As published in The King in Yellow (Second Heathen Edition)

“What is a Heathen Edition? And why are you holding one now?”

It’s been five years since I began our first ever Heathenry with those two questions.

Five: that’s how old we are today, as I write this.

When I asked those two questions to set the stage for the explanation of how Heathen Editions came to exist, I, myself, wasn’t even sure what a Heathen Edition was, exactly, beyond being named after my cats. I believe people always assume that I’m joking when I say that, but — c’est vrai! — it’s true.

I can vividly remember, in the days long before I ever thought of actually pursuing this publishing venture, when I was designing the cover of The King in Yellow simply as a creative exercise — a palette cleanser of sorts between paid graphic design gigs — and realizing that, well, if this were to become a real book, then it would need some sort of designation to set it apart from all the others, so what would that designation be? My mind immediately latched onto: _______ Edition, then kept repeating that as I surveyed my home office, probing for some sort of inspiration, “blank Edition, something Edition, what? Edition . . .” when my eyes finally came to rest on the cat sleeping on my lap.

Here, in these parts of Appalachia, “heathen” is often used as a term of endearment. Indeed, growing up, it was something I heard many members of my family call pets and children alike, myself included, and seemingly always in response to something we should not have done, yet surely did. Like the time my brother and I — ages 4 and 8, respectively — decided that it was perfectly reasonable while dressed in our “Sunday best” to play in a mud puddle before going to church. “Oh, you little heathens!” my mother could be heard shrieking moments later, quite appropriately.

That memory still makes me laugh and, to my mind, is a perfect illustration of an Appalachian Heathen if ever there was one.

And so, “heathen” became a natural addition to my vocabulary, and a word I’ve used almost daily when interacting with my pets, for as long as I’ve had pets, which is to say nearly the entirety of my life.

So when my eyes fell upon the sleeping cat on my lap, my brain, naturally, filled in the blank with zero indecision: “what? Edition, Heathen Edition.” Like a key sliding into a lock, et voila!

And the sudden marriage of those two words ignited a chemical reaction in my brain that exploded into a vision of everything that a “Heathen Edition” could be.

And it gave me hope.

Hope when I needed it.

You see, my life had recently imploded, spectacularly, and I wasn’t sure in which direction my future was headed — or if it was headed in any direction at all. I felt, much like Bono sings, “cut adrift, but still floating” because I had made the fatal mistake of intertwining too tightly a long-term romantic relationship with the remodeling of a childhood home (the one where my brother and I had attended the mud puddle in business-professional attire years before) and my, at that time, two-decade pursuit of a filmmaking career channeled into nurturing a burgeoning multimedia business — all connected like links in a chain, and, as they say, a chain is only a strong as its weakest link, which, in my case, proved to be the long-term relationship, so when that link failed, all the rest failed with it, which is how I found myself miles from home, in a Brooklyn apartment, ingesting two tabs of acid and experiencing a life-altering, LSD-induced ego death. This before I fully understood the vital importance of the psychedelic maxim “set and setting.”

Inside of six months the universe took me from the moment my weak link catastrophically failed to the moment I arrived in the Infinite Plane and experienced symbiosis with the Brilliant White Light of Absolute Love.

Obviously, nothing was ever going to be the same.

I wish I could say that life got easier after that Bright moment, but it didn’t. I imagine that had I experienced ego death at any other point in my life it most likely would have produced varying degrees of immediate improvement across all dimensions of being, but experiencing it while wandering through the emotional wasteland I had marooned myself in, coupled with my inability to locate absolutely anyone who could both understand and help me make sense of my mind-boggling psychedelic experience, meant life became far more difficult — for a while even inexplicable.

But, I was not hopeless — yet.

While struggling to make sense of it all, I retreated from the world and busied myself with The King in Yellow. I had decided why not publish it? I was in need of an engrossing creative detour to distract me from the midlife-cum-existential crisis I was in denial of having. That, and I wanted a “good” paperback of The King in Yellow, which didn’t exist at the time, and I had always wanted to design a book, so I figured maybe I would create that “good” version — and maybe there would only ever be one Heathen Edition: this one — and maybe by the time it was published I’d have my life all sorted and back on track with business booming, easy peasy.

Little could I know what else the universe had in store. . . .

To borrow a transition from filmmaking, CUT TO:

December 14, 2017. After having spent the better part of a year figuring out exactly how I wanted to present the “Heathen Edition” of The King in Yellow to the world, which involved teaching myself how to use InDesign, countless hours designing, two paperback proofs, and more sheets of printed paper than my environmentally-conscious self likes to admit, I had the book exactly how I wanted it: all of the revisions were complete; all of the files were uploaded; now, all I had to do was click the “Publish Your Book” button and it would be done — but I stopped just before clicking it — I hesitated while staring at the hovering cursor and asked myself, Are you sure you’re ready?

What happened next is, I believe, a story truly worthy of The King in Yellow mythos because it’s just so utterly strange and weird that I still can’t quite wrap my head around it.

As I was staring at that cursor, hesitating, the phone rang.

“Call from — mother,” it’s robo-voice announced.

That decided it: okay, yeah-yeah, you’re ready, I thought and hurriedly clicked the button, then rushed to the phone.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Sheridan, John just coded. You need to get your sister,” a voice not my mother’s said.

“What do you mean coded; is he okay? Where’s my mother?”

“You need to get your sister. Hurry.”

Then, the phone clicked.

John, my stepfather, had been in the hospital and had just had a quintuple bypass surgery about a month earlier, but came through it like a beast. When I saw him a few days afterward he looked and sounded better than he had in a long while, healthy and alive, and seemed to be recovering rapidly. We were all very hopeful.

Now, this.

My sister — technically my half-sister, and John’s only biological child — lived three hours away: me on the far western side of West Virginia in Mason County, her on the far eastern in Greenbrier. My quick calculation was a total of six hours to go get her, then get to the hospital, because I knew once she heard this news — if she hadn’t already — there was no chance of her driving herself. But, did we have six hours?

I called her, “Have you heard about John?”

“No, what’s wrong?”

Damn it, I thought, why me? “He just coded—”

Before I could finish she was already audibly sobbing—

That’s when big-brother mode kicked in, “Hey—hey! You can cry all you want in a minute, right now: logistics — where’s your kid and can you get a babysitter? As soon as I hang up this phone, I’m on my way to get you.”

Within two minutes the logistics were sorted and I was out the door climbing into my navy blue 2003 Dodge Durango. Looking back, there’s no other vehicle that I would have wanted to climb into in that moment. I had owned it for over a decade, put 250,00 miles on it, and had routinely maintained it so that I knew every tick and clack. It was mine, the first vehicle I had purchased as an adult and I was proud of it; I knew exactly what it could and could not do, and I knew with supreme confidence that it could absolutely handle what I was about to ask of it: like a cowboy mounting his favorite horse knowing this ride was going to be the ride.

When I hit the main road a moment later, I glanced at the clock: 8:11 PM.

In that moment, something told me we didn’t have six hours, so I flipped on the four-way flashers and smashed the accelerator; the speedometer hurtled to 100 mph and stayed pinned there as I tightened my death-grip on the steering wheel and watched my knuckles fade to white.

Somewhere on Rt. 35 a passing sheriff’s deputy flashed his lights at me, but I paid no mind as he rapidly vanished in the rearview.

Clear the way, I thought, let me pass no more police officers.

Luckily, it was a quiet Thursday evening and rush hour was over. I didn’t pass another cop and, like a low-flying aircraft, jetted my way from Rt. 35 to I-64, which turns into the West Virginia Turnpike — and anyone familiar with the Turnpike knows that it’s a stretch of highway that one should most certainly not be traveling on at 100 mph, especially since there are tollbooths involved, but I was on a mission — get my sister to her father — and so I did it — twice.

At some point, trapped behind a steering wheel with time to think, logic clicked in, and when it was safe to do so (which is to say that it wasn’t safe at all), I called my sister and asked if she could hitch a ride with someone and meet me at an exit along the interstate; anything that would get her closer to me and make this trip shorter because I didn’t know how much time we had.

While waiting on her to call back, my other sister called to provide me with an update: yes, John had coded, and he was now stable, but the outlook was unclear — and I needed to hurry.

Finally, several minutes and miles later, my sister called back and told me where we could meet: at a gas station literally one exit from where she lived.

Coincidentally (or not depending on how you view these things), there’s a restaurant in that same lot called Meeting Place — this universe is truly a strange place sometimes. . . .

As I pulled into the parking lot, I glanced at the clock: 10:05 PM.

I had just made a three-hour trip in two hours — but this was only the halfway point, and the clock was ticking. . . .

After the longest ten minutes of my life, my sister’s ride pulled up beside me at 10:15 PM, and within seconds we were on the highway and rocketing away at 100 mph.

The destination was now St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington and, given the time of day, the interstate was far less busy than it had been on the way, which made for much faster and smoother traveling.

As we passed through the last tollbooth, my phone chimed with a text message from my cousin: “Where are you?”

“Last toll,” I replied as I glanced at the clock: 11:01 PM.

“Sheridan. Get here.” she replied and I cursed; at our current speed we had an hour more, at least.

As soon as we cleared the toll plaza, I switched the four-way flashers on again and stomped the accelerator.

Somewhere between Hurricane and Milton, we found ourselves alone on the highway, flashers flashing and nearing 110 mph, when I noticed headlights in the rearview — gaining on us.

“That has to be a cop,” I said, as my sister turned to look.

“Has to be,” she confirmed.

As the vehicle caught up with us, it slowed to match our speed, then flashed its headlights. I switched from the left-hand to the right-hand lane, thinking maybe they needed to pass, but they only lingered behind us. Then, it occurred to me, “Call the non-emergency number, tell them what’s happening because if he flips on his lights, then he can follow us all the way to the hospital, or take the lead — I am not stopping.”

She dialed the number and explained the situation to a dispatcher; a moment later, the car slowed, leaving us, then made a U-turn and disappeared.

Clear the way, I thought again, let there be no more police officers.

But it wasn’t to be.

As we passed the exit for Barboursville at 105 mph, my headlights flashed across a Cabell County patrol car sitting in the median.

At first, I thought he wasn’t going to give chase, but a moment later I saw the lights, then heard the siren.

“Call the non-emergency number again,” I said, “tell them we’re not stopping.”

And, my — what a scene this was: the officer behind us, lights flashing, siren wailing, in lockstep at 100 mph, while my sister was on the phone with the dispatcher saying, “No, we’re not stopping.”

My knuckles, at this point, were the whitest they had been the entire trip: the cowboy on the ride.

“But, you have to stop.”

“But, we’re not going to.”

“If his lights are on, then you have to stop.”

“No, we don’t.”

“Yes, you do!”

“No, we don’t!”

“But, you have to!

“But, we’re not gonna!

“If you do not stop, someone is going to jail tonight!”

And in that moment I thought of my stepfather, and my mother, and of one way in which I didn’t want the evening to end — meaning if things were to go south, then also bailing me out of jail would be pas bien — so I turned the flashers off and slowed down, pulling onto the berm with our exit in sight, less than a quarter mile away.

As we sat and waited on the officer, which seemed to take an eternity, my sister said, “If he doesn’t hurry it up, I’m walking back there.”

“Considering the current circumstances,” I reasoned, “that’s probably a great way to get shot.”

“Well, we are on our way to the hospital,” she countered, levity always at the ready.

I glanced at the clock: 11:44 PM.

Finally, the officer exited his patrol car, crossed to the passenger side, away from oncoming traffic, and began to cautiously advance, but before he was even past my rear bumper, my sister had the window down and was leaning out, rattling off my stepfather’s curriculum vitae with such speed and precision that I thought she had somehow rehearsed it.

The irony here being that my stepfather was a police officer in Mason County, West Virginia, for 20 years, which is how I knew we could contact the 911 non-emergency number while en route and explain the situation in order to avoid getting pulled over, or, at the very least, buy time and get us closer to our destination. But, by extension, I also knew this officer had every right to arrest me for reckless endangerment and impound my vehicle on the spot.

What my sister said, exactly, I can no longer remember other than she was wildly animated while pleading with an officer of the law for an officer of the law. What I do remember, quite lucidly, though, was how flustered the officer appeared, and his stuttered, staccato response in the finest of Appalachian drawls, “Yeah, I know ’bout your ’mergency, and I’m-a let you go, but–but listen: you can’t be doin’ no hundred miles an hour! Good lord, y’all gonna get somebody kilt!”

Throughout the entirety of this interaction my hands never left the steering wheel, I was simply waiting on the word go.

A moment later the officer shined his flashlight through the rear window, into my eyes, and asked, “You good?”

“I’m good!” I declared.

“You can go.”

And we were gone: 11:48 PM.

Once down the exit and out of sight of the officer, I sped up, but as we were now in Huntington proper, and navigating traffic lights, I kept it at a “manageable” speed.

At 11:58 PM we pulled into the hospital parking lot — a six-hour trip just completed in less than four.

By 12:02 AM, we were in an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) waiting room with friends and family.

At 12:10 AM, an alarm sounded and a voice over an intercom announced, “Code Blue, Code Blue,” as audible gasps and stifled sobs filled the room.

The tragic irony here being that my mother is an RN (Registered Nurse) and this was her hospital, and her ICU, in which she had been on-shift that day and at the time when my stepfather had coded the first time, so she knew exactly what that announcement meant.

A little after 12:30 AM, two nurses and a doctor entered and made their way to my mother — still in her work scrubs.

“I’m sorry, he’s gone,” the doctor said, then, after a moment, added, almost impressed: “We lost him at 12:15 on 12/15.”

“At 12:15 on 12/15,” my mother repeated in a daze as a palpable wave of emotion engulfed the entire waiting room, everyone jarred by the sudden and expected-yet-not-expected revelation.

In that moment, I wasn’t sure how to feel, exactly. I was a jumbled mess. I knew I felt as if I had just ran a marathon, and was still feeling the adrenaline high from the past four hours coursing through my system, yet I was utterly exhausted and nerve-racked, and now I had a lot of questions, starting with: was I the only one currently present that thought this 12:15 on 12/15 business was entirely too coincidental? I mean, what doctor says something like that in that way to the family of the deceased fifteen minutes after they’ve passed?

I had a problem with it as soon as he said it.

I still have a problem with it as I’m typing this now.

By 12:45 AM, my mother, my four siblings, and myself were crowded around my stepfather’s ICU bed.

Ever the filmmaker in my head, I looked at the tears streaming down each of their cheeks and played the movie in my mind of what John had meant to each of them — tracing each tear to the moment it represented. Then, I thought about what he meant to me, and in all of the ways he had been a father when mine was absent, then I looked at my sister and thought, adult though she was, how still terribly young she was to lose her father, then I realized the immense void that had suddenly manifested in our familial network — a void whose presence could never be filled — and then I thought about 12:15 on 12/15. . . .

Several hugs and crys and Are you okays later, and with the realization that there was nothing more we could do, we all parted ways — everyone exhausted and needing rest.

I don’t remember the drive home, but I do remember walking through the door around 3 AM and realizing sleep was impossible, my mind a zoetrope playing the last seven hours on a loop, accented periodically with 12:15 on 12/15. . . .

I paced, I laid down, I paced, I sat at the kitchen table, I paced, I thought about 12:15 on 12/15. . . .

Then, sometime around 5 AM, I suddenly had the dawning realization, “Oh, no—”

“No, no, no, no, no, no,” I mumbled as I scrambled to my home office, and fired up my computer.

“Please don’t let it be—” I said aloud, as the page loaded and informed me: “Congratulations! Your paperback The King in Yellow (Heathen Edition) has been published!”

I looked at the published date: December 15, 2017.

And it echoed: 12:15 on 12/15. . . .

* * *
At some point between John’s death and his funeral, I had the realization: whatever life is supposed to be, I’m not having fun; this isn’t fun anymore.

What’s more, before John, my grandfather — my last living grandparent — had passed in August — on the 15th of all days!

In the span of that four months I lost two of the most important father figures in my life. It was a one-two punch. Two generations of wisdom and guidance, gone. And I lost them when it felt like I needed them most.

That was the climax of a twenty-month period of death after death after death, like dominoes falling one after the other: death of relationship, death of home, death of career, death of business, death of grandfather, death of stepfather, death of any hope I was clinging to of how I had previously envisioned my future playing out. . . .

If, before, I was “cut adrift, but still floating,” now, I was adrift, far out to sea, and sinking — hopeless.

Not surprisingly, I took a step back — from everything — and sank all the way to the ocean floor of my existence.

I had to retreat, disappear, plunge into a hidey-hole and wrap my head around it all. Dissect it, reverse engineer it, study it. What went wrong? When’d it go wrong? Why’d it go wrong?

Death is a great re-evaluator, you know?

Somewhere on that ocean floor, a million miles away from being a book publisher, and another billion miles away from being a filmmaker, I found myself numbly slinging food as a line cook in an Italian restaurant, shoulder to shoulder with illegal immigrants. . . .

And this is where the much deeper meaning of the Heathen name comes into play because when I ultimately arrived at the point where nothing mattered, then the only thing that mattered was my cats.

On those days when I was in the deepest and blackest of holes, staring wide-eyed and unflinchingly into the abyss, the only thing that brought me back from the brink was the realization: Well, if I’m gone, then who’s gonna feed my heathens? Because they’re quite the ravenous bunch — a sometimes caterwauling and carnivorous clowder whose cantankerous clamoring for canned food is consistently confounding: heathens, all!

To be clear: I was never going to step off the brink because that’s not my style, although I most certainly thought about camping out on its threshold for a while, but hungry meows meant abyss-gazing day trips only; hungry meows are what kept me tethered to this reality.

I say hungry, but I’m not sure my cats have ever been hungry.

I joke that they eat better and far more consistently than I do.

But, I know that’s not a joke.

Anyway, the wisdom I extracted from my day trips is that life isn’t always puppy dogs and rainbows — sometimes it’s kitty cats and psychedelics — and sometimes those things can help you actualize meaning — which can impart clarity to help you better understand that, sometimes, when a death occurs, a seed is also planted. And like most sprouting seeds, it takes a while before their stems breech the surface to finally reveal themselves, but given time—

After publishing The King in Yellow on December 15, 2017, we sold 9 copies before the year ended.

In 2018, we only sold 15 copies total. Yes, I think that’s weird.

In 2019, we sold 38.

In 2020, we sold 163.

In 2021, we sold 168.

As I’m typing this, our current count for 2022 is just over 300, and the total lifetime count is exactly 700.

For a book that I really only ever thought we might sell a dozen or so copies of, and mostly only to friends and family, I’m astounded by that number. It’s certainly a far cry from runaway bestseller, but I don’t mind because it’s my sprouting seed, ever-growing to perpetually remind me that from the ashes of our losses new beginnings can forever bloom.

And one of those new beginnings for me is as a book publisher because something happened when that first paperback proof of The King in Yellow (Heathen Edition) landed in my hands for the very first time. Something clicked: like a key in a lock. It was love at first sight. It was a rare moment as a creator where my job satisfaction meter pinged 100% because it was exactly what I wanted it to be, and I was hooked.

Hooked and hopeful, but then came the death dominoes and that hopeless ocean floor, which is why we only released two Heathen Editions in 2018.

Unsurprising, to me, at least, the first of those was The Temptation of Christ, which was part of my exploration for meaning by way of Heathen distraction. Which, I guess, thinking about it now, might be what this whole publishing venture is about. . . .

In 2019, we published three books, all within two weeks of each other: one at the end of March, two at the beginning of April.

In 2020, we published two books, both in July.

In 2021, we published six books: one in January, one in February, and four in May.

And then, near the beginning of this year, I had a realization of what the greater meaning of Heathen is to me, exactly, and why after sudden fits and spurts then long dry spells, why I always circle back at some point and start intensely working on another Edition — because each page that I design, edit, and proof represents, simultaneously, a shovel scoop as I’ve filled that hole I dug myself into and a block in the foundation upon which I’m building anew.

5,000 pages and counting!

So while we haven’t published many books thus far — our 20th was published just last week! — I’m still incredibly proud of each of them. Most people will look at what we currently have to offer and just see books, but to me they’re each a beacon who, along with my cats, have helped guide me out of the blackest of holes.

The other day, after scrutinizing the cover for a Heathen Edition we currently have in production, my brother held up the proof and said, “It’s incredible how a little bit of you is in each one of these.”

And I couldn’t imagine it being any other way.

* * *
I’m sure as you began reading this Heathenry, you likely asked, “Take Two?” It’s another borrow from filmmaking, but let me explain.

Almost a month ago, I decided that since our fifth birthday was fast approaching, and since I hadn’t looked at it in a while, that I would see if I thought our King in Yellow needed updating.

It wasn’t until I opened the original project files that I realized just how much I’ve refined the Heathen process over the past five years. My first exclamation upon seeing the original project as a whole was similar to the realization one has while reading “The Repairer of Reputations”: This is madness!

I decided that not only did it need a refresh, it desperately needed one because even though it had been exactly what I wanted it to be five years ago, it was now missing five years of trial and error and process refinement, so I quickly set about overhauling it with several upgrades — and because those changes were suddenly so many, I also decided, fittingly, that since this was our First Heathen Edition, then, naturally, it made sense that it should also be our first Second Heathen Edition.

And if this is a Second Edition, then it only makes sense in my filmmaker brain that this Heathenry should be “Take Two.”

So, if you own a First Edition, then congratulations! You own one of only 700 copies.

To be clear: this Second Edition is the same as the First Edition, just better.

Let’s step through the changes, starting with this Heathenry.

Over the past five years I’ve had many people complement this book, especially the cover, and every time someone does, I always think: If you only knew the insane true story about the day it was published. Now you know. I do find it wild that the last thing my stepfather left me was one hell of a story to tell — and while it’s not a story that I enjoy telling, it’s one that I surely needed to exorcise in this way. And if you’re curious about the Heathenry that was published in the First Edition, it can be found on our website, which further details the other ways in which Heathen Editions came to exist, sans cats and death.

Next, we’ve added what we’ve titled “Lovecraft on Chambers,” which is an excerpt from H.P. Lovecraft’s seminal 1927 essay Supernatural Horror in Literature, in which Lovecraft briefly discusses the work of Robert W. Chambers, and provides some context for The King in Yellow’s revered place in the pantheon of supernatural fiction.

As for the text, after reading through the book again — cover to cover, twice — we’ve added 83 footnotes in addition to our original 91, for a grand total of 174. Most of those are translations of French terms or phrases that we skipped over in the First Edition, but since our translating skills have vastly improved over the course of twenty books, we decided to tackle them this time around. Additionally, we have revisited and revised some of the First Edition translations.

If you’re new to Heathen Editions, then you’re probably wondering what that thing is at the bottom right of this two-page spread. We call it the “rectometer” and it is the one thing that has evolved the most over the past five years. In the First Edition, I explained: “I absolutely hate fumbling through the pages of a book to figure out where a chapter ends . . . And while I mostly despise eBooks, one thing I actually do like about them is always knowing how many pages are left in a chapter . . . So, we’re trying this ‘new’ thing with our books that denotes in the bottom margin of the rectos1In book anatomy, left-hand pages are called versos and right-hand pages are called rectos. We always remember which is which because recto and right both start with R. on which page the current chapter ends.”

The evolution of this “invention” being that on a chapter’s first page we now denote how many pages are in the chapter so you can quickly gauge whether you want to commit or not.

Once you’ve started a chapter, every recto in the chapter will state on which page the chapter ends so you’ll always know how many pages you have left. In the First Edition, we used capital letters and entire words, but we have since pared it back to simple, lowercase words and abbreviations because we’ve found that less is more. On the next-to-last page of a chapter, we signal that the chapter is ending (as seen below), then it starts all over again with the next chapter.

Since The King in Yellow is a collection of stories with some of those stories separated into parts, we’ve updated the rectometer for this Second Edition to meter the individual parts rather than the story as a whole, which also means that some parts will have a verso or left-hand start rather than a recto. I personally found this to make some of the longer Paris romances far more manageable.

As for the book as a whole, I will say that I have better tuned into some of the narrative subtleties presented in the stories that feature “The King in Yellow” that I completely glossed over during my readings six years ago. I can only attribute my ability to identify those subtleties now because of my days spent on the brink, abyss-gazing.

Perhaps, too, there is an element of life imitating art because it’s not lost on me that my abyss days came only after we published The King in Yellow. Regardless, I certainly feel as if I have a much better understanding of Hildred Castaigne now than I did then. To borrow a line from one of our other Heathen Editions, “Thus, as always, when one understood the lives of men, one came to pity instead of despising.”2King Coal by Upton Sinclair.

I also believe that my initial evaluations of the Paris romances in this book were too harsh. I originally claimed that “The Street of Our Lady of the Fields,” which is the longest of the romances, was “tedious.” Not so now. The harshest criticism I’ll venture to hang on it is “saccharine,” but I honestly don’t consider that a criticism. Having been hopeless, I can now appreciate its hopefulness in a way that I couldn’t before.

And “Rue Barrée” still breaks my heart.

Lastly, if you’re reading this, then I want to thank you.

Everyday, I get up, feed my cats, make a cup of coffee, then check on our book sales — in that order — and add any sales from the previous day into my Heathen spreadsheet. So, if you’re reading this, then that means I’ve already added your purchase to the spreadsheet — and it has given me hope.

More hope.

One book sale may not seem like much, but it’s one more confirmation that my sprouting seed is ever-growing, and I’m not sure any words exist that I could use to express just how much that means to me.

Sincerely: thank you.


Sheridan Cleland


December 15, 2022


P.S. I have had many people ask how they can help us out, beyond simply purchasing books, and one way you can absolutely help is by spreading the word about any of our books by referring to them, specifically, in your reviews or social media posts as the “Heathen Edition.” Some websites, like Amazon, combine reviews for multiple versions of the same title, so, for example, unless you state your review is for “The King in Yellow (Heathen Edition),” specifically, then your review gets lost in the shuffle and no one knows which version you’re reviewing.

And if you post your pictures or reviews to social media, then be sure to tag us! @heatheneditons #heathenedition Thank you! ❤️


You can read the First Edition Preface here: Let Us Preface or: How We Began

The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers (Heathen Edition)