Friday, November 29, 2013

MADHOUSE POEM: Psychiatry for the Lonely

Patient: Lonely
Illness: Heartbreak, Doubt
Treatment: Psychiatry Appointment
Case Number: 173 "Embrace Your Madness"
Residing Nurse: Hysteria

Psychiatry for the Lonely
By Stephanie M. Wytovich

If you didn't have to be invisible,
If you didn't have to hide,
If you were with someone,
Someone who let you
Be you:
Crazy, wonderful,


If you didn’t have to be covered in dust,
If you didn’t have to be covered in cobwebs,
If you were loved by someone,
Someone who understood the
Darkness in
Your soul:
Your sad, scary


If that someone related to the madness
If that someone saw your beauty
And loved the death in your eyes,
If that someone loved
Your faults:
Your addictions, your sickness,
Your slurs,
And shakes.


If you let yourself fall in love
Instead of in suicide,
Instead of in loneliness,
And let that someone      
Save you:
Chaotic, intense,
Blissfully neurotic,
That it's possible to break your restraints
To walk out of solitary
Out of lockdown
And open your heart,
Your broken,
Bleeding, needing
Now tell me,
Tell me how that makes you feel.

Monday, November 11, 2013


**A genre poem mixing Tim Burton/Danny Elfman favorites: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, and Sleepy Hollow.
There’s a Bride in My Hollow Nightmare
by Stephanie M. Wytovich
I hear that Jack is looking for his Sally,
crawling through the pumpkin patch,
a holiday king trapped in a twisted square
of curled cliffs illuminated by Oogie Boogie’s
moon that shines with skeletal grins and
stitched-up smiles.

I hear that Ichabod is looking for his Katrina,
walking through the hollow, his back to the
horseman as he scours the woods with no
fear of the Hessian’s curse as he battles in blood
for the white witch’s affection.

And I hear that Victor is looking of his Emily,
running through the afterlife and drinking
with skeletons as he hums his piano duet
to the remains of his day as he waits for his
dead bride’s kiss.

But is Sally looking for her Jack,
beating against Finklestein’s iron
door with a pile of Frog’s Breath and
Worm’s Wort in her arms to knock the
madman out so she can climb out the tower
and run to her Halloween prince?

And Is Katrina falling for her Ichabod
drawing the evil eye under his bed
and planting spells and curses in his jacket
pocket to protect him from harm, to keep him
safe as he battles his demons and recovers
from his scars?

And is Emily dying for her Victor,
crossing realms and drinking poison
in order to make the man she loves,
the man adores, happy once again while
she drifts towards the sky and spreads her wings
to swallow death’s sweet embrace?

Yes, I think that Jack needs his Sally.
and that Katrina needs her Ichabod,
and when the duet is over, when all the
booze is consumed and the symphony done playing,
I think that Victor needed his Emily and now
I see no nightmares in this Christmas
no corpse brides at this wedding,
and when one love—one skeleton,
one scientist, one innocent—finds their
doomsday match—their doll, their witch,
their bride--I can guarantee that no
one is sleeping in the hollow, and that no
amount of reanimated body parts or twice-dead
vengeances will ever again keep them apart again.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Patient: Stephanie M. Wytovich
Illness: Madness
Treatment Round: 2

Something interesting happened two weeks ago.
Something chaotic.

It was Hysteria.
She went away for a little bit.
But now she's back.
And crazier than ever.

We've been working together on a new project--one that I'm really excited about--but she's different this time around. Last time when we walked through the asylum together, she explained to me what was going on, introduced me to patients, and told me their stories. She was patient, she listened, she let me ask questions. She held open the doors to solitary and helped me relax when the lights began to flicker. But this time...well, this time, she walks--no runs!-- forcing me to chase her, to challenge her, to find her. And sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. There are no lights, no moments of peace. This time it's just energy. Pure, pulsing, electric energy.

So get ready for the shock treatment...

Because I' going to tell you a secret.
This time around,
We're turning the asylum inside out.

So sit patiently in your cells
and trust that we're working,

And in the meantime:
Here's a music video by the band In This Moment, called Adrenalize.
A reader showed it to me the other day (Thank you, Michelle!) and it suits my muse well.
Hysteria loved it.
In fact, she's still screaming about it,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cover Reveal: Wasteland Blues by Scott Christian Carr and Andrew Conry-Murray

Of Mice and Men Meets The Odyssey in a Post-Apocalyptic Future
Having only ever known the uncivilized wake of nuclear and biological apocalypse, three friends and their wheelchair-bound hostage set out on a perilous fool’s mission--to cross from one side of the devastated United States to the other, in the desperate, half-believed hope of finding a rumored haven. 
Spurred by a dark vision and the murder of their father, rageaholic Derek Cane and his over-sized, simple-minded brother, Teddy, flee the only home they've ever known, a struggling shantytown on the edge of the vast Wasteland. Heading ever eastward, they are accompanied by their friend, John, an orphan brought up by a fanatical religious order, and Leggy, a crippled old drunk who brags that, in his youth, he once traversed the Wasteland as a scavenger.
Cover Art by Bradley Sharp Post-Apocalyptic novel  coming from Dog Star Books in March 2014

Saturday, November 2, 2013



To me, being a paranormal investigator is very much like being an actress, and I play the part, dance the dance, and sing the song with my dark muse, Hysteria, as we travel the states in search of new patients to put in our asylum.
And I take my best friend, Crystal Vines, with me as well.
I mean, someone has to hold my hand when the lights go out and things start to move.
Last night, we traveled to Hill View Manor for a 10-hour investigation. Now neither of us like to work with a lot of equipment, but we do carry around flashlights, a tape recorder, and a notebook wherever we go. Crystal usually talks to the spirits and works with the EVPs, while I tend to photograph the building and scribble down poetry and notes for research. In fact, this is how Hysteria started in the first place. She was a collection of scribbles and pictures that I put in my notebook while looking for ghosts, but then she became very much alive...and we've been inseparable ever since.
Which is kind of funny because it's the same situation with me and Crystal. We originally became friends after investigating Moundsville Prison together and since that night, we've been attached at the hip, looking for ghosts and going on adventures. And the best part about our friendship, is that there's no denying that when the two of us are together that things start to happen. Things that don't always make sense.
Kind of like last night.
Neither of us had a good feeling about the basement, but yet we spent a lot of time there, sitting in a completely pitch-black room that was used as overflow for the patient’s belongings when they died. It was filled with suitcases, photographs, clothing, old mattresses, stretchers, doctor notes, sheet music…you name it. We each found a chair, sat down and took a couple deep breaths. Then we turned off the lights.
10,000 + people died in Hill View Manor.
They were embalmed within the building and buried in the cemetery out back, sometimes 3-4 bodies deep. These people—these patients—had nowhere to go but Hill View for they were mentally unstable, in critical care, or homeless. And they were standing all around me, and all around Crystal, in that room.
You see, the funny thing about darkness is that once you adjust to it, it’s its own kind of light. You can still see, and what you see is a different kind of blackness. Shadows moved in front of me, Crystal had a conversation with a male patient who communicated with us through a series of knocks and flashes of light, and then when the activity started to still, we went next door to the boiler room, where we met George.
Now George used to be a maintenance worker at the manor, and his blood runs black and gold for the Steelers. Sounds great right? For me, yeah. I'm a Steeler fan. For Crystal, not so much. You see, Crystal is from Louisiana and a die-hard Saints fan. George did not like that.  Was definitely not a fan. We chatted him up for a little bit, walking in and out of the boiler room, before we simply stopped and listened for about 15-20 minutes.
Everything was quiet for a while, but then George started to come around again.
I invited him to sit next to me, and within moments, something brushed my hand. I jumped and went to motion for Crystal to take a picture but couldn’t see her. Something tall, and something very black, stood in front of me, blocking my vision of her for about 5-10 seconds before it disappeared. My jaw about hit the ground and Crystal started to laugh.
Yes, she laughs at the activity.
I scream.
Crystal has been investigating since 2006 and she said that in that short amount of time when we invited George to come out and sit with us, that she’s never experienced a cold spot as intense as what we felt. A breeze blew down the hallway--enough to move my hair--and something touched her hand as well.
Can I prove any of that to you? No. And I can’t because the second I tried to take a picture of the black mass that stood in front of Crystal, my phone shut off (it was 53% when we walked down there).
The rest of the building was pretty quiet that night but the two of us still roamed the church, the embalming room, the graveyard, and the patient’s rooms. We sang “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” to one patient, took a nap in the family room, and then walked down a disturbingly-wonderful hallway where a little boy’s spirit remains. As neither of us are big fans of ghost children, we decided to leave him and his toys behind.
But why Stephanie? Why would you not play with the ghost boy?

Well, he was dubbed the Angel of Death, only appearing to patient’s days before they passed away. The patients would rant and rave about a little boy that would come visit them in their rooms, and frankly people, I don't need any more nightmares.

I already have Hysteria.
Cut me a break.

Overall, as a fan of haunts and abandoned buildings—especially hospitals—I was very impressed and loved the feel of the place. The building itself was beautiful, and the rooms and curtains that surrounded the beds, were pure magic for a horror writer. There were several times where I even stopped before going into a room full of white, moth-eaten curtains and thought, Stephanie….this is why people die in horror movies. You yell at them when they walk in these places, remember? And then I naturally put on my brave face and went in.
Because when you investigate, you act.
You become someone that’s not afraid to push through barriers and try to find answers.
You become someone that is daring, courageous and willing to take a risk.
It’s a performance.
And probably my favorite one to act out.
***Interested in meeting Hysteria for yourself? Find her here!


Who should be given a second chance at life? 
Decades in the future Corpus Chrome, Inc. develops a robotic body, dubbed a “mannequin,” that can revive, sustain and interface with a cryonically-preserved human brain. Like all new technology, it is copyrighted.
Hidden behind lawyers and a chrome facade, the inscrutable organization resurrects a variety of notable minds, pulling the deceased back from oblivion into a world of animated sculpture, foam rubber cars, dissolving waste and strange terrorism. Nobody knows how Corpus Chrome, Inc. determines which individuals should be given a second life, yet myriad people are affected. Among them are Lisanne Breutschen, the composer who invented sequentialism with her twin sister, and Champ Sappline, a garbage man who is entangled in a war between the third, fourth and fifth floors of a New York City apartment building.
In the Spring of 2058, Corpus Chrome, Inc. announces that they will revive Derek W.R. Dulande—a serial rapist and murderer who was executed thirty years ago for his crimes. The public is horrified by the decision, and before long, the company’s right to control the lone revolving door between life and death will be violently challenged….
Corpus Chrome, Inc by S. Craig Zahler
Cover Art by Bradley Sharp
Cyberpunk/Transhumanism novel  coming from Dog Star Books in January 2014
What They’re Saying About S. Craig Zahler

“Zahler’s a fabulous story teller whose style catapults his reader into the turn of the century West with a ferocious sense of authenticity.”
—Kurt Russell, star of Tombstone, Escape from New York, Dark Blue, and Death Proof

“If you’re looking for something similar to what you’ve read before, this ain’t it. If you want something comforting and predictable, this damn sure ain’t it.  But if you want something with storytelling guts and a weird point of view, an unforgettable voice, then you want what I want, and that is this.” —Joe R. Lansdale author of Edge of Dark Water