Tag Archives: Mercedes M. Yardley

A Conversation with Anthony J. Rapino

Anthony Rapino is a dark fiction author with a sense of humor. It was cool to interview him. Hope you enjoy!

MY: So, Anthony, thanks for stopping by! Why don’t you start off by telling me what you have out, and what you’re currently working on.

AR: Thanks so much for having me. I have to admit, my first impulse when you asked what I “have out” was to tell a vulgar joke. Let me just tuck that away. The vulgarity, I mean! Oof. What’s that they say about first impressions?

MY: Your first impression is shot.

AR: Moving on. I currently have a few short stories out in print magazines and anthologies such as the Arcane Anthology, On Spec #86, and Black Ink Horror 7. I of course also have the short story collection Welcome to Moon Hill available through Amazon, and my debut novel, Soundtrack to the End of the World available from Bad Moon Books. They put out a beautiful limited signed hardcover edition as well as a paperback edition.

I’m currently working on a two different super-secret anthology submissions. I’m also working on my second novel, which I published an excerpt of in Welcome to Moon Hill.


Posted in Blog, Interviews, On Writing, Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Enter the Gate—Free Admission!

T.R.O. Publishing recently released the second installment of The Gate series, The Gate 2: 13 Tales of Isolation and Despair, an anthology featuring work from two of Shock Totem’s own—Mercedes M. Yardley (“Black Mary”) and me, K. Allen Wood (“The Candle Eaters”).

You can get the print version for $8.59 or, if you’re a Kindle owner, download it for free. It’ll be available at no cost today and throughout tomorrow.

[ Copyright © 2012 by Jesse David Young ]

In addition, you’ll find work by Daniel Pyle, Steven Pirie, David Dalglish, Robert J. Duperre, and seven others.

So if you’re looking for some great fiction at no cost, check out The Gate 2.

Posted in Blog, Free Fiction, Recommended Reading, Shock Totem News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Best New Writing of 2012

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I was on the short list for theEric Hoffer Award. Woo!

While the very worthy “Peep Show,” by Louise Beech, won the award, I made it into their Best New Writing 2012 anthology.

When I was in college, their Best New Writing collections were part of my class curriculum. I actually had to go out and buy a copy to study from. I was introduced to some delightful stories that way.

And now? Who knows, maybe somebody will read my tale, “Stars,” and find something of worth in it.

Posted in Alumni News, Staff News | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Your First Hate Mail

My guest post, “Your First Hate Mail: How Life Can Change After Working for a Magazine,” is up and running at The Fictorian Era

Come by and say hello!

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Special Shock Totem Holiday E-book—Now Available!

Now available for the Kindle, Shock Totem’s special holiday e-book. You can purchase a copy here for $0.99. To purchase copies from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, or Amazon.fr, click the Digital link at the top of our site.

This issue features an eclectic mix of holiday-inspired dark fiction from K. Allen Wood, Mercedes M. Yardley, Kevin J. Anderson, Robert J. Duperre and more. Also anecdotal holiday recollections from Jack Ketchum, Jennifer Pelland, Mark Allen Gunnells, Nick Cato, and a host of others.

Celebrate the holidays with Shock Totem!

Here’s is the table of contents:

* Heartless, by Mercedes M. Yardley
* Vincent Pendergast’s Holiday Recollection
* Jennifer Pelland’s Holiday Recollection
* Streamer of Silver, Ribbon of Red, by K. Allen Wood
* Mark Allan Gunnells’ Holiday Recollection
* Nick Cato’s Holiday Recollection
* Santa Claus Is Coming to Get You, by Kevin J. Anderson
* Stacey Longo’s Holiday Recollection
* Tinsel, by John Boden
* Leslianne Wilder’s Holiday Recollection
* One Good Turn, by Robert J. Duperre
* Jack Ketchum’s Holiday Recollection
* Sheldon Higdon’s Crappy Holiday Recollection
* Christmas Wish, by Sarah Gomes
* Simon McCaffery’s Holiday Recollection
* ‘Twas the Night, by Nick Contor
* Daniel I. Russell’s Holiday Recollection
* Lee Thompson’s Holiday Recollection
* A Krampus Christmas, by Ryan Bridger
* Howling Through the Keyhole (Story Notes)

Happy holidays!

Posted in Alumni News, Shock Totem Digital, Shock Totem News, Staff News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Wicked Awesome Shock Totem Contest

As some of you know, issue #5 has been delayed until July 2012. However, in March 2012 we will be publishing our first novel. In celebration of that, I thought we’d hold a contest.

The first person to figure out the cypher at the bottom of that picture will win the following:

    1. One copy of our upcoming novel (title to be revealed once the contest is won), signed by the author.
    2. One copy each of the first four Shock Totem issues.
    3. One copy of Werewolves and Shapeshifters: Encounters with the Beasts Within, a massive tome edited by John Skipp and featuring our very own Mercedes M. Yardley, among other greats.
    4. A one-year (12 issues) digital subscription to one of my favorite publications, Apex Magazine.
    5. And because I have an extra, one old-ass (but in very good condition) copy of The Magazine of Fantasy of Science Fiction, from July 1970, which features the only appearance of Dean Koontz’s “The Mysteries of His Flesh,” the short story that would later be expanded to become his sixth novel, Anti-Man*.

      * Trivia: Dean’s preferred—and better—title was the same as the short story, “The Mysteries of His Flesh,” but the publisher thought it sounded “too gay.”

      Obviously this contest is a bit tougher than most, but I want you to work for those prizes. That said, it’s not as hard as it looks. All the clues you need to lead you to the answer are in this post.

      Post your answers in the comments below. First person to post the correct answer wins!

      (Some of you are ineligible to win, as you know the answer. We know who you are!)

      Amendment: If you guess right, I will ask how you got to that answer. A wild guess that happens to be correct will not count. If you have truly figured it out, you will have no doubt that your answer is correct.

      Amendment #2: If you think you have the correct answer, please post it in the comments section below like others have been doing, that way your answer is time-stamped. But also send me an e-mail at ken@shocktotem.com explaining how you came to that answer.

      Posted in Contests, Shock Totem News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

      Halloween Night Fever: End of the Long Walk

      I have to be honest when I say that I was a bit baffled when I set out to read Halloween Night Fever: End of the Long Walk, the first release in a planned five-part series, though, oddly enough, chronologically the third book in the series.

      Dan Graffeo’s book, with its rather bizarre superhero cover, sounded like an unintentionally off-the-wall novel. Several people in the town of Sleepy Owl begin having similar dreams and pull pieces of caribou skin out of that dream into real life. They form a secret society called the Pniese and spend each Halloween night keeping an eye on the dark things that cross over to the land of the living.

      It sounded juvenile. Then I started reading it, and realized that it was, indeed, written for juveniles. And in that vein, I was pleasantly surprised.

      What young’un doesn’t want to read about a group of kids who secretly keep the town safe right under their parents’ noses? The characters were diverse—perhaps even a little too obviously diverse—and had fun, different modes of transportation. Willy Hynes, the protagonist, is a smart-aleck kid who spends more time mouthing off than anything else. And he is funny. The dialogue made me smile several times and is the strongest part of the book.

      Best of all, this is a book that will engage that hard-to-reach niche: boys. There’s action. An undead villain. Older mentors, secret names, and typical Halloween creatures shown in a different light. I’ve already suggested this book to a few boys who struggle with reading.

      Halloween Night Fever: End of the Long Walk is engaging without being too difficult, and is just a fun read all around. Silly, sure. And that was half the charm of it.

      Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

      A Demonic Acceptance

      Some Big News for one of our own.

      Mercedes M. Yardley’s “Daisies and Demons” made it into the upcoming anthology Demons: Encounters with the Devil and His Minions, Fallen Angels, and the Possessed, edited by the almighty John Skipp.

      [ not final or accurate cover art ]

      The anthology is slated to come out this October through Black Dog & Levinthal. Mercedes has declared that she’ll sign her story with “a lipstick kiss” if you bring it to her.

      The Table of Contents is as follows:

      CHERUB – Adam-Troy Castro
      THE DEVIL – Guy de Maupassant
      THE BOOK – Margaret Irwin
      THE MONKEY’S PAW – W.W. Jacobs
      THE HOUND – H.P. Lovecraft
      …THE BLACK CAT – Edgar Allan Poe
      THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER – Stephen Vincent Benet
      NELLTHU – Anthony Boucher
      THE HOWLING MAN – Charles Beaumont
      THE EXORCIST (excerpt) – William Peter Blatty
      HELL – Richard Christian Matheson
      VISITATION – David J. Schow
      …BEST FRIENDS – Robert R. McCammon
      INTO WHOSE HANDS – Karl Edward Wagner
      THE BESPELLED – Kim Harrison
      NON QUIS, SED QUID – Maggie Stiefvater
      DEMON GIRL – Athena Villaverde
      HE WAITS – K.H. Koehler
      HAPPY HOUR – Laura Lee Bahr
      …STAYING THE NIGHT – Amelia Beamer
      DAISIES AND DEMONS – Mercedes M. Yardley
      MOM – Bentley Little
      CONSUELA HATES A VACUUM – Cody Goodfellow
      EMPTY CHURCH – James Steele
      …ANGELOLOGY (excerpt) –Danielle Trussoni
      THE CODA OF SOLOMON – Nick Mamatas
      John Skipp THE LAW OF RESONANCE – Zak Jarvis
      HALT AND CATCH FIRE – Violet LeVoit
      SCARS IN PROGRESS – Brian Hodge
      THE UNICORN HUNTER – Alethea Kontis
      OTHER PEOPLE – Neil Gaiman

      If you’ve read Skipp’s previous anthologies in this series, Zombies: Encounters with the Hungry Dead and Werewolves and Shapeshifters: Encounters With the Beast Within—which includes Mercedes’s “Werewolf 101″—then you know you can expect a hefty—and I mean hefty; these things are HEAVY!—platter of great fiction, old and new.

      Dig on that!

      Posted in Alumni News, Blog, Staff News | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

      Mercedes: An Update and an Interview

      As some of you know, one of our own, the lovely Mercedes M. Yardley, has been on bed rest for the past six weeks or so, and she’s been away from the Internet for a little over a week. The reason for this can be read here.

      I spoke to Mercedes today. (Freaked her out at first, I think. She wasn’t taking to my fake weirdo-redneck accent.) She’s home now, still on bed rest (can’t sit up at all), and is still unable to get online. Though I think I gave her some workable ideas on how to rectify that.

      Apparently, when she was in the hospital, she was having contractions every two minutes. Amazing that doctors can reverse that. The doctors did an amniocentesis and removed a lot of fluid, so that relieved some pressure, which was partly the cause of the contractions. Plus she’s on steroids to help further suppress the contractions.

      I don’t envy her, but she’s doing well enough and seems to be in good spirits. Sounded like any other happy 9-year-old girl. Haha. (Have you heard her childlike voice?)

      And if you need a little more for your Mercedes fix, she was recently interviewed by Jamal W. Hankins, which you can read here.

      Oh, and she says she met a nurse in the hospital who was a fan of Shock Totem. How cool is that?

      Posted in Interviews, Staff News | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

      Staff Spotlight: It Definitely Explains the Smell

      Who is this irresistible creature who has an insatiable love for the dead?

      Earlier today, in an attempt to see if one forum member was using two accounts, I tried to figure out how to look up IP addresses through the admin panel of our forum. I could only figure out how to check the IPs of those currently logged in, so since Mercedes was the only one on the forum besides guests, I checked hers.

      (It was all for research purposes, I assure you. I was fully clothed—aside from shirt, pants, and underwear.)

      But here’s what I found odd. Accompanying her IP info, which was pinging from Maryland, was this image:

      Weird, eh? So I did a little investigating. (Again, for research purposes only.) Upon further inspection, it appears that Mercedes lives under a plot on the western side of the Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville, Maryland.

      Here is a more detailed image:

      Can’t say I’m surprised, really. In fact, a lot of things about her are much clearer now. It definitely explains the smell. But we wouldn’t trade her in for anything.

      As the sagacious Violent J once said: “Cemetery lady, my cemetery girl. Cemetery baby, I want you in my world.”

      Posted in Blog, Humor, Staff Spotlight | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment