Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Getting Poetic in Portland: World Horror Convention 2014

World Horror Convention 2014.

Portland, Oregon.

Last week, I took a plane to Oregon to meet up with some of my favorite people in the world. We studied together, learned together, had some of the best conversations over great food and drink, and danced and laughed until the sun came up. I met new friends, caught up with old ones, and explored the city of Portland while I wrote poetry, sipped great coffee (and ale!) and took photographs of the uncanny, the weird, and the lovely.

 Some of the highlights include:

·       Attending the panel on Extreme Horror where Jack Ketchum, Wraith James White, Jeff Burk and Aaron Sterns chatted about where the line is drawn, and if there is even a line to cross in the genre. Great insight with a lot of commentary that made me think and take another look at my work. Plus there was a 6 or 7 year old kid sitting next to me, so that was interesting…and scary.
·       Lecturing on my first panel, Violence in Verse. I got to sit and talk poetry with poets that I’ve been reading and admiring for years: Rain Graves, Michael A. Arnzen, James Dorr and Dan Clore.
·       Having dinner and talking about the Apocalypse with my wonderful friend, CraigDiLouie. Greatly looking forward to his book, Suffer the Children, and the poetry that I’m forcing him at gunpoint to write.
·       Pitching my novel, The Eighth.
·      Chatting with my favorite power couple, Jason and Sunni Brock. Love these two. Always great conversation and lots of laughs. Plus, when you throw William F. Nolan and Gardner Goldsmith into the mix, you know things are only going to get better!
·        Meeting Rocky Wood and having one of the most enlightening and delightful conversations that I’ve ever had.
·       Sharing my Bram Stoker nomination moment with the man that inspired me to write poetry: Michael A.Arnzen. It was a wonderful experience and the added bonus of getting to have dinner and share it with him was the tops. Cheers, my friend.
·       Dancing at the Lovecraft with Tim Waggoner and my insanely wonderful roommates: Ryan DeMoss, Michelle Lane, and Joe Borelli. Not only have we had the great experience of studying and crafting together, but now we get to travel the world with one another, too, and keep making memories. Cin Ferguson, you too my dear. Our walk and dinner at the Blossoming Lotus was a great treat and I really enjoyed catching some one-on-one time with you.
·       Exploring Powell’s Bookstore and snagging some great classic beat poetry.
·      Stumbling upon the Saturday Market with Michelle where I bought a great hat right after the gentleman was done crocheting it.
·        Meeting a ton of my lovely Facebook and Twitter friends for the first time. Immediate friendships were had and it was as if we didn’t even skip a beat.
·       Having drinks, lots of laughs, and great conversation with the one and only JackKetchum, who is the man that inspired me to start writing horror. I raise my glass (sorry it’s only tea) to you, sir. Can’t wait for our paths to cross again.

The entire convention was a blessing and I feel strongly that I’ve left with some of the best memories and experiences to date. There is nothing more refreshing and special than friendship and on the taxi cab ride back to the airport, Gardner said something that will stay with me forever: “It’s not the stories we write, it’s the friendships we make.” Beautifully put and absolutely true.

Sending all my love and good energy to my friends. Safe travels and I’ll see you all next year in Atlanta, and some of you even sooner at Seton Hill, Necon, and Confluence.
--Stephanie M. Wytovich 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Cover Reveal: Mourning Jewelry

Mourning is the new black…

The tradition of Victorian mourning jewelry began with Queen Victoria after the death of her husband, Prince Albert. Without photography, mementos of personal remembrance were used to honor the dead so that their loved ones could commemorate their memory and keep their spirits close. Ashes were placed within rings, and necklaces were made out of hair, and the concept of death photography, small portraitures of the deceased, were often encased behind glass. Mourning jewelry became a fashion statement as much as a way to cope with grief, and as their pain evolved over the years, so did their jewelry.

But what about the sadness and the memories that they kept close to them at all times? The death-day visions and the reoccurring nightmares? Wytovich explores the horror that breeds inside of the lockets, the quiet terror that hides in the center of the rings. Her collection shows that mourning isn’t a temporary state of being, but rather a permanent sickness, an encompassing disease. Her women are alive and dead, lovers and ghosts. They live in worlds that we cannot see, but that we can feel at midnight, that we can explore at three a.m.

Wytovich shows us that there are hearts to shadows and pulses beneath the grave. To her, Mourning Jewelry isn’t something that you wear around your neck. It’s not fashion or a trend. It’s something that you carry inside of you, something that no matter how much it screams, that you can just can’t seem to let out.

“From rimming the martini glass with a dead lover’s ashes, to bedsheets as straightjackets, Stephanie Wytovich masterminds the lustful grotesque." Jill Tracy, singer/songwriter
“In Mourning Jewelry, Wytovich takes all she did so well in her first book, Hysteria, and ratchets it up a notch. A bountiful, bold book, generously serving up more than 100 poems, each distinctive in its careful-yet-brutal musing about death and desire, written with a voice that is now firmly established as one of our top new horror poets. It’s a voice that seduces as it sickens. What strikes me most is Wyto’s talent for crafting morbid narrators and creepy characters that both fascinate and repulse us, in poem after poem, in a way that will have you turning the pages to see what lower depth she will take us to next. Even the Grim Reaper himself would drop his jaw reading some of these beautifully decadent poems. It’s a remarkable achievement.”
-Michael Arnzen, Bram Stoker Award-winning poet and author of Grave Markings

Click here to pre-order.