Authors in Indie Blu(e) Anthologies: Emily Rose Cole

The incredible Emily Rose Cole stunned the Indie Blu(e) authors with her submissions to our anthology But You Don’t Look Sick (for sale HERE). Emily’s writing is just so superlative, it’s almost impossibly good. We absolutely loved her work, she was a stand-out from the very first read and consequently Indie Blu(e) nominated Emily’s writing for a Pushcart award based on the quality of her work in our collection. We really want to promote her work because she’s a brilliant talent and an inspiring writer (and singer!). A little bit of an enigma, she’s the genius hiding in the forest, we want to tease her out a bit and share her writing with you:

Is it any wonder Emily Rose Cole grew up in a family folk band with music in her veins? This could explain why her poetry is just so magnificent. Emily is a poet, singer, folklore enthusiast, and disability studies scholar. We’re hopeful she carries on writing and publishing, because the subjects she picks are dear to our heart and her rending of them, quite stunning.

Her chapbook of persona poems in the voices of mythological and historical women, Love & a Loaded Gunwas released from Minerva Rising Press in 2017. Check out more about this collection via Emily’s website:

Her poetry has received awards from Jabberwock ReviewRuminate MagazinePhiladelphia StoriesThe Orison Anthology and the Academy of American Poets ,and has been featured in projects like American Life in Poetry, Best New Poets 2018, and The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry. It’s not just Indie Blu(e) who thinks Emily is outstanding, she’s got a huge list of published works, here are some you can read online:

Emily holds an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is pursuing a PhD in poetry with an emphasis in Disability Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She loves accessibility, folk music, weird fairytales, stories about friendship, foxes, and, especially, her tiny black cat, Bashir.  You can hear her reading some of her poetry here.

Emily’s Social media connections are:

Twitter: @EmilyColeWrites

Facebook: Emily Rose Cole

Insta: DSNineLives (mostly my cat) 

The online literary journal Rogue Agent and our anthology But You Don’t Look Sick (buy a copy of this ground-breaking anthology on invisible illness by a myriad of talented poets and artists HERE) published this stunning work of Emily’s on MS and disability/visibility:


Always the same, return & return, like riptide,
like nightmare. No—like the witch’s warning:
what you cast will return to you three times three,
a reminder that magic begets magic begets
consequences—breakfast’s black mug of coffee
reincarnates itself as a bladder spasm, an afternoon
of self-selected house arrest. Last night’s extra hour
awake resurfaces as the glimmer of molasses in the brain’s
gas tank. Dead engine. Each relapse makes of me an object  

at rest. It’s so easy to imagine this as punishment—cause
& effect. Present action equals future damage. Little wonder
that the adjective & verb forms of degenerate are spelled
the same way: I am degenerate, so I degenerate. Goddess,

in place of such unuseful language, grant me a new word
for disrepair. Bar from my lips all apologies. Blessed be.

Emily Rose Cole – one of the discovered talents we were fortunate to encounter when we put out a call for our invisible illness anthology But You Don’t Look Sick. It’s our hope we work with her again, and we are glad to share her talent with our readers because we think this poetess is going places. There is nothing more rewarding than meeting gifted writers and sharing them with others. If you love poetry, you’re in for a real treat with Emily’s uncanny talent as a writer.

Want to be featured on Indie Blu(e)’s blog? If you have had work published in one of our anthologies, drop us a line and let us promote your work here!

Got snow? Get books!

One expected boon to inclement weather is the rarified opportunity to sit in front of a roaring fire in your favorite jammies and tuck up with a good book and a hot drink.

What makes a good book? A memorable book? It’ll vary because our tastes vary but among the most popular ‘must haves’ are: Compelling plot and solid ending. People often feel let down by endings and no wonder why, think of how many great books had weak endings! What makes a book we’d hold onto and save, or gift to someone we really wanted to read it passionately? That’s the crux of the love of literature.

Let Indie Blu(e) recommend some reading material that might be exactly what you’re looking for from our fledgling fiction catalog:

Kindra M. Austin’s neo-noir novella, The Killing Holiday, is filled with sex, cigarettes, and whiskey, leaving the reader wanting more. Austin’s dark, disquieting ability to provoke unease, is the exact right tempo for an addictive noir novella. You’ll be looking over your shoulder for weeks afterward… think you know psychological thrillers? Think again. Indie Blu(e) are super proud of our Senior Editor’s neo-noir novella and think you’ll love it every bit as much as we have.

“The Killing Holiday digs beneath the human psyche and begs the question, what will you do for love? Or better yet, what are you willing to do for revenge? The dark and honest truth comes out in Austin’s characters, who become more animalistic and primal as the story progresses. The reader is forced to confront their own despicable and basest aspect of humanity: we are all killers. Killers of the spirit, of the heart and of course, the body” —Rhiannon Marie, author of SHIFT

The Killing Holiday will have you hooked, unable to put it down until the whole story unravels itself. Like an epic poet of old, Austin plunges in media res straight to the heart of the tale. . . The Killing Holiday is a must-read masterfully told tale by a novelist with the soul of a poet, who leaves us wondering how much of herself was left in the ink on the page.” —John Leys, author of Whispers of a One-Eyed Raven

The Killing Holiday is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgIndieBoundWaterstonesBook Depository, and from other major online retailers.

Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon is the novel told in free-verse that you never knew you needed to read. Epic in scope but always deeply rooted in its humanity, it defies genres and expectations. Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon is the novel told in free-verse that you never knew you needed to read. Epic in scope but always deeply rooted in its humanity, it defies genres and expectations.“Pantheon is a thrilling philosophical journey exploring the depth and meaning for one passing through a metaphorical world of inner demons and dragons, goddesses of the soul, of warrior and poet. A journey that crosses boundaries of time, space, and perception. I am captured by the intimate revelations of this intuitive and sympathetic protagonist battling the dark ages of his subconscious moving instinctively forward into innerscape, relying upon and exalting the virtue goddesses that guide and deliver him from barbarity and trial by ordeal both physical and spiritually as he transports from one state of being to another, from one point of time to another.” -Holly Rene Hunter

“Syrdal, a self-proclaimed romantic and sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, does not disappoint: He deftly weaves a tale of adventure, his protagonists crossing paths with virtuous Goddesses, who coax them toward their destinies.

As I read the first section, I worried that Pantheon was a little too heavy on the usual themes of fantasy and fairy tale: Warhorses champing at the bit, armored fighters, swords at the ready, the proverbial dragon looming over the embattled heroic Poet. Despite this, I continued on and was glad I did, for Syrdal quickly demonstrates that his story stands apart from, and above, the typical. With Courage and the Queen of Hearts at his side, and Hope, Grace, Mercy, Karma, and Fate in the shadows, the Poet must make a pivotal decision. His choice at that critical moment is masterfully mirrored in the subsequent sections of the book, and I marveled time and again at the way Syrdal coherently connected his multiple story lines, the seams necessarily apparent but still flawless.

Pantheon finishes as epically as it began. All along, the Queen of Hearts and her sisters have artfully molded their heroes’ journeys, bringing them back to central truths about life and love. Should you read this book (and you should!), I trust that the imagery of that final section will be long lasting in your mind, along with a sense of awe at Syrdal’s beautifully written verse and sense of literary craftsmanship.” -Mariah Voutilainen, (re)imagining the mundane

Pantheon is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & NobleBookshop.orgIndieBoundChapters/IndigoWaterstonesBook Depository, and from other major online retailers.

Indie Blu(e) Publishing began as a humble poetry publishers and since then have taken on several prose authors with a view to expanding our particular brand of fiction. If you think you have a novella or short novel that fits Indie Blu(e)’s dimensions, consider sending it our way. Indie Blu(e) loves the off-the-chart, highly original, unique and strange. We are passionate about reading and literature, wanting to publish those books we love and believe in to expand our dimensions and your mind.

Suffering brings strength

Indie Blu(e) has published a number of ‘difficult’ subjects, including our We Will Not Be Silenced (anthology) on sexual-assault/rape, #metoo, Through The Looking Glass (anthology) on mental illness, and But, You Don’t Look Sick (anthology) on invisible physical illnesses.

We’ve been asked – why go there?

In may ways the crux of our existence as a publisher is based on suffering and the strength that has been borne out of that suffering. As odd as that may sound it’s how suffering usually works. People who go through hard times, are often true survivors and their voices, their art and passions, their very life energies, are forever changed.

We don’t believe subjects traditionally shied away from, should be buried and ignored. We believe in transparency, and the healing power of speaking your truth. By being open about suffering, we are all in it together, instead of judging one another, or segregating our experiences. Promoting awareness promotes change. Our titles encourage this raw experience and indepth examination of issues others may ignore, because we see strength in suffering and survival.

Indie Blu(e) literally began because Editor-in-Chief Christine Ray, became physically unwell and realized she could no longer keep up her demanding career. It was a terrible blow given Ray’s passion for her careers and her devotion to what she loved. Not only was her identity wrapped up in this but she didn’t know how she would be without it.

At the same time Kindra Austin had been contending with her own severe illness and the loss of loved ones in her immediate family. When many would have given up and faded away, these two creative souls came together and formed a publishing company. Their intention was always to be the voice for the unheard, the overlooked. The talents that were passed by, or too fragile to struggle through the publishing process. They wanted to address the taboo, neglected subjects and shine a light in the darkness.

Candice Daquin joined them almost from the onset, having worked with them and appreciated their devotion to their craft. Between the three of them and later on including the unstoppable talents of Victoria Manzi, they began publishing relevant, hard hitting, unapologetic books of talented, suffering, strong and beautiful writers and artists.

“Our goals were never about profit. We wanted to be the kind of publisher we’d have sought out if we hadn’t started a publishing company” Said Kindra Austin in an interview on the genesis behind IB. “We are all affected by illness, we know how it can ravage you mentally and physically and that’s why we put so much love into this company and the books we produce. We want to ensure those often marginalized raw voices are heard.”

Christine Ray is an active campaigner for the reform of how invisible illness is viewed by society. She also stands up for the changing of laws for sexual assault awareness. Candice Daquin worked for years in Rape Crisis Centers as a Psychotherapist and always felt not enough was being said or done to harness change. “If we can change one closed mind or give one person hope with the breadth and vision of our writers, then it was worth it,” said Daquin.

Indie Blu(e) literally was carved out of a desire to help bring neglected voices to life. We believe passionately that through suffering comes a creative strength that is unstoppable. We are actively involved in trying to effect change with every title we publish. We stand behind our authors and artists as believers of truth, justice and equality.

If you are a talented writer and are hiding your work under a bushel and want to team with a publisher who gets you, cares about you and will do their best for you, considering submitting to Indie Blu(e).

We are looking for marginalized, minority voices that need a supportive home for their best work. We are seeking authors of fiction to round out our 2022 collection and encourage you to send your best work to us when we open for submissions later this month. Know someone who is a superb writer? Let them know about us.

Authors in Indie Blu(e) Anthologies: Susi Bocks

One idea we had that we thought might be fun is to highlight some of the authors, artists and writers IN Indie Blu(e) Anthologies. So with some regularity that’s the plan. If you have had work in an Indie Blu(e) anthology we’d LOVE to hear from you about your latest work and plug it here.

Indie Blu(e) believes passionately in getting to know our authors/artists/writers and this is one way the rest of you can find out more about the incredible people we’ve had the honor to host in our anthologies. Perhaps it will also bewitch you into purchasing a copy, but first and foremost, we want you to meet our talent.

With that in mind I’d like to introduce you to Susi Bocks who has been in several Indie Blu(e) anthologies including SMITTEN – This Is What Love Looks Like: Poetry by Women for Women, Through the Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within and As the World Burns: Writers and Artists Reflect on a World Gone Mad.

Susi Bocks, writer/author/poet, has self-published two books – Feeling Human and Every Day I Pause. She is also editor of The Short of It which produced an anthology – The Sound of Brilliance. Bocks’ has works published in numerous anthologies and literary magazines. Moreover she’s one of the most giving writers out there, always helping out others, as well as having an incredible work ethic. Bocks also edits and has an impressive client list and a superb track-record in helping others bring their works to fruition. Here’s an interview of her.

Work featured in Journals: Down in the DirtEskimo Pie, Fictional CaféProlific PressPure HaikuScarlet Leaf ReviewVita Brevis, she also contributed to the recent Life In Quarantine project.

You can hear her reading here on YouTube.

Email: iwriteherblog@gmail.comWebsite: @SusiBocks

At first glance, Susi’s passion for short poetry might not seem a close match, but good poetry is good poetry and both as a writer and editor herself, Susi has that knack for recognizing talent and writing her own superb poems. She’s had a varied life, working in many fields in many places and maybe this experience has brought a depth to her work that alludes others. Moreover, Susi genuinely loves people and this shows in her continuous promotion of others and generous spirit.

We’d worked with Susi a number of times before she was published in our anthologies but since we first met, we’ve had nothing but positive things to say about her. She’s one of those true workers who just knuckles down and gets it done. Given most of us work from home, this can be easier said than done and watching her produce large volumes of work by herself unaided, is incredibly impressive. Susi is one of those quiet creatives who just ploughs on until she’s finished and then presents something incredible.

"travel to the stars
past conscious experience
into the surreal"
(Published in Pure Haiku) 

We highly recommend you consider following Susi at WordPress via her I Write Her website, which she does a superb job of, and always generously features other poets too. Fun fact, Susi spent a lot of time in Germany and is fluent in German. She’s a wonderfully kind and intelligent human-being and we’re so proud to have writers of her caliber in our anthologies. If your work has been in an Indie Blu(e) publication, drop us a line and let us know a few things about you so we can feature you here. When we promote each other, we promote goodness.

Here Susi Bocks is on SoundCloud reading from SMITTEN

You can purchase all her published works here.

What a joy when we collaborate with talented people we met via WordPress and then get to brag about how great they are, having worked with them and published their work in our anthologies. That’s truly the arc of what’s best about working in publishing and we’re eternally grateful to everyone who submits to an Indie Blu(e) anthology.

Christine’s Tried and True Process for Creating a Poetry Manuscript

Now that I have had a little time to get past the mad 2021 publishing rush and the holidays, I have started thinking about the exciting projects Indie Blu(e) Publishings has lined up for 2022. Every publishing journey starts with a manuscript and creating the first draft of a poetry/prose collection can feel very daunting. I know I felt completely overwhelmed and ill-prepared when my writing mentor suggested that I was ready to put out my first book. Thankfully, I received some fabulous advice from published poets Nicole Lyons and Rana Kelly about how to assemble a manuscript that I still rely on. Creating a manuscript that gets published is a process. This is a process that may take you a long weekend or it could take months- I suggest that you take as much time with this as you need.

Please keep in mind that every publisher will have their own manuscript formatting guidelines and that these should be followed closely.

1. Print out (or at least locate) everything you have written since you started your writing journey. And I mean everything.  I considered over 400 pieces of poetry, prose, and short fiction for my books. I had no idea that I had written so many pieces and I found more than one piece that I had NO memory of having ever written. Some of these were even pretty good!

2. Read each piece and ask yourself if it still speaks to you. Ask yourself if it is your best writing. Then assign each piece to a ‘yes’ pile (or list), a ‘no’ pile (or list), or a ‘maybe’ pile (or list).

3. Put the ‘no’ pile away for a rainy day and the ‘maybe’ pile somewhere more accessible for later.

4. Read the ‘yes’s again and write down the theme(s) each piece addresses (love, loss, identity, etc.). As you read, separate the pieces into piles by the primary theme. True confessions- when I was working on my own books and when I assemble anthologies, I end up with piles of paper on every conceivable surface. It might not be a process you want to start on the dining room table an hour before dinner!

5. Look carefully at the piles- what story is your writing telling?  Some themed piles will be much taller than others. Consider the shorter piles carefully. Can they be rolled into a larger theme?  Are there pieces in your ‘maybe’ pile that fit this theme?  Is this a theme for a future book?

6. Organize the pieces in each themed pile in a way that makes sense to you.  It could be chronological, it could be an evolution of feeling. Really, this is an intuitive process for me.  Ask yourself how similar the pieces are to each other. I found that I use some imagery more regularly than others. Sometimes even word for word. If I expressed something better in one piece than I did in another very similar piece, I removed the very similar piece and put it in the ‘no’ pile.

6.  Re-review your ‘maybe’ pile. Now that you know what themes have emerged from your writing, you may be able to make more concrete decisions about what doesn’t fit, what is already expressed better somewhere else, and what might help fill out a theme with fewer pieces. You are trying to meet two objectives here- you want to build your manuscript around the best/most compelling pieces you have ever written, but you also want to tell a cohesive story. I have some very good pieces set aside for future books because they just didn’t ‘fit’ the predominant themes when I organized my two poetry collections. Hopefully, they’ll work in the future.

7. Organize the themed piles in an order that makes sense to you and create a manuscript. Don’t worry too much about sections at this point- sometimes it makes sense to divide a book into sections, sometimes it doesn’t.  

8. Format the manuscript so it is as clean and easy to read as you can make it for a prospective publisher and/or agent. I prefer to receive manuscripts in 12 point Arial or Times Roman font with 1.5 or 2 line spacing. I prefer page breaks between pieces, not hard returns. Normal Word margins are fine. I recommend that all pieces be aligned to the left. Note: special formatting is torture during book layout; if you choose to use special formatting on any of your writing, make sure it really adds to the impact of a piece.  Otherwise, you are sending the person responsible for laying out your final manuscript to formatting hell.

9. Most publishers will have their own policy about front and back matter. Read and follow their requirements carefully! Frontmatter material usually includes the title page, dedication, and Table of Contents. Back matter material commonly includes an About the Author page. The acknowledgments may go in the back or the front matter. Page numbers are important. I highly recommend putting the manuscript’s proposed title and your name in the header section.

10. Give some thought to your document title when you save the file. Writers and editors send manuscript versions back and forth with great regularity. I recommend incorporating the manuscript title, your last name, and the date of the draft in the file name. Version dates (and sometimes even version time!) can become very important right before final publication.

11. Details matter! Go through your draft manuscript one last time before you submit it to a prospective publisher or agent. Does each piece have a title? Were you consistent with your use of capitalization, punctuation, and verb tenses? Were you consistent with your use of italics, single quotation marks, double quotation marks, em dashes, etc? Was the piece previously published elsewhere? Be sure to acknowledge that. Correct any noticeable typos and spelling errors. A clean, consistent manuscript allows the reader to focus on the writing, not the formatting!

12. When I used to work in academia, I received a critical piece of writing advice from a grant reviewer that I always keep in mind: It is important to write- and format- for your most tired reviewer! Make sure everything the publisher/agent requested is there and in the place they asked for it to be. Messy or confusing manuscripts make a bad first impression. Inability or unwillingness to follow directions makes a bad first impression. Take the time to put the focus on the quality of your writing and your respect for the time and experience of the reviewer.

Wishing you all a safe, peaceful, and creative New Year.


Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash