Choose Your Instrument: Announcing Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare

Here at Speculative Chic, we’ve made a habit of focusing not just on the mainstream popular science fiction and fantasy of the current day, but also highlighting the hidden gems. Today, we’re pleased to celebrate the publication of a new poetry collection, Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare, by Speculative Chic contributor Stephanie M. Wytovich. Take a break from the merriment and joy of the season and cleanse your palate with this “candy apple wrapped in razor wire.”*

The Book:

Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare (2017)
Written by: Stephanie M. Wytovich
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press

The Premise:

Roll the windows down, wipe the blood off your cheek, and turn the music up. Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare by Stephanie M. Wytovich is a collection spattered with dirt and blood, sage and corpses. The poems inside are confessionals and dirges, their stories the careful banter of ghosts and sinners over tequila at the bar.

These pages hold the lyrics to the beautiful grotesque that Wytovich is known for, but here she writes with a raw honesty that we haven’t seen from her before. This new direction takes readers to hospital rooms and death beds, shows the mask that was skinned off her face time and time again. There’s a brutality to her lines that cuts with the same knife she fantasized about, her blood and tears mixed in with stanzas as she talks about suicide and abuse, heartbreak and falling in love.

Written during a time when the road was her home, these poems were sung under the stars and screamed in the woods, carved into trees. They are broken bottles and cigarette butts, stale coffee and smeared lipstick, each its own warning, a tale of caution.

Listen to them carefully.

They very well might save your life.

*Review by Maria Alexander, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Snowed


You’ve talked about how your previous collections, such as Brothel and Hysteria, were inspired by creative muses. Can you tell us a bit about the muse for your latest collection?

Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare was inspired by road trips and sleeping in abandoned buildings, suicides, and falling in love. I wrote this collection while reflecting on some of my lesser favorite moments in life, and I chose to my name my muse Jolene after the Dolly Parton song that one of my ex-boyfriends had fallen in love with. To me, this collection is very different from my other books because it’s not driven by speculative elements. Sure, there are heavy doses of horror and dark fantasy, but they’re interspersed inside a collection that has become a confessional dirge. It’s my funeral song to my past and my prayer for a better future.

It sounds like travel also played an important role in this collection. What places are most inspirational to your writing?

In general, I like to travel when I write, but the open road is always most inspiring to me. I tend to be drawn to quiet spaces, often times abandoned or at the very least secluded. Jolene and I spent a lot of time on the road over the past three years, and I’ve slept at more rest stops, gas stations, and hotel parking lots than I care to remember. I’m no stranger to the way your head nods after 300+ miles in the middle of the night, and I have the twitch of sleep deprivation memorized. I know that my limit is two Red Bulls in three hours and that cigarettes don’t keep me awake, but instead leave interesting burn marks on my chest when I fall asleep smoking in the back seat of my car.

Long story short: nothing inspires me like stale coffee and the way the moonlight rests on asphalt.

Since many readers are often intimidated by poetry, what words of encouragement can you give them to branch out and give your newest collection a chance?

This collection is my flesh for the offering. It’s conversational, honest, heartbreaking, and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to write but have never felt brave enough to do. Sheet Music tackles feelings and experiences that are difficult to talk about, and I think that while it was an absolute catharsis for me to write, that it will also (hopefully) be a healing experience for readers, too. Life is full of so much pain that sometimes we have to talk about it to know that we aren’t alone.

This is my attempt to build the bridge.

This is my message in a bottle.


Wytovich’s latest collection is available in hardcopy and ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher.

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