Friday, October 3, 2014

Something Wicked Strikes: Mercedes M. Yardley

Hi everyone, and welcome to our first Something Wicked Strikes post this year! Today I am beyond honored to welcome Mercedes M. Yardley to the blog. You might have noticed my fangirling over her recently published novel. Pretty Little Dead Girls is the best book I've read all year and I really hope you'll take a chance and discover this gorgeous piece of literature. 

Dark Little Girls
By Mercedes M. Yardley

I’ve always been a dark little girl, attracted to the slightly gritty, the slightly scary. I love the delicious feeling of shivers running up my spine in a semi-safe environment. The Halloween games and haunted houses always attracted me. When I was in high school, I picked up a side gig telling fortunes to school children at carnivals. “You’ll grow up to become a dancer” I told the little girl next door. She spent every morning spinning and twirling on her lawn. “You’d better not pull your dog’s tail or Sparkles will bite you,” I told the little boy who shared our back fence.  He was in awe that this fortune teller in jewels and eyeliner with the thick accent knew the name of his dog.
“How do you know?” he asked.
“I know all,” I told him, gazing deep into my fish bowl/crystal ball. “And don’t forget that tomorrow is your father’s birthday. Make him a card and good things will happen to you.”
But mostly the fortunes were, “You’ll be happy. You’ll be happy. Don’t be scared tonight. Stay with your parents or bigger brothers and sisters. They’ll keep you safe.”
I also picked up another job as a face-painter for Halloween. Vampires and geishas. Four million striped tigers. Smurfs and cowboys and zombie after zombie after zombie. Cheerleader zombies. Child zombies. Werewolf robot zombies. I painted them all.
Halloween is a chance to become somebody else completely. Shed who you are during your normal, everyday life and become something phenomenal. Something powerful. You’re Gem, and you’re truly outrageous. You’re a shape shifter. You’re a princess or a shark. Or a princess shark.
My favorite things were the spooky Halloween TV specials that came on. Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin and the Halloween Garfields. The Simpsons. All of these old black and white movies with Dracula and the Mummy. These shows weren’t too frightening, but they were just frightening enough. I loved the ghost stories and the old Halloween decorations that my mother pulled out year after year. We hung ghosts in the window. Carved pumpkins and set them outside.
It isn’t the same now. Instead of a rural town where you knew every house and which kind of candy they gave (“The one on the corner has candy bars! The dentist still gives out that stupid floss”) we live in the city where neighbors are strangers. We Trunk-or-Treat from each other’s cars at the church or we Trick-or-Treat at each door in the house.
But there are still movies, and costumes, and candy. I paint my children’s faces and predict their good fortunes in a spooky voice. After they go to bed, I watch scary movies that send those familiar shivers down my spine. And I feel like myself for the first time in a long time. I get to be a dark little girl again.

About Mercedes:

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 the fall of 2012, and her novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love came out in September of 2013. Her debut novel, Nameless: The Darkness Comes, released in January 2014. It is the first book in The Bone Angel Trilogy.

Look for her newest title, Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy released in September of 2014.

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  1. I loved this post! It gave Halloween such great perspective :) I never thought of it that way! Thanks for the giveaway, Maja.

  2. I love Halloween, I love the chance of being someone else, to enjoy some darker side of myself, even I am quite a bit of a wuss and I cannot stand really scary movies, so I usually prefer Tim Burton marathons that always include Nightmare Before Xmas!

  3. Fabulous guest post! I definitely want to read this!

  4. “The one on the corner has candy bars! The dentist still gives out that stupid floss”

    YES!!! I remember doing this in elementary school! We'd go out in groups and then split up and report back to each other on which houses to hit and which to avoid. We had a dentist in our neighborhood too. He gave out toothbrushes. O.o

    I added this book to the list after reading your review Maja, and I can't wait to start it!

  5. Ahh, I can't wait for Halloween and this is a brilliant feature to get us ready for the seasonal trick or treat! I love the cover of Pretty Little Dead Girls and I remember your review, so I can't wait to read it! Lovely guest post and thanks for the giveaway! :)

  6. I totally loved this. I had this flashback to the eighties when she mentioned Jem and I heard that theme song in my head... Jem is truly outrageous. I discovered last year while trick or treating with my kids that my street is fantastic and well worth the hike up the steep hill. Numerous houses gave out full size candy bars. Score! Anyway, I totally want to read this book as Maja so highly recommends it. Awesome post!

  7. Awesome post! I completely get the idea of being someone different on Halloween and allowing a different part of your personality shine through. After reading your fabulous review, I put it on my reading pile. I'll have to be sure to read it with the lights on.

  8. Wonderful post! I really love Halloween too. I'm one of those people that plan a party every year and treat my twenty-something friends like kids. I make themed food, we play games, dress up, etc. It's great.

  9. Great post! In small close neighborhoods we knew the same thing. Knew which ones to avoid and the houses to hit for sure. LOL I so need to read this book!

  10. Ohh I have seen that other book around too, I remember wanting to read it

  11. Awesome post! I still look forward to the Halloween specials, especially the Simpsons. I can't wait to read Pretty Little Dead Girls after your review!

  12. Great post, Halloween is a special time fo the year. I cant wait to watch some scary movies or shows and read a spooky book.

  13. Thank you so much for your comments! And Madja, thank you for allowing me to write this guest post. It made me so happy to remember how much fun Halloween was as a child.

    This year we've already decorated the house with homemade paper bats and spiders. It's too hot to carve pumpkins in Las Vegas (they mold within three days, I kid you not) so we took orange solo cups and drew faces on them. They're on the window sill with electric tea light candles. This season just makes me happy. :)

    And arg! I misspelled Jem! I suppose I'm not truly outrageous, after all. :P


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