Wednesday, June 26, 2013


June 26, 2013
Ward C
She comes to me at night,
Her hands around my neck
Tell my story...
Asylums once used to confine those deemed mentally unfit linger, forgotten behind trees or urban development, beautiful yet desolate in their decay. Within them festers something far more unnerving than unlit corners or unexplained noises: the case files left to moulder out of sight, out of conscience. Stephanie M. Wytovich forces your hands upon these crumbling, warped binders and exposes your mind to every taboo misfortune experienced by the outcast, exiled, misbegotten monsters and victims who have walked among us. The poetry contained in Hysteria performs internal body modification on its readers in an unrelenting fashion, employing broad-spectrum brutality treatment that spans the physical to the societal, as noted in Stoker Award winner Michael A. Arnzen's incisive introduction.
COVER ART: Steven Archer

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


When did you start creating?
Oh geez... a long time ago, in a trailer far, far, away. I drew as a kid; monsters, hot rods, band logos, etc. It wasn't until I exhausted all of what my school had to offer for drafting/architecture that I took my first 'real' art class. 9th grade, I believe.
Why did you pick the genre/style you work in?
It's the physical manifestation of my Id. My head is filled with nonsense... a crock-pot of all the shit I immerse myself and expose myself to. It's a weird perpetual taffy making device. Fantasy and horror is such an escapism from the mundane life I live; it's very routine and safe. So when I paint, I get to freak out in way... get scary!
Did you go to school for it?

Yeah, sort of. I shouldn't be able to count going to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with its reputable... um, infamous reputation. Thankfully, I graduated years ago... back in '93. It all started when one of their reps came to my high school senior year. I was a precocious youth; I was in the art room 6 periods of the day. I was often used by the teacher as an example to the other students... mostly of what not to was my love of the 6 hair brush and horror subject matter. I was exposed to many mediums, but painting was what I settled on. I had aspirations of going to Pratt or Parsons in NYC, but those were scary and very expensive options. AIP swooped in at just the right time; my vulnerable and naïve self was putty in their hands. During my days at AIP, I learned how to apply my budding painting abilities, how to do typography, and how the new technology was going to negate my education at this trade school. Enter the age of computers!
In the end, I'm really a self taught painter. Every now and then though, I do take advice and pick-up tips from fellow painters who, I think, are far more skilled than I am.
Where do you get your ideas from?
My mom tells me what to paint. Hahahahaha. I used that line recently at a convention. I get my ideas from where most creators get theirs, out of thin air, right? Sure, there's some from dreams, or seeing something striking, or word association. I'm always thinking of stuff, percolating, and evolving ideas. At any given moment I can give you ten ideas that are on my mind. It makes me a bit scatter brained at times.
Do you journal, sketch, photograph at all to start?
Absolutely! I got a stack of sketchbooks filled full of failed (mostly) drawings and thoughts. Some ideas warrant more drawings than others. And if the idea needs photo reference to help aid in a stronger painting, I'll take one... or a hundred.
What’s a normal designing day like for you?
An unhealthy dose of procrastination. Then, a period of contemplation and scrutiny. After all that, it's time to work! Some days, one phase takes more precedence over the other. Currently, I reluctantly share my day with a demanding day job. That means if that doesn't wipe me out completely, I just might be able to attempt my 3-step process.
Do you tend to get more done at one time versus another?
Nights and weekends. Especially when I should be sleeping. Oh, and also when I'm in a healthy relationship. I like a good muse. Not necessary for their angelic beauty, but mostly for their support and a peace of mind they give me; soothing the savage beast.
Favorite artist or designer?
Many, many, many! I love talent... style, flare, attitude! Drew Struzan, Michael Whelan, Alphonse Mucha, Simon Bisley, Travis Charest, Gustave Doré, Jae Lee, Dave Dorman, Tyler Stout, Tim Vigil, Geoff Darrow, Jason Edmiston, Pushead, Brom, Mike Mignola.
Who are you currently following?
Other than the artists listed above, I love movies! All types. Mostly films by; John Carpenter, Terry Gilliam, David Fincher, Tim Burton, and Ridley Scott. 
Books! Reading books are another compelling media I enjoy; Max Brooks, William Gibson, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Bradbury, Vonnegut, Lovecraft, and Neil Gaiman.
Do you prefer working in one medium over another?
Indeed! Acrylics! It's been my medium of choice ever since I received a $50 scholarship from the Golden Acrylics Co. for HS graduation. Funny enough, this prestigious brand of acrylics has its factory in the next town over from where I lived. A $50 scholarship was doubled when you shop in the factory. I was set for a few years! Back then, you couldn't find their paint except for a select few retailers and mail order. Nowadays, you can find their paint in just about every art and craft store.
Do you work in silence or with noise?

Noise, for sure! My music library is set on random play... I don't let the music dictate my mood when I create like most artists do. There's a hefty amount of Industrial, Hair band Metal, Alternative, New Wave, Soundtracks, and Instrumental. I'll skip a track or two if it severely derails my mojo. That power is in my control!!!
Do you have any weird habits when it comes to working on your art?
Pantless! Don't look at me like that. Nobody's home. I'll dress... undress how I see fit!
What do you think is the hardest aspect of the craft?
For me... quality. I have a few friends that I have to get their input from. Sometimes, great ideas and executions don't play out as I planed. I spend a lot of time on a painting, so it's nice to have a few extra set of eyes have a look-see... course correct me, in a sense. Can't see the forest for the trees, the saying goes. My friends can't be all, "yeah, looks good" either. They need to be critical... positive or negative.
Current projects?
I've spent the first 6 months of this year on commissions. 3 book covers and 2 album covers. All to be soon released sometime later this year, I hope. I've had no time to work on personal projects. I have a list that are demanding my time as soon as my last gig is up. Prior to this year, I've had only a couple commissions a year. It was last year's Creature Feature painting that attracted some new clients. I guess I can't complain too much about paying projects and the exposure they'll offer.
How do you balance work with art?
First of all, art shouldn't feel like work. Do it because it's fun. Zen, almost. It really is! It's when you start to apply structure and reward that it turns into work.
Secondly, it's work (the day job) that fuels me to be a better and successful artist... shoot for the stars. I'd love to do my art full-time, but I often wonder if I'll have the motivation to continue to escape orbit. That drive won't be there. Perhaps my humble aspirations will be replaced by a growing ego. I don't know, I hope not. We'll see. I'm sure some other catalyst will present itself.

What do you think people expect from you with your art?
For clients... meeting deadlines and a satisfaction of knowing they hired the right guy for their project. For my personal projects, I do them for myself. Some pieces speak more clearly to people than others. I experience this at conventions all the time. Some of my earlier painting were completely ignored. It happens. Not every painting is going to be a masterpiece.
Advice for aspiring artists or designers?
Take off the blinders. Allow the world to influence you. Be your own person. Question everything. Draw like there's no tomorrow. Don't take my job or make it obsolete!

Steel City Con (Pittsburgh) July 26-28
Horror Hound (Indianapolis) September 6-8
Illuxcon (Allentown) September 14
Horror Realm (Pittsburgh) September 20-22

BIO: Byron, a Pittsburgh PA native, is a dedicated freelance fantasy and horror illustrator who has worked alongside the comic book industry over the years. His amazingly detail-rich paintings offer a little something for everyone. He paints popular culture imagery from memorable movies like; Star Wars, Resident Evil, and Beetlejuice to name a few, as well as mind-blowing original concepts. He has worked for CALIBER COMICS, the industrial band REIN[FORCED], and authors HEIDI RUBY MILLER and SUSAN K. DRONEY. In 2013, Byron will have works released by MOONSTONE BOOKS and POST MORTEM PRESS.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Patient: Stephanie M. Wytovich
Treatment: World Horror Convention 2013

Voodoo, Vampires, and Bourbon Street.

New Orleans was quite the experience.

It was my first time in the city, and to say that it was my last would be a lie.  I fully intend to visit again, if not for the history, but for the air. New Orleans is definitely thick with inspiration. And jazz, which I love. If there is one aspect of life that speaks more to me than writing, it's music, and in New Orleans, that's never in short supply.

So I danced, I drank (highly recommend the Hemingway Daiquiris) and I met wonderful new people that have enriched my life in more ways than one. I listened to vampire stories, watched a Voodoo ritual performed right in front of my face, ate fried oysters and shared conversations and experiences with old friends that I won't soon be able to forget. I fell in love with a dress shop (Trashy Diva) and I'll probably have to sell a kidney or two to pay for my purchases there, but sometimes dresses happen, and sometimes a girl just has to say yes to them. You only live once after all. Might as well be stylish.

I think I learned more on this trip than any other that I've ever been on, and not just about writing. About life. Turns out my friends are insanely wise, and just when I think I have something figured out, life throws me a curveball, and I'm back in the madhouse. Which is good, because let's face it. That's where I belong! And that's why I'm a writer.

So I talked poetry, I drank some more, and I asked questions about the business. I sat along the Mississippi River, laughed a lot in a dungeon, rode in a street car for the first time, and then almost missed my flight back home because I was reading a book and lost track of time. I barely slept, consumed coffee to a (probably) lethal degree, got a GIANT bruise after scaling a wall to take a picture, and left with a wonderful collection of signed novels.

I'm learning that the key--another drink that I'd recommend, by the way--to being a writer is actually quite simple. Sure you have to write, and read, and submit, but you also have to live. You have to travel, and meet people, and have conversations, and dammit, you have to live. Because then when you tell a story, you'll glow. Not literally (unless you've had one too many hand grenades) but you'll shine, baby. And that is what writing is about. Emotion.

So play with Voodoo, and hang out with vampires.
Listen to too much jazz, and spend too much money on stuff you'll probably never use.
Go to panels and ask questions.
Talk to people that you admire, and tell them why you admire them.

Just promise me... you'll live.

Stay Scared,
Stephanie M. Wytovich

Monday, June 10, 2013



When did you start writing? Why did you pick the genre you write it?

I got my official start when I was 13 or 14 (maybe 15?). NKoTB were young and huge. Am I giving away my age here? At any rate, my sister was a big fan (admittedly, I didn’t hate them) and when I say big fan, take that to mean she’d chew their day-old Bubble Yum if given half a chance. She pissed me off one day and so I killed them. All of them. In gruesome, disgusting ways via werewolves, zombies, vampires, bombs, witches, and whatever; I don’t remember all the details, other than it took so and so many spiral notebooks, each page painstakingly handwritten, front and back. So yeah, for you n00bs out there, this is waaaaaaaaay back before computers were iMpersonal and in the palm of your hand. This was back before computers were even really a thing in most homes. I don’t think we got our first computer for another couple of years and it was tucked away in the master bedroom. Where my parents slept.

And did other things.

I kind of stayed away from the machine at first, not because the thought of my parents screwing bothered me (I knew where I came from... wait, was that a bad pun?) but rather I just didn’t get along with them at the time and so stayed as far as away as possible.

I chose the speculative fiction genre because it’s what I grew up reading and watching and loving. All manner of spec fic ranging from King, McCammon, Wilson, Bradbury, Koontz, to Orwell, Twain, Chesbro, Matheson, anything D&D related, and Crichton. I watched a bevy of horror movies; my mother pulled me out of bed when I was 11 to watch the original Nightmare on Elm Street movie with her. She was scared and I suppose having an eleven-year-old, someone who couldn’t punch himself out of a bag at the time, made her feel safe. Personally, I just think she woke me up in case Freddy tried dragging her across the ceiling, she could offer me up instead. I’m also a giant fan of Disney cartoons and watched many, many growing up. And sure, a lot of them are mostly anthropomorphic, but there’s also quite a few fairy tales/magic realism thrown in for good measure.
So there’s all that and the small matter of loving to show the ordinary through the extraordinary. It’s like exaggerating your point, but not really, and people seem to get said point a lot quicker.
For example, I can write a human monster and people might call him an anti-hero, but if I write a human who turns into a werewolf, who’s also an asshole but does the same things as the regular human, the werewolf isn’t as redeemable. He’s suddenly a monster in all senses of the word.
Where you get your ideas from? Do you journal at all?
I’m like an open trash bin where stuff keeps getting jammed in. In other words, my ideas come from everything and everywhere. I don’t limit myself nor do I want to. I’ve taken ideas from song lyrics, pictures, the news, things my kids have said, my job, my personal experiences... really, the list is endless.

I do not journal, but I blog. Half-assedly. I enjoy the blogging and throwing out opinions, thoughts, lies, what have you, but my time is better utilized writing fiction than interacting with the four people who visit my blog/website on a weekly basis. And considering three of them are family, I can always text; it’s quicker.

What’s a normal (writing) day like for you?

A normal writing day consists of waking up at around 4:30 am with coffee and then going to my corporate job for 10 hours, where I’m browbeaten, underappreciated, though not underpaid. After that, it’s quasi-family time. Homework with the kids, dinner, various (and sometimes necessary) other activities like shopping or school functions. I might also read, play video games, or take a nap if I can get away with it. Once the kids go to bed, which is around 8:30, I put my butt in a chair, drag out the laptop, and I’ll either write or edit until I can’t see straight anymore. Sometimes that’s as early at 10:30, sometimes it’s around midnight. As a matter of fact, it’s around 9 as I type this.

Favorite author or book? Who are you currently reading?

SO HARD! But if I have to choose just one, it’s Stephen King. Like him, love him, or hate him, it doesn’t matter. The man is scary smart when it comes to crafting poignant stories and relatable characters. Truth be told, I haven’t read much of his work after Gerald’s Game. I couldn’t get through that book (it came out when I was a senior in high school and that’s when I last tried to read it), but it doesn’t diminish the affection I have for some of his earlier works. I have read The Cell and Bag of Bones, a couple of his short story collections.

My favorite book, which I’m mentioning separately, as it’s not a Stephen King book, is Beasts of Valhalla by George Chesbro. It’s the fourth book in the Mongo Mystery series and it’s just a roller coaster ride of science fiction, horror, mystery, thriller, and humor. Just a great, great book. A close second, a book I read every year along with Beasts, is They Thirst by Robert McCammon.
I’m currently reading more books than I have hands. They are, in no particular order: The Hunt by Joseph Williams, The Talisman by King& Straub, and Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

Do you prefer writing poetry or prose? Why one over the other?

I prefer prose. When I was younger, poetry always seemed somewhat pretentious. The people in high school who wrote poetry were cliquish, very haute couture, if you will. If you didn’t fit their mold, you weren’t taking seriously. It’s not a fair assessment of poetry itself, basing it on the poets I knew growing up, and I have a much fonder appreciation for the form, but my earlier resentment still exists.

Do you write in silence or with noise (TV, movies, music)?

I write in silence brought on by white noise in the form of music. The music tends to be bands I’m very familiar with (Metallica, KISS, Van Halen, Van Hagar) so that it’s tuned right on out of my brain. I know the lyrics, the music, so I’m not concentrating on it, or singing along, things like that. It’s comfortable and non-distracting, but it drowns out all the excess noise around me. I don’t hear if the kids are getting up out of bed, or if someone’s knocking at the door. I usually can’t even hear my phone ringing right next to me. I can’t write with the television on, simply because if I’m watching television, it’s something I want to see and I’ll pay attention.

Do you have any weird habits when it comes to writing? Do you type or write longhand?

No, I’m a vanilla-writing-habit kind of writer... okay, so that was convoluted, so I’ll just say no, I have no weird habits. I sit down, put my headphones in, and type. I outline like a fiend, which I get into more with the next question, but that’s about it. I write longhand if I’m having trouble pushing forward or starting a story (a few pages, maybe a dozen at the most), but I’ll eventually switch back to the computer.

There’s something about writing longhand that frees my mind, lets me write without reservation and get past those parts I struggle with. Hazarding a guess and psychoanalyzing myself, I’d say it’s because writing on paper is sloppy as hell (handwritten, eraser marks, scratch outs, all junking up the prose) and in my head, I know it’s okay to just write down whatever I want in that mess, which is in direct contrast to the white, pristine pages of Microsuck Word. Sometimes, I just need to know it’s perfectly acceptable to shovel shit from a sitting position (thank you for that quote, Mr. King!) Hopefully, that makes sense. It’s a free diagnosis, so if it doesn’t, fuck it, right?

Would you consider yourself a Plotter or a Pancer?

It depends on the length. I’m an “over” plotter when it comes to my novels. My outlines run in the double digits page wise. I have scene outlines, dialogue outlines, character outlines. I draw maps, timelines; I go all out.

Short fiction is usually pantsed, based on a thought, an image, or a scrap of dialogue between characters. I just run with it and build around that central piece.
What do you think is the hardest aspect of the craft?

The hardest part is writing that first draft, which is really a matter of turning off the “inner editor” and just writing. Most everything else can be fixed in revision and editing, but if you don’t get to that stage, the game is over.

Beyond that, not letting the characters dictate the entire story. They have a tendency to run away with the narrative and while I grant them some creative license, there comes a time to rein them in and be the parental unit.

Current projects?

There’s a few current projects. Let me count them off...

I have two planned trilogies in the works. I’m currently ass-deep in the first book of both. One is about halfway through the first draft and the other is halfway through the revision process. One deals with a vampire apocalypse and the other isn’t fully formed just yet, so I won’t comment.
Along with those two novel sets, I’m revising a YA fantasy novel of about 75k words.

Then there are the short stories, which I’ve woefully neglected the last few months. There are a handful in various stages of completion, including two that have just titles and themes.

How do you balance being an editor and being a writer?

I’m not really sure it’s a balancing thing at all; it’s a commitment that I’ve made, not much different from getting married or agreeing to have kids (and then having a couple). Writing is a part of my life and it doesn’t get shucked any more or any less than any other part of it.

Like I answered in the “normal writing day” question, I have a time I’ve set aside to write (or do writing related activities, such as this interview). There’s very little that messes with that particular writing time.

On the weekends, I’ll miss going to the zoo with my kids in favor of attending a convention, such as Context in Columbus, Ohio. I go to a writing group every other Saturday and I skip going to my local Farmer’s Market (best organic cheese ever) on those days, or seeing my kids play at the park, or my son and daughter-in-law visiting. I tell my kids I’m working and they accept that. At the same time, if my wife has a cake to deliver (she does cakes and cupcakes, etc), I’ll skip writing and help her. So if something important comes up, I don’t write. I missed a writing group meeting in early May to attend my stepson’s college graduation. Both my kids were born in November, which is NaNoWriMo month for some novelists out there. I use NaNo as an excuse to leave the house nearly every day and write, except for those birthdays. Instead, I’m at the parties, smiling, having a blast and not worrying about word count.

When I sit down at the laptop, my toddler asks me, “Daddy, are you working?” I’ve ingrained writing into my life and the people around me know that.

It’s my opinion that if you have to balance your life to make time for your writing, you’re not as devoted as you could be. And I hope no one takes that as a “fuck you” because it’s not intended that way. Each person has to decide how important writing is to him or her and that’s on the individual. No judgment, but in my world, either you write or you don’t.
What do you think people expect from you with your writing? EX: Can they always count on a good gross out?

I hope that they expect a well-crafted, entertaining read that makes them think about some aspect of the world we live in. Other than that, I hope they never know what to expect. I want to continually redefine myself as a writer, be prolific in regards to genre and style, and appeal to a wide range of people. Or everyone, you know.

The only odd thing I’ve noticed (as have a few others who’ve read even my unpublished work) is that my short stories lean much more toward horror while my novels are much more urban fantasy-ish.

Advice for aspiring writers?

It’s cliché, I’m sure, to hear something so similar to things every writer says, but the best advice I’ve received: read critically and write desperately.

Reading and writing (language, in general) is something we’re all taught in school, and like any skill you possess, practice makes you better. It’s a lot harder to learn how to draw because it’s not something you must be able to do in order to survive, but you need to be able to read and write to do just about everything life throws at you. So read everything critically—tear it apart, look for the underlying themes and messages, the word choices—and each time you write, do so desperately, as if it’s the last thing you’ll ever get to do. Treat what you’re putting on that paper as the most important thing you’ve ever had to say in this life.

Bio: C. Bryan Brown was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and the surrounding counties in a middle class family by mostly loving parents (regardless of the famed “Plunger” incident at the age of 17). He no longer lives in Missouri, is married with children, and isn't looking forward to dying. You can find him all over the interwebz, but he questions anyone who does.
His first novel, Necromancer, was released last year by Post Mortem Press ( Most recently he's had short stories appear in the anthologies "Fear the Abyss" and "For When the Veil Drops," both of which are available via Amazon. In fact, you can find all his published work at his author page, located here:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013



Coming June 2013 from Raw Dog Screaming Press

Preston and Katy face a new darkness....

Sometimes a battle between good and evil doesn't look much like the ones they show in movies. The good guys don't always wear white, and they don’t always walk away with the win. 

And sometimes you're better off with the devil you know.

The last time Preston went down to the crossroads, his best friend died and he nearly lost his brother. But Old Scratch doesn't take kindly to fools, especially not those who come knocking at his front door. And before all is said and done, he's going to teach Preston a thing or two about what it really means to sacrifice.

Read the first 100 pages of The Revelations of Preston Black -

Pre-order The Revelations of Preston Black at Raw Dog Screaming Press -

Raw Dog Screaming Press –

Sunday, June 2, 2013



When did you start creating? Why did you pick the genre/style you work it?

My Life's narrative is the force of motion in any creative project I tinker with. Some are more successful than others. Currently, I just finished my first novel, "The Widow's Game, Another Amazing Adventure of Maddie Holliday Von Stark, which is in second draft status with my very mysterious mentor and his team on the West Coast.  As you know, I am a living breathing ghost of America's fine North. As for my current visual paintings of various shades of "creep," for The Wicked Library, the stories are my portraying inspire to them. Again, I am very much an artist driven my narratives.

Did you go to school for it? If so, where and what did you study?

I have a BFA in Graphic Design from Montana State University. Also, a BA in Graphic Art Education k-12.  And one M.ed Communications Technology [degree] that was finished when I was really sick in the long aftermath of a tumor I had removed from under my brain...I am not sure I retained any of that book learning! I am probably, technically a bit off my marbles.

Where do you get your ideas from? Do you journal, sketch, photograph at all to start?

I replaced my sketchpad with an iPad years ago.

What's a normal designing day like for you? Do you tend to get more down at one time versus another?

I have a day job as a web coder for a very large local business. I live in the world of time and deadlines. Which is frightening when you kill around twenty watches a year on average. This is not including computers, cell phones, and remote controls. I have a pocket watch which has yet to disappoint me.

Favorite artist or designer? Who are you currently following?

I follow and support the local INDY horror writers/artist community. We are badass. I hope one of us makes it big as a badass party akin to Sturgis...and go down in history.

Do you prefer working in one medium over another? If so, which one and why?

A medium is a medium.  You could give me a stick and I could make something out of it.

Do you work in silence or with noise? (TV, movies, music)

MUSIC ON EXTRA LOUD, ALWAYS. And if you don't have any music hand, you can rock out to the beat of your own heart.

Do you have any weird habits when it comes to working on your art?

Nah! My best work is when I am in a fit of insomnia madness. I make a good ghost some nights on the streets of my town. I love chasing the "Soo" line train on my dawn breaking bike rides.

Would you consider yourself a Plotter or a Pantser?

I don't plot or pants. I live. God cares little for your plans and the devil only marvels at the wasted time in details. You just got to live it. Make it. WORK HARD.

What do you think is the hardest aspect of the craft?

I am hoping one day I can live in a house in the woods and do nothing but make art and write books, solve mysteries, drink whiskey, drink beer and sit in front of the fireplace with my dog, Mr. Wu.

Current projects?

I am the resident artist for The Wicked Library.

I am in the final throes of edits on my first book in a trilogy, called "The Widow's Game, Another Amazing Adventure of Maddie Holliday Von Stark.  I will have an actual press release sometime in July.

What do you think people expect from you with your art?

Well, I imagine that it is something they have never seen before?

Advice for aspiring artists or designers?


BIO: Maddie Holliday Von Stark
Marshfield, Wisconsin

Someday you will read my story...
I have the ashes of so many experiences on
my shoes.
The reaping and the wailing,
the surrender of troops
the sonic booms!
Hung heads,
and praying hands.

find myself shivering
In the shower shine
of hospitals,
and remake rooms.
Wondering when and what will break me?
and what will they make me,

I am a girl on fire.
A blow torch kid.
A phoenix adult,
the "Hey Jupiter" wind.
I am Doc Holliday,
the northern Sun,
the black edge of the thunder
a misfit on the run