writer. Be an author. Be a person who doesn’t quit.

Except that sometimes you need to. Sometimes pushing through it hinders more than it helps. It hurts. Wounds. It makes things worse.

Life will throw you curves. Some of them will knock your down, but you’ll get up and dust yourself off. Some of them will knock you out, and no matter how you try, you won’t be able to pull it together right away. You’ll lie there for a while, and then maybe manage to make it to your hands and knees. Then perhaps you’ll sit up. You’ll be dizzy, so you’ll be still for a while. I hope that somebody will reach out a hand and help you to your feet. You’ll practice standing. You’ll feel the firmness of the ground underneath you. You’ll blink in the sunshine. And eventually you’ll look around, and life will be beautiful again.

You don’t need to work through adversity, not all of the time. If you can’t write, then treat yourself with grace. Treat yourself as kindly as you’d treat anybody else that you love fiercely. You wouldn’t scream at them to work while they’re lying unconscious at your feet. Why would you do that to yourself?

Don’t. Because your world may possibly stop for you one day. Perhaps it already has. Perhaps that’s happening right this moment.

You know what? It’ll start back up again. I promise.

My story? It’s one of success, at least to me. The last triplet is two years old, and spunky. It’s a house of love. Nameless wasn’t finished by the original planned date, but when I got back to it, I felt free again. No stress. No pressure. I wrote about motorcycles and lost little girls and demons, while facing some of my own. It was fun. It’s now my debut novel, the first book in a trilogy, and more than anything, it makes me smile.

It’s a Book of Happy. It’s a book of joy. It’s proof that writer’s write, but sometimes they take breaks. And then they write again.

Nameless: The Darkness Comes
The Bone Angel Trilogy 1
Ragnarok Publications, January 16, 2014
eBook, 252 pages
(Also to be published in Trade Paperback)

Guest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014
Luna Masterson sees demons. She has been dealing with the demonic all her life, so when her brother gets tangled up with a demon named Sparkles, ‘Luna the Lunatic’ rolls in on her motorcycle to save the day.

Armed with the ability to harm demons, her scathing sarcasm, and a hefty chip on her shoulder, Luna gathers the most unusual of allies, teaming up with a green-eyed heroin addict and a snarky demon ‘of some import.’

After all, outcasts of a feather should stick together...even until the end.


Guest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014

Website  ~   Twitter @mercedesmy  ~ Facebook

Interview with Mercedes M. Yardley - March 30, 2015Spotlight: Grimm MistressesGuest Blog by Mercedes M. Yardley - Writing Through Adversity. Or Not. - January 22, 2014

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