Monday, April 27, 2015

World Horror Convention Schedule 2015

The programming for the World Horror Convention went live this weekend and I'm posting my schedule below. There will be a handful of us from Raw Dog Screaming Press attending as well, so prepare for madness and definite mayhem.  Also, there will be a soft launch for my latest release, An Exorcism of Angels, but in the meantime, the pre-order is live on the RDSP site.

Thursday, May 7th

8-9:30 PM     Reading: Horror Poetry Open Mike – INNSMOUTH
Moderator: Linda Addison. Various attending authors.

Friday, May 8th

3-4 PM           Panel/Reading: Dark Poets Face to Face – R’LYEH

Leading poets in the field of dark literature read and discuss their favorite poems by other members on the panel. Audience participation is encouraged.

Moderator: Marge Simon. Panelists: G.O. Clark, Sydney Leigh, Alessandro Manzetti, Peter Salomon, Stephanie Wytovich

Saturday, May 9th

9-10 AM          Panel: TERRIFYING TROPES: Midmorning Madness: Making Insane Characters Believable – SARNATH

From classics like Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” to Stephen King’s Misery, to more contemporary works like Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, both film and literature alike have a soft spot for the insane. But what makes these characters believable and why do readers love a madman or a hysteric woman? Well, say hello to Tyler Durdan and get ready for a trip to the asylum because the first rule of madness is that we don’t talk about madness. And if it’s your first time going mad, well, then you have to scream.

Moderator: Stephanie M. Wytovich. Panelists: Dale Bailey, Nicole Cushing, T. Fox Dunham, Lois Gresh, Sydney Leigh, Brian W. Matthews

7:30-10:30 PM  Bram Stoker Awards Banquet sponsored by Samhain Publishing – THE TURTLE

Mourning Jewelry is nominated for Superior Achievement in Poetry.
Master of Ceremonies: Jeff Strand

Sunday, May 10th

9:30-10:00 Reading  
INNSMOUTH
(Mike Arnzen originally had this slot, but due to a conflict in his schedule, we've decided to switch things up, and I will be taking this time period instead. I highly recommend buying ALL OF HIS BOOKS though since he won't be availabe for the reading)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cover Reveal: An Exorcism of Angels

Today we’re revealing the cover and launching pre-orders for An Exorcism of Angels, my latest poetry collection. Because writing this book saved my life, I'm pledging to donate $1 out of every pre-order to SAVE: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.

**Pre-order the paperback on 4/23 and receive a $2 discount**
Pre-order the Kindle ebook

About the Artist
Steven Archer is an artist and musician living near Baltimore, MD. When not recording, DJing, or producing art, he and his wife, author Donna Lynch, tour with their dark electronic rock band Ego Likeness. He has a BFA from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC and has shown his work at galleries and other venues throughout the east coast. His work has also been shown internationally in the form of album art and magazine illustrations. He has designed many covers and interior illustrations for Raw Dog Screaming Press as well as written and illustrated an children’s book, Luna Maris, released through their imprint Imaginary Books.
For more information about Ego Likeness, please visit www.egolikeness.com. Steven’s solo electronic projects can be found at http://www.stoneburnerband.com/ and http://hopefulmachines.net.

Book Description

Love is an exorcism of angels…

Heaven and Hell are not places, nor times, but rather shared experiences. It’s a love whether dark or light, a passion whether of pleasure or pain, and there’s a beauty to the ugliness, a smile hidden amongst the tears. Heaven is often defined as paradise; Hell as damnation. The two, while opposites, more often than not, end up being one in the same, especially when it comes to falling in love.

So what happens when our Heaven falls in love with our Hell? When the very person who brings us every happiness and every joy, stabs and beats at our hearts, bruising our fantasy of ‘happily ever after,’ of ‘till death do us part?’ What happens when we can’t walk away because the pain of love is better than no love at all? When we’d rather die every death again and again, than spend one moment away from our heart’s true content? Wytovich plays Virgil in a collection of celestial horror that challenges the definition of angels and demons, of love and hate. She weaves through tales of heartbreak and sorrow, through poems depicting lust and greed, as her words prove testament that Heaven and Hell can be one in the same, a paradise and an inferno. Her women, some innocent, some not, walk through the circles, fall off of clouds, deny their wings, and expose their hearts to demons and devils, to imps and to fiends. They turn their backs on everything they know, question their morals and their faith, all in the name of love, and together, the good help the bad, and the bad, help the good, as not every angel has wings just as not every demon has claws.

Wytovich shows us that love isn’t always the saving grace that we expect it to be. To her, there is no balance of darkness to light, no line between what one desires and what one gets. There’s no choosing who we fall in love with, and just as love is often Heaven, it can just as easily be Hell.

Blurbs:

“Fall into a world where the angels themselves love, but the demonic will love you with more teeth. These are beautifully twisted poems of madness…” –Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls

“Stephanie M. Wytovich lays bare the darkest yearnings of the human – and inhuman – heart with scalpel-like precision. These are  poems forged in hellfire and cooled by a dead lover’s kiss.” –Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh and Eat the Night

“…fascinates, disturbs and amazes in the manner of a dream that can’t decide between nightmare and heartbreak. In the end, the reader is left with broken wings, withdrawal symptoms, and beautiful, passionate poetry.”–Peter Salomon, author of Prophets

“There is a lyrical beauty and a haunting, melancholy cadence to Wytovich’s work that is utterly irresistible.…Herein lies a world of pain, and it’s deliciously good.”–Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Kin and The Turtle Boy

“In the shadows of desire, hope becomes poison, and aching hearts are transformed by Wytovich’s unlimited imagination. Angels and demons dance on the infinite tip of this masterful collection. An Exorcism of Angels turns the pain of shattered love into mesmerizing music.”
—Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend

“Wytovich’s words weave passages of pain and despair through haunting imagery and astute self-reflection.”—Sèphera Girón author of Experiments in Terror

“…a voice certain to leave the reader both shaken and stirred.”
—Lawrence C. Connolly, author of Veins

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Poetry as Prayer: A Meditation on Words

I keep a crucifix at my desk;
it reminds me that pain and love are synonymous,
that nothing worthwhile
is easy.

I was raised Catholic, and when you’re raised Catholic, you can always count on one thing to rule your life. Nope, not God. Good try though! But in this case, the answer is guilt. As someone who has been going through a crisis of faith over the past few years, not a day goes by when I don’t feel that almighty hand on my shoulder alongside a whisper gently telling me that if I don’t start singing a different tune that I’m going to Hell. But that’s a story for a different blog post. Today, I want to talk to you about prayer.

I may have a lot of feelings about life, how I live it, and who I live it with, but one thing that I’ve never wavered from is that I pray every day. What has changed, is how I do it. When I was little, I used to kneel at my bedside every night and say a prayer for every person I loved. I’d often fall asleep with my family’s name on my lips, or a tear on my pillow, but I wanted someone out there to know that I was putting good energy into the world, and I hoped that if I put enough of it out there, that somehow, it might reach my loved ones as they fell asleep and started to dream.

There are times when I still do this, even now, everything considered. But before I drop to my knees in prayer, I pray on paper in sonnets, in free verse, in haiku, in prose. I write about madness, because that’s what life is. It’s unpredictable. People leave. People die. I make mistakes. I fuck up. Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don’t. But that’s life, so if I’ve loved you, if we’ve shared a moment, if we’ve shared a kindness, I believe there is energy in that, and I put that happiness (for however long it lasted) into a memory box in my head, and at night when I write, I thank whoever is listening for those handful of seconds when my heart was touched with love.

It took me a very long time to understand that life isn’t about collecting people, about changing people. Experience has taught me that energy cannot be contained, and so I started collecting moments instead. And when they’re good, I smile.  And when they’re bad, I try to smile, too.

Because life isn’t perfect.
In fact, sometimes it’s quite awful.

Most of you know me as a horror writer, but that’s not how it started and it’s not all who I am. I play with darkness because that’s how I find light, but sometimes, there is only light, only comfort. These are the poems that you don’t see, but you will in An Exorcism of Angels. At least a couple at least. In fact, there are a few poems in there that are some of my favorite prayers to date, and I can’t read them without crying because they dictate some of the most beautiful moments I’ve had.

When I think of the collection, I often smile through tears. Like most things, it’s bittersweet. It’s dark yet it’s beautiful, loving but not without pain. But that’s life and I wanted to write the book because I wanted to preserve the memories, the moments that mattered.

Some of them good.
Some of them bad.
But all of them worth having.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

An Exorcism of Pride: Poetry for the Damned

An Exorcism of Pride
by Stephanie M. Wytovich

This is an act /Everything you read here is true
Right now I’m lying /But I’m being completely honest
That I hate myself/ But I like myself better than you, /You, who will never take me alive
Because I’m already dead / And I’m the most alive I’ve ever been
Alive because I’m breathing / Dead because I committed suicide in your heart
I even killed you, too /You just haven’t noticed yet
So smile while you can/ Your bones are crying

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

An Exorcism Warning: I Don't Speak Latin

Love is an exorcism of angels...

I wrote the first draft of An Exorcism of Angels in three weeks. That’s 140 poems in 21 days. A lot of people have asked me how that’s even possible, and I truly don’t have a good answer to that other than the book had to happen, and it had to happen fast. Much like Edgar Allan Poe, “I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched,” and in this instance, my heart wasn’t merely touched. It was possessed.
 
Hence the exorcism.

But since I don’t speak Latin, I decided to speak through poetry instead.

What was different this time around, was that not all my demons were fiction.
 
I don’t pretend to live a perfect life. At best, I’m sinful, and at worst, well, let’s just say there’s probably a seat reserved for me downstairs. Maybe even a pew. Hell, I probably have my own circle if we’re going to be completely honest with each other. But jokes aside, for only being 26 years old, I’ve seen Hell in more ways, shapes, and forms than I care to count. I mean, my first memory as a child is of a suicide, and while I’ve come to peace with my demons, both internal and external, both past and present, what I haven’t seen a lot of is Heaven.

I’m not talking pearly gates or big white castle in the clouds, but rather peace, serenity. At a reading a few weeks ago, someone asked me if I believed in guardian angels, and I wasn’t sure what to say. Sure, I was brought up to believe in them, but if I have a guardian angel watching over me, she certainly has a lot of explaining to do. And I certainly have a lot of questions.

And that’s where the gray area comes in. The unknown. The debatable. I wrote this book while I was in a world of gray. The idea came to me in bed, and it came to me while I riding out a bout of depression. I was questioning a lot about life then, a lot about people, about love. I thought for sure my heart had taken its final beating, and then out of the darkness, the words started to come. Why do good things happen to bad people? Why do bad people triumph while good is punished over and over? What is good? What is bad? Are things as black and white as they seem? Are all demons evil? Are all angels holy? Can one have sympathy for the Devil? After all, Lucifer was an angel first, was he not?
 
This book is different than anything that I have written before. It explores faith in a way that is unfaithful while still being devout, and it's as blasphemous as much as it's a prayer. These poems found me while I was locked in Hell, and they brought me to a kind of Heaven. They taught me that not all angels have wings, just as not all demons have claws, and throughout the rest of the month, I'm going to be talking about a lot of different topics regarding religion and horror: The Archetype of the Devil, What it Means to Write Religious Horror as a Catholic, Poetry as Prayer, etc.

I’m not ashamed or afraid to admit that writing this book saved my life, probably in more ways than one, and on April 23rd, the preorders will go live from Raw Dog Screaming Press. My penance? For every person that preorders this collection, I’m donating $1.00 to SAVE: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.
 
Writing saved my life.
It's my turn to help save someone else's.
 
 
In sin and in prayer,
Stephanie M. Wytovich

Saturday, April 4, 2015

AN EXORCISM OF ENVY: POETRY FOR THE DAMNED

AN EXORCISM OF ENVY
by Stephanie M. Wytovich
 
I watched them together,
Watched them behind closed doors
Watched them in public, in private,
Watched them always
And part of me laughed at how awful they were
How she didn’t know his rhythms
How he couldn’t recognize her signs
But still
I was the one outside
And she was the one inside
In his bed
In his shower
In his heart
And I was doing something wrong
Something that I couldn’t figure out
Something that wasn’t good enough
That wasn’t strong enough
And Christ, she was doing it wrong again!
Her hands were in the wrong place
Her lips were too rough
He needed touched there
Need caressed there
And this was ludicrous
Because I was better
Better at pleasure
Better at pain
And yet I was the one outside
And she was the one inside
And I hated her for winning
Hated her for her imperfection
For her faults and her body
Her body that didn’t work
Her mind that wasn’t mine
And so I went home and I dyed my hair
Dyed it lighter then cut it off
I practiced her laugh
I memorized her smile
And I would become her
If that’s who he wanted
Someone less than he deserved
And I would be better at that, too
I would win
Win at being her

Friday, April 3, 2015

AN EXORCISM OF LUST: Poetry for the Damned

AN EXORCISM OF LUST
by Stephanie M. Wytovich
 
We were in the car
You put on “Come with Me Now” by the KONGOS
I laughed
This was my song
And you were the one who introduced me to it
All those weeks ago
Before I hid
Before you ran away
You handed me the whiskey bottle
I drank and drove down country roads
We sang
We danced
We pulled over
I came with you
You came with me
Now
Then
Always
The KONGOS continued to play
We looked at the sky
Threw up our hands
Screamed
Screamed loud
Screamed together
And that was the first time I felt love
Naked in the woods
My gypsy soul exposed
You, standing there
Holding my heart
Between your teeth
Bleeding
Broken
And dead
But happier than ever before