Saturday, October 5, 2013

Book Trailer: The Seventh Equinox by Matthew Warner

I'll be honest: I've never really been a fan of book trailers. To me, trailers are great for movies because they utilize the same medium, and give you a general idea of what the sights and sounds will be in that movie. Books are a bit of a different beast. They don't employ CGI or other visual and auditory effects. While many of us authors write with a soundtrack in mind, it isn't necessarily what they reader will hear when he or she is immersed in our world.

But every now and again, something comes along that breaks away from what I expect and catches my eye. This trailer from my friends at Raw Dog Screaming Press is one such instance. It certainly got my attention, and now I kind of want to see someone make a movie version of this book too. Check it out and let me know what you think, whether of this one in particular or book trailers in general.

THE SEVENTH EQUINOX by Matthew Warner will debut on November 6th but the pre-order starts today and we're celebrating with the reveal of the book trailer:
“The best part of Warner’s easy-paced, almost pastoral tale is the friction between Bessie’s attraction to Robin, her longing to believe in magic, and her fear of trusting again—all of which run deep. This is a world-shattering crisis acted out in small scale, with a subtle appeal to romantic fantasy.” —Publishers Weekly
The Seventh Equinox
From the Back:
Her recent divorce left Bessie Henderson on guard against being exploited by any man. When she escapes to Augusta, Virginia, she’s captivated by the small town’s charm, but also its quirks: her intrusive elderly neighbor, the secret labyrinth of caverns beneath her Victorian house — and the man hiding from the law in her root cellar.
But Robin Goodfellow is not just a criminal. He’s a fertility demigod called the Hunter. He’s been injured, and he needs Bessie’s life force to survive. By the spring equinox, he must complete the grand Hunt, an ancient ritual of environmental renewal, or the planet will slowly die.
As the equinox nears, the couple must reconcile their growing feelings for each other. Bessie may not be ready to trust and give to another man, especially one who takes so much from her. And Robin must choose between love and duty — a duty that means life for the planet but death for himself.
About the Author:
Matthew Warner’s publishing credits span a variety of formats, although readers mostly know him through his horror novels and short stories. Dramatic works include films from Darkstone Entertainment based on his screenplays, plus a radio play and stage play premiered by theaters in central Virginia. Warner lives with his wife, the artist Deena Warner, and sons, Owen and Thomas. Readers can visit him at
Pre-order NOW for $2 off

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wytovich's HYSTERIA Is Infectious

I don’t review books very often. It feels like a bit of a conflict of interest because I am so involved in the writing and publishing business, both as a writer and an editor. So many of the books I’ve read recently are by people I know, and often people with whom I am lucky to be friends. But I figure – fuck it – this is my blog, so I think I’m allowed to post a review if I want, especially of a book as powerful and stunning as HYSTERIA, a collection of poetry by the talented Stephanie M. Wytovich. Disclosure: yes, Stephanie is my friend. Yes, I paid for my copy of the book. I was lucky enough to purchase one of the first 15 copies released during the IYWM author signing at the end of June at Seton Hill University. No, I’m not a poetry expert by any means. Okay, I think that covers everything…

HYSTERIA is one of those books that gave me chills in the face of the raw emotion on display. That doesn’t happen very often. I can think of four books I’ve read in my lifetime that had the same effect, only two of which weren't even published. I’m still holding out hope for the other two, especially since the authors have returned to the craft. But I’m digressing. Probably because nothing I can say will adequately convey what it was that made this book so moving.

Stephanie is no novice at the craft of writing. According to her bio she has credits in over 40 different magazines. So while this may be her first collection published, it is hardly a freshman effort. She’s clearly spent time studying and honing her craft. And the results are simply spectacular. There are no wasted words in this collection. And while the poems are largely written in free-verse, they all have their own distinct structure and form. Words are not forced into awkward positions, and the images are not contrived. The power may be raw, but the presentation is masterful.

The theme of this collection is madness. These poems are like reading transcripts of interviews with patients from the most horrible institutions you could ever conjure in your darkest nightmares. There is no comfort or solace to be found here. So if you are looking for justice or a happy ending, keep searching. Even the satisfaction of retribution is in short supply. And the few times it does peek through, that retribution might leave you feeling soiled and ashamed.

There are other sub-themes woven throughout, images and concepts that recur but never feel repetitive. In no particular order, we see a lot of physical and sexual violence, physical and psychological torture, twisted fantasies (or are they more than just imaginings…?) and hopeless despair. Several poems seem represent their subjects’ cries for release into the peace of death; such cries largely go unanswered. I can never decide if I pity these patients, or if they deserve their awful fates. But that is probably the point. After all, a decision would bring closure, and there really is none to be found here, even when the subject or narrator of the poem has clearly been killed, whether by their own hand or someone else’s.

What really sets this collection apart, though, is the honesty. Stephanie doesn’t mince words, she doesn’t shy away, and she doesn’t whitewash anything. All the pain and fear, suffering and sadism, is on display here. Lesser authors might fail to transcend the freak-show that this collection could so easily have been. But Stephanie’s brutal honesty brings these haunted souls to vivid life. You may think you want to turn away. You might even sleep better at night if you do. But you’ll be missing out. This journey into darkness may not be cathartic, but it is instructive. You’ll learn what it means to face demons, and you’ll witness how to express the terror that such an endeavor entails. Despite all the darkness and despair on display, Stephanie has created beautiful art. Her words seduce even as the subject matter repulses. This is the kind of poetry that needs to be taught, though I suspect even the most forward thinking schools will shy away from it. Then again, that’s the point. HYSTERIA moves beyond the safety of mass appeal. They say there’s a fine line between madness and genius. Stephanie Wytovich has shown that such a line isn’t so firm after all, and indeed may be an illusion created to comfort us when the darkness sets in. I highly recommend that you let her lead you down these haunted asylum halls.

HYSTERIA by Stephanie M. Wytovich is published by Raw DogScreaming Press and can be purchased from them here:

Cover art is by Steven Archer. You can browse and purchase his artwork here.

Follow Stephanie’s blog here:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cover Reveal: HYSTERIA by Stephanie M. Wytovich

I'm very excited to reveal the cover for Stephanie M. Wytovich's newest book, HYSTERIA. Coer art is by the multi-talented Steven Archer. Links to the pre-order page for the book and Steven's Etsy store appear after the cover and blurb. If I recall correctly, copies of the book will be available this Friday evening at the In Your Write Mind Writer's Workshop author signing. Enjoy!

SUMMARY: Asylums once used to confine those deemed mentally unfit linger, forgotten behind trees or urban development, beautiful yet desolate in their decay. Within them festers something far more unnerving than unlit corners or unexplained noises: the case files left to moulder out of sight, out of conscience. Stephanie M. Wytovich forces your hands upon these crumbling, warped binders and exposes your mind to every taboo misfortune experienced by the outcast, exiled, misbegotten monsters and victims who have walked among us. The poetry contained in Hysteria performs internal body modification on its readers in an unrelenting fashion, employing broad-spectrum brutality treatment that spans the physical to the societal, as noted in Stoker Award winner Michael A. Arnzen's incisive introduction.

Preorder link:

Steven Archer's Etsy link:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Zombie Poetry: The Discovery of Fire

Today’s entry is a zombie poem, inspired by playing with The Fridge of the Damned refrigerator magnets, put out by Raw Dog Screaming Press. I highly recommend you get a set. As of this writing, you can still purchase a copy here.

The Discovery of Fire

Crackling flames sear and char flesh
marinaded in blood.
A dead man shuffling by turns his rotted face
as smoke wafts through the remains of his nostrils.
A sense,
a memory perhaps?
Sparked in a brain transformed by virus
it reaches out through the zombie haze
and he turns.
Rotted steps pull him
across the scorched lawn
towards a smoking bundle that used to be an infant.

Later, as he chews tender medium-rare muscle from the tiny limbs,
he remembers steak and barbecues.
Smell, the most powerful trigger,
overrides the raw desire for simple gray matter.

He finishes the feast
as the rest of the dead shuffle by in pairs and groups,
then rises,
driven by a new sensation
a thirst
and sets out on his quest for beer.

Copyright © 2013 Chris Stout

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Foresaken: Some Flash Fiction for You

Hey gang!

In the spirit of Spring and bunnies and flowers and all that shit, I thought I'd present you with a piece of flash fiction. Enjoy, and let me know what you think! I might make this a regular thing.


The day after zombie souls breached the Gates of Heaven, God was spirited away to an "undisclosed location." As the streets of gold flooded with blood and angel tears, a single voice could be heard crying: "Eloi! Eloi! Lema sabachthani?" Those of the heavenly host left alive shuddered at the plea, now turned into a chilling prophecy. In the fields of slaughter, filled with the fresh corpses of their brethren, there was movement: here a fluttering robe, there a torn wing twitching. A trumpet blast sounded, rasping and out of tune. The survivors covered their ears and rent their garments and prayed with renewed fervor.
At last, the true horror of Resurrection was revealed-

Copyright © 2013 Chris Stout

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Word Count Check In

As you may recall, I mentioned in a previous post that I hoped to write 250,000 words in 2013. Spread over the year, that comes out to 20,834 words a month. So how did I do in January?

I just barely made the word count. 20,858 to be exact.

January was a brutal month. Bitter cold, extended illness, my day job and my sideline work as an editor... All that left very little room to write. I think I managed one complete short story, a couple of flash fiction pieces, and beginnings for two possible novels. I am sure that spreading my writing so thin also was counter-productive.

The problem is, without a nice batch of time to devote to writing, it is very hard for me to get in the flow of whatever world I am trying to create. It is much easier to write the start of something than it is to slog through the middle. So that is why I have so many disparate pieces.

Going forward, I may actually break tradition and start working from an outline. At least that way I won't have to try to figure out what is happening next or who should be involved. I'll probably still write the occasional flash piece. Even if I never create one that is publication worthy, at least it will gets words down and prime the pump.

And now February is under way. Yesterday was a goose egg. Work just overran my schedule. Today has gone a bit better. Hopefully tomorrow will as well. Because without my fast start in January (4300 words in 3 days,and no missed days the first week) I would have fallen far short of my goal. So I have some mileage to make up.

Which means it's back to work for me.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Starting 2013 with a Sneeze

Well, today we’re one week into 2013. I figure this is a good time to do a quick check-in.

I’ve officially been sick more than half of the year so far. Not fun.

On the plus side, I’ve written every day so far. My total word count so far is just over 8000 words.
I also have been interviewed by fellow writer and friend Stephanie Wytovich. You can get a peek into my madness here.

I’m hoping to have a couple of short stories published by the end of January. Still not sure what to do with the sort-of finished novels hanging over my head. I’ve been trying to start a new one, but these guys keep gnawing at me. I think I need a writer’s retreat so I can spend some in-depth time working them over. When I’ve figured out what to do with them, I’ll let you all know.

In the meantime, I need more tissues. Stay healthy. Being creative is much easier when you aren’t blowing your nose every two minutes.