News & Blog

New Life for “Under the Skin”


Once upon a time, back in 2012, a small publisher in Chicago called Wicker Park Press put out a comprehensive horror anthology, edited by Mort Castle, called All-American Horror of the 21st Century: The First Decade: 2000-2010, which included a reprint of my story “Under the Skin.” Then mysterious things happened behind the scenes, and suddenly Wicker Park was no longer publishing it and the book went out of print.

Now Alessandro Manzetti’s Independent Legions Press has stepped in to publish the anthology anew, along with freaky new cover art (above). I’m excited that readers will have another chance to discover “Under the Skin,” which as far as I know is the only (fictional) horror story to take place at a Passover seder!

The new edition is available now as an e-book, with paperback coming soon. Order your copy today!

Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film

Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film: A Mel Brooks' BookYoung Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film: A Mel Brooks’ Book by Mel Brooks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A real treasure for fans of the film, this delightful book is rife with Mel Brooks’s distinctive voice and lots of great behind-the-scenes photographs — but not nearly enough behind-the-scenes stories! Most of the input from the cast and crew is only about how great it was to work with everyone, but I was hoping for something a little more in-depth. Still, this isn’t a film study, it’s a coffee table book for people who love YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, and if you adore the film as much as I do you will definitely cherish this book. It’s a must-have for everyone who can’t hear the song “Puttin’ on the Ritz” without at least privately chuckling.

View all my reviews

The Morning After

Alexa and I are going to be taking the temperature of the nation over the next weeks to decide whether we’ll stay. We are Jewish. Though we’re not on the top of the list this time — that dubious honor belongs to the Mexicans and the Muslims — with a president-elect supported by the KKK and the anti-Semitic “alt right,” we’re definitely still on it. We’ve seen as much through Trump supporters going after Jewish journalists on Twitter, calling them kikes, telling them to get ready for the ovens, etc. So we need to see if it will remain safe for us here. Trump’s campaign gave voice to something terrible. My concern is that his election has legitimized it.

The Scariest Part: Stephanie M. Wytovich Talks About THE EIGHTH


This week on The Scariest Part, my guest is author Stephanie M. Wytovich, whose debut novel is The Eighth. Here is the publisher’s description:

After Paimon, Lucifer’s top soul collector, falls in love with a mortal girl whose soul he is supposed to claim, he desperately tries everything in his power to save her from the Devil’s grasp. But what happens when a demon has to confront his demons, when he has to turn to something darker, something more sinister for help? Can Paimon survive the consequences of working with the Seven Deadly Sins — sins who have their own agenda with the Devil — or will he fall into a deeper, darker kind of hell?

And now, let’s hear what the scariest part was for Stephanie M. Wytovich:

Writing about Hell was hell for me, and I don’t say that lightly or in jest. When I made the decision to sit down and write this novel, I knew that I was going to be tackling some of my biggest fears, and then on top of that, I was not only going to be submitting it for publication, but presenting it to the thesis committee at Seton Hill University for completion of an MFA degree, too.

Talk about real life horror.

But nevertheless, into the flames I walked.

For me, the scariest part about writing The Eighth was that it put me on a journey where I explored, accepted, and rejected sin in all of its many forms: lust, wrath, envy, greed, sloth, gluttony, and pride. I had to ask myself what these sins meant to me, how I viewed them, and what I was taught to believe that they encompassed and demanded if acted out. As someone who was raised Catholic, and who has since been struggling with her faith, writing a book about damnation felt blasphemous, and it gave me horrible reoccurring nightmares that led to night terrors and bouts of insomnia that were so bad that for almost three years, I did everything in my power not to sleep.

The more I fleshed out the character development of Paimon and Rhea, the more the face of sin — not to mention the face of Lucifer — became real to me. There is a scene in the novel where Lucifer masks himself as Rhea’s father, and this is after an especially terrifying moment where Rhea questions her sanity — not to mention the possibility of the thing that is speaking to her against slaps and screams in a dark hospital room — and I can vividly remember sitting in my bedroom and shaking while writing it. To me, good horror is something that makes one question everything he or she thought was an absolute: faith, love, morals. Writing this scene made me confront the fact that on a very real level, my biggest fear was/is putting my belief in someone only to find out that he/she was masquerading as someone else: an illusionist, a deceiver, a con-artist. The idea of trusting someone so much, in believing in them with all your heart and soul, so much so that you would die for them — sin for them! — only to have that faith and love stripped away?

That unmasking of false character is my definition of Hell.

And it’s something that Paimon, Rhea, and I all had to learn the hard way.

Stephanie M. Wytovich: Website / Twitter

The Eighth: Pre-order the book through Dark Regions Press website in e-book, trade paperback, and deluxe lettered, signed, slipcased hardcover edition. They will be shipped in November.

Stephanie M. Wytovich is an instructor by day and a horror writer by night. She is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, and a book reviewer for Nameless Magazine. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated poetry collections, Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Brothel earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press, and her debut novel, The Eighth, is simmering in sin with Dark Regions Press.