Friday, September 27, 2013

The Devil is in the Madhouse with Six Dead Boys

Patient: @JustAfterSunset
Illness: 666 Twitter Followers

Today the Devil made his way into the Madhouse with 666 followers trailing behind him. So in celebration of all things wrong, scary, and unholy, I wrote you guys a poem to celebrate one of my biggest fears: numbers.

Ugh. I've always hated math!

Stay Scared,
Stephanie M. Wytovich

Six Dead Boys

Six boys got in a fight
and shot each other dead,
so the Devil sent them to Heaven
for a time out.
God made them pray,
made them ask for forgiveness.
and after hours of saying rosaries,
after days of fulfilling contrition
those six dead boys never killed each other again.

Thursday, September 26, 2013



We're very excited to announce that Stephen M. Wilson's collection of poetry Kicking Against the Pricks is going to be available for pre-order this Thursday, September 26 from RAW DOG SCREAMING PRESS. Here is a sneak preview of what's to come...


Stephen M. Wilson was Poetry Editor for Abyss & Apex Magazine of Speculative Fiction and also edited the spec poetry Twitterzine microcosms (@microcosms) and San Joaquin Delta College’s literary magazine Artifact. Wilson spent 3+ years as Poetry Editor for Doorways Magazine and co editor of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s annual Dwarf Stars Award anthology. He’s had several poems nominated for the Rhysling Award and a handful for the Dwarf Stars Award (including a win in 2011). His first book Dark Duet, a collaboration with multi-Bram Stoker Award winner Linda D. Addison, is available from Necon E-Books. Wilson lived in Stockton, CA with his partner and two dogs. More at:


Cover Art by Steven Archer,
First century tillers used oxen to help them plow the land, and when the animal slowed or refused their commands, the tiller would use a prick to jab the animal and regain control. Sometimes the oxen would rebel and kick against the prick, and as a result, get stabbed even harder. It was a lesson of cause and consequence, of insurgence, of anarchy, both against their owners, and against God. Wilson takes this concept of rebellion and weaves it throughout his writing in such a way that his characters know how it feels to be both the tiller and the ox. His verse is sharp like a pointed spike, and his style awakens reader to the gray area in the black and white world of right and wrong, good and bad.
Wilson writes without fear and doesn’t shirk from the emotions that surface when he digs deeper, doesn’t hide from the shadows that creep in when he tills harder. The pieces in Kicking Against the Pricks bring an understanding to pain, suffering, and what it means to be conflicted. Wilson brilliantly shines the light on the darkness that hides within us all and envelopes his readers in a raw, emotional, and beautiful journey as noted in Stoker Award winner Linda D. Addison’s insightful introduction.


In Memory of Stephen M. Wilson

When I became a part of the RDSP family last year, my first job as Poetry Editor was to get in touch with Stephen Wilson about a manuscript that he had recently submitted to us. I was very excited to have the opportunity to work with Stephen, for I had recently read his collaborative work with Linda D. Addison, Dark Duet, and was blown away. I couldn’t get the email out fast enough.

The more Stephen and I talked about the collection, the more I realized that he was just as beautiful as the poems he wrote. Despite his illness, he was always upbeat, excited, and working with me on edits, artwork, and ideas. We talked about style, theme, and most importantly, what the collection meant to him: it was a way to handle, to fight, and to accept the darkness. And he did all of that through making good art.

Stephen was so passionate about this project, and his drive and excitement made working with him a true blessing. He found a way to showcase the light, no matter how dim or brief in its passing, and he did that through poetry.

And it’s that drive, that power, that transformation that defines the craft. It’s about battling demons, both real and imaginary, and finding beauty in the good, and in the bad. Poetry isn’t something that is just read. It’s something that’s felt, something that’s experienced. When you read good poetry, it’s almost like falling in love because it stays with you. It changes you.

So I invite you, as an editor, a poet, and a fan, to pick up Stephen M. Wilson’s collection, Kicking Against the Pricks. It’s a little slice of heaven, a little slice of hell, and everything in between that is all light, dark, and beautiful.

--Stephanie M. Wytovich


Sunday, September 8, 2013


Patient: Stephanie M. Wytovich
Illness: Poet
Treatment: More poetry

When I gave my teaching presentation at Seton Hill this past residency, I told everyone that before I sat down to work on my novel, that I wrote a poem, whether it be about the character, the scene, the emotion, or the theme I was dealing with. I also told everyone that I had a very difficult time writing this novel, both physically and emotionally. So much in fact, that I stopped at one point and burned everything that I had.  I didn’t want to go deeper. I didn’t want to actually see the Hell I’d created. It scared me, and the memories that it brought back gave me nightmares. I was falling into a pit that I couldn’t climb out of, and I couldn’t shake the blackness, couldn’t get rid of the darkness that the story brought back into my life.

But I kept writing poetry, kept exploring metaphors. I knew I had something, I just didn’t know what that something was, or if I even wanted to find it anymore. And so I wrote. And I wrote. And then I went to New Orleans for the World Horror Convention where I didn't write at all.

And if felt good not to write.
To just turn off everything in my head.

Then, one night when a group of us were at The Dungeon, we started talking about poetry. I talked about how I wrote/write a poem a day, and someone—I can’t remember who—jokingly asked if I’d written anything that day, and I hadn’t. So he/she told me to write something right then and there. No pressure right? I looked around for something to write about, and I saw the giant mixer for the drinks we were all having—Keys. They were orange, frozen, and the container they came in said "The Key to the Chastity Belt."

So I wrote about keys:

“There are keys to souls and souls to keys
and they are beautiful and eternal,
sweeping past life and opening locks.”

Yeah, I know. It’s awful. But I took a picture of the container, put the poem in my phone and didn’t look at it until about a month ago. And then everything clicked. That poem, that stupid little verse that I wrote at 3 a.m. as a joke while I drank in a dungeon, damn near saved my novel, and probably my sanity. On the surface level, I’m not even sure what that poem means or what it meant at that point, but when I looked at it later, when I thought about keys, and souls, and locks, and dungeons…I realized something very important about my book, and about its ending. There was a door there, and I needed to not be afraid to open it. I needed to find the key and unlock it.
So I did, and I found something orange.
Something frozen.
Something that very well might be a key to a chastity belt.
And I have a poetry dare to thank for that.