Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My 2015 Year in Recap: Pittsburgh, Ireland, Lexington, and Lots of Writing

It’s hard to believe that another year has almost come and gone. I feel like I just wrote my wrap-up from last year. Having said that, this was a huge transitional year for me. I’ve been comfortably working in my new job now for a little over a year and a half, I’ve said goodbye to a lot of bad habits and people, and I’ve learned to appreciate the good and the importance of experience. As such, I wanted to take the time to remember some of those moments. Here’s my 2015 recap:

 I successfully planned for and worked my first Pittsburgh residency at Carlow University where I met amazing writers, students, and colleagues such as Joseph Bathanti, Kristin Kovacic, Jane Coleman, Jan Beatty, and Gerry LaFemina.

I participated in a reading at Frostburg University.

I did an art/blog series for Women in Horror Month (all of which can be found here in the MADHOUSE), and then I drove to Baltimore and sat on a Women in Horror Panel, sponsored by Raw Dog Screaming Press.

I attended my first AWP conference as a representative of Carlow. This was in Minneapolis Minnesota, and not only did I have a great time at the conference, but I got to spend some much needed time with my lovely friend Deanna, who showed me the city and introduced me to some very cool people and some great beer.
I attended the World Horror Convention in Atlanta, and not only got to sit on panels as a panelist and a moderator, and attend the Stokers as a nominated poet, but I also got to sign collections of my recently published poetry collection, An Exorcism of Angels. Tie that in with me meeting William Pauley III, and my life was pretty much changed and perfected in that moment. (I love you, William--you're the best part of my 2015).

I hoped a plane and flew to Dublin, Ireland, where I spent two weeks working in an Irish Writing Residency, courtesy of Carlow University. I met amazing and inspiring writers such as Evelyn Conlon, Mary O’Donnell, Brian Leyden, and Carlo Gebler who showed me the city and welcomed me with open arms. It was truly an unforgettable trip and I can’t wait to go back again next June.

Arnzen and I did a reading at Rickert and Beagle Books to celebrate the release of An Exorcism of Angels. We battled Clown Poetry in another one of our infamous throw downs, and baboons and lots of drowning lifeguards came out to support the cause. I also attended the SHU WPF Alumni Retreat with Michelle Lane this year, and we had a lovely time. I got to drink vampire cocktails with her, reconnect with my tribe, and sign books at the mass author signing.

I attended DogCon 4 in Philadelphia where I not only got to hang out with my favorite RDSP people, but I also got to visit the Mutter Museum, which has been on my bucket list forever. Add in the fact that I got to spend time with my college friends, Kristina Ann, and Austin Black, PLUS got to finally meet Joseph Bouthiette Jr., Kaylee Stebbins, and Josh Myers, and I was just the happiest girl, especially when Kat asked me to be her bridesmaid. Oh and I won the Reader’s Choice Award for my collection, Mourning Jewelry, which also placed third in the Elgin Awards this year.
I set a goal to read 52 books, and I’ve greatly surpassed it and am sitting at a comfortable 89 as we speak.

I was able to finish my fourth poetry collection, Brothel, which is an dark erotic piece that shows the inner-workings of a whorehouse. I was published with DarkFuse, a press I greatly, greatly admire, and Michael Bailey selected two of my poems for his anthology Written Backwards 3 where I will share a TOC page with Stephen King.

 I was selected as the Guest Poet for Gothic Blue Book IV, and I had three poems published in Zen of the Dead, a haiku anthology by Popcorn Press. Other pieces of mine were published in Strange Horizons, and Devolution-Z, and I had the honor of being reviewed by Cemetary Dance Online and Amazing Stories this year. My work will also appear in the second volume of the 555 Anthology published my Carrion Blue 555.

I’m also happy to say that RDSP will be publishing 5 poetry collections next year, and I’m beyond thrilled to be working with such talented artists. I also started to freelance edit on the side, in addition to reviewing for Nameless Magazine, and the experience of meeting so many writers and reading their work is always a joy.

Having said all of that, I truly feel blessed for what 2015 has given me. I was fortunate enough to begin my work as an educator this year, as I went to college for eight years to work on a degree that I knew was going to be a tough sell in the job market, but after all the hard work, tears, and frustration, it finally paid off.  I was blessed to start teaching English and creative writing at both Seton Hill University and Carlow University, and let me tell you, it has been life changing and I truly couldn't be happier.

So now it’s time to raise a glass to 2015 and say thank you to all my friends, family, readers, and colleagues. It’s been a blast. Let’s keep up the insanity as we look forward to 2016 and all the madness it promises. I’m looking forward to sharing it with all of you.
-Stephanie M. Wytovich

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