The Gift of Words: But You Don’t Look Sick: The Real Life Adventures of Fibro Bitches, Lupus Warriors, and Other Superheroes Battling Invisible Illness

As you finish up your holiday shopping, the Editors recommend adding one (or more!) of our fabulous titles to your list.

But You Don’t Look Sick: The Real Life Adventures of Fibro Bitches, Lupus Warriors, and other Superheroes Battling Invisible Illness features 123 powerful voices living with invisible chronic illnesses— voices often stigmatized, ignored, or isolated by society. These pages are emblazoned with the words and art of those waging a war against a wide range of debilitating, and often unseen, illnesses. The reader will journey deep into the lives of the contributors, intimately sharing moments of pain, heartbreak, loneliness, strength, courage, humor, and survival. These voices are both revelation and revolution, an unstoppable force pieced together by writers and artists worldwide, demonstrating what happens when warriors come together to educate and fight for their truths to be heard.

“[But You Don’t Look Sick] exposes the gendered, racialized and class-based inequalities that persist within the realms of diagnosis and healthcare provision, while underscoring the urgency of activism, education and the ongoing fight for justice for individuals with invisible illnesses.”


– Dr. Tanfer Emin Tunc, Professor of American Studies at Hacettepe University

“Above all, however, But You Don’t Look Sick is a powerful human showing of how opening to one’s pain generates courage and helps spread awareness. By opening the heart and manifesting compassion, this book helps drive change.”


– Jaya Avendel, Author & the poetic voice behind Nin Chronicles

“‘But You Don’t Look Sick’ explores the forgotten, unspoken and ugly-beautiful nooks of chronic illness. Because there are profound moments of horror and beauty when you’re hovering between worlds, on days when you feel you can’t do it anymore, in the silent hours when you really question if you’re actually there, physically existing. . . Educate me. Educate all of us. We need it.”

Beverley Butcher, Author of ‘Sisterhood of Broken Dolls’ included in the anthology ‘Disturbing the Body’, @boudiccapress, March 2021

“This book is not only valuable for people living with invisible illness but should be required reading for those living and working alongside them. Which is to say, all of us…

The wellness industry has convinced the majority that with money, intention and the perfect execution of diet, exercise and hygiene one’s health is simply an issue of personal choice. For people with untreatable conditions, the judgement from society is unrelenting. If their health isn’t a perverse lifestyle decision, it must be a ploy to shirk the moral imperative to sacrifice themselves either to a career or to the physical and emotional care of others. But You Don’t Look Sick is both beautifully crafted and a damning examination of the complex harm caused by these social biases.”

Melissa Hill, Political Artist and Board Member of the disability arts charity DAO in the UK

“As a woman who has lived her life battling an invisible illness and chronic pain, I found myself swept up in the compelling collection, But You Don’t Look Sick: The Real Life Adventures of Fibro Bitches, Lupus Warriors, and other Superheroes Battling Invisible Illness. The raw truth in each person’s journey was heart wrenching, eye opening, and emotionally captivating. I found myself devouring this book piece after piece until I’d read the book all the way through.”

Ravven White, Author of ‘I am Ravven'”

But You Don’t Look Sick: The Real Life Adventures of Fibro Bitches, Lupus Warriors, and Other Superheroes Battling Invisible Illness is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, Waterstones, Book Depository, and from other major online retailers.

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1951724139

The Gift of Words: Composition of a Woman – Christine E. Ray

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Christine E. Ray’s award-winning debut poetry collection Composition of a Woman has been rereleased by Indie Blu(e) Publishing with 36 stunning new pieces of poetry and prose. Originally released in 2018 and awarded a Bronze Medal from the Readers Favorites Book Awards, Composition has been described as “an extraordinary glimpse into the essence of what it takes to make, and sometimes simultaneously break, a woman as strikingly powerful as she is beautiful.”

Split into five sections (Nerve, Brain, Breast, Rib, and Blood), Ray delves deeply into chronic invisible illness, depression, love, loss, and identity.

“The ingenious anatomical structure remains, with Ray taking us on a journey through her experience of physical and mental health, love, loss and being a warrior, feminist and advocate for many. The new pieces fit in seamlessly with the story Ray had begun to tell from the collection’s first release. . .”

-Kristiana Reed, Flowers on the Wall

“Poet Christine Ray’s first printed collection of poetry Composition of a Woman . . . is a striking, fearless foray into the psyche of womanhood, both highly relatable and intensely personal for female readers and achingly candid and fascinating for male.”

-Candice Louisa Daquin, Pinch the Lock

“Christine Ray brilliantly split Composition into five thoughtful sections that work together beautifully to deliver the maximum impact of each poem while taking the reader deeper into a stunning journey of the mind, the body, the very soul of this person. In Composition, Christine Ray reveals so much of what we try to hide, and she does so while dancing between ruthlessly beautiful and heartbreakingly painful.”

-Nicole Lyons, The Lithium Chronicles Volumes One and Two

Composition of a Woman is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, Chapters/Indigo, Waterstones, Book Depository, and from other major online retailers.

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1732800076

About the Author

Christine E. Ray (She/Her) lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A former Managing Editor of Sudden Denouement Publications, she co-founded Indie Blu(e) Publishing with Kindra M. Austin in September 2018. Ray is the author of Composition of a Woman and The Myths of Girlhood. Her writing has also been featured in Through The Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within, As The World Burns: Writers and Artists Reflect on a World Gone Mad, SMITTEN: This Is What Love Looks Like, We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art, Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, Swear to Me (Nicholas Gagnier), and All the Lonely People (Nicholas Gagnier).

Read more of her work at https://braveandrecklessblog.com/.

The Gift of Words: Pantheon – Eric Syrdal

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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, Indie Blu(e)

“There is nothing unoriginal about this novel, it’s just a gripping, incredible tour de force and explosive, emotive, classic that I believe will continue to take the indie market by storm. To try to describe it would take far too long, think Neil Gaiman on ecstasy and set on fire by starlight and you may be close.

If it is your desire to read something astoundingly original, from a writer who is not only a truly breathtaking author, deft with supernatural words and ideas, but a dreamer of worlds, who will blow any preconceived notions you have away and leave you shell-shocked by the sheer power of his mind, then I cannot recommend Eric Syrdal and his novel Pantheon more highly. ‘I built this beach / and the stars / and the moon I turn back the wheels of heaven / and make time stop and rewind / over and over … Because I don’t know how to tell him / A machine had a wish.'”

-Candice Louisa Daquin, author of Pinch the Lock

Pantheon is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, Chapters/Indigo, Waterstones, Book Depository, and from other major online retailers.

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1732800083


About the Author

Eric Syrdal is a poet/author. He’s an avid gamer and Sci-Fi enthusiast. He enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy literature and spends a great deal of his writing time focused in those genres. He is a romantic, at heart. His work usually contains elements of the supernatural and fantastic along with potent female voices and archetypes.

Syrdal is from New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lives with his wife and two children. You can follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

The Gift of Words: The Lithium Chronicles: Volume Two – Nicole Lyons

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Raw. Fierce. Brave. Brazen. Honest. These words are often (and accurately) used to describe Nicole Lyons’ writing. She has also been called a crazy bitch; the real burn is that Nicole lives so much inside her truths, she’s able to say, “Yes. I am a crazy bitch.” One of the things her fans admire most about Lyons is that she never allows naysayers to hold power over her. Lyons takes what is meant to be derogatory and makes it into a crown. Bipolar Affective Disorder, however, doesn’t genuflect before her; BAD is always seeking to usurp the reign she has over herself. In her fifth collection of poetry, Lyons is more raw, urgent, and intimate than ever before. She grabs the reader by the throat and does not let go until she has said everything she came to say. By the end of this exhilarating journey, we will have seen the things that have made her into a humble woman, and we will respect her all the more.

“In the Lithium Chronicles Volume Two, we see the raw and the real of Nicole Lyons, absolutely nothing is sugarcoated. Her words draw you in with imagery so vivid it feels like you are there in the thick of it with her, in every piece she writes feeling everything she felt, and then she guts you in an amazing way. Nicole Lyons is incredibly talented, and The Lithium Chronicles Volume Two truly moved me.”
– Kayil York, 11:11

“Nicole Lyons makes me fall in love with all the darkest parts of myself that I once despised. She leaves no room for error, enabling me to look right into the heart of myself with the clearest of vision, and to ever so gently swim my way through her words that ultimately lead me back to who I am.”
– Rachel Finch, Conversations With My Higher Self


Nicole Lyons weaves a seductive and truthful web of words that are impossible to run from. From pain, to pleasure, to absolute strength and power, this collection of poetry is a raw and honest example of how pain can leave us better than it found us.
– Caroline White, Chasing Myself

“There’s a visceral raw energy to Lyons work that speaks of magic, nature, humanity and suffering as well as always, hope and beauty. The gift of grafting both extremes may come from her battle with light and darkness. She is a woman who cannot do things in halves. She must either burn out entirely or not at all. There is no fade in this poet, she’s not middling, if you see the trees alight, it’s she who’s torched the forest.”

– Candice Louisa Daquin, Pinch the Lock

The Lithium Chronicles: Volume Two is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, Chapters/Indigo, Waterstones, Book Depository, and from other major online retailers.

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1951724016


About the Author

Nicole Lyons is a force of nature disguised as a writer, a social activist, a voice for the downtrodden, and a powerful poet with a delicate touch. She is an award-winning poet and bestselling published author.

Her work has been featured on CBC Books as well as numerous online magazines and print anthologies.

Nicole was inducted into The Mental health Writer’s Guild in 2015 for her work on The Lithium Chronicles, Psych Central, The Mighty, and the International Bipolar Foundation.

In her free time, Nicole volunteers as a speaker and event coordinator with a Canadian non-profit that focuses on suicide awareness and prevention in children and teens.

She lives a good life in beautiful British Columbia with her brilliant daughters and an amazing husband.

From a sunny porch in beautiful British Columbia, Nicole is enjoying a glass of wine and working on her next collection of poetry.

To connect with Nicole on social media, follow her below:
Facebook: @nicolelyonspoetry
Instagram: @nicolelyonspoetry
Twitter: @nicolelyonspoet
thelithiumchronicles.org

The Gift of Words: Through The Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within

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Join 158 writers and artists from across the globe as they journey Through the Looking Glass to unveil the truth about life with mental illness. Diverse, raw, and urgent, the poetry, prose, and artwork in this anthology dig deep into the experience of living with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other conditions, as well as the challenges of loving someone who struggles with such an illness.

Full of hope and despair, acceptance and rebellion, the creativity contained within these pages reflects the reality that we cannot walk around or behind the looking glass, but must walk through it unflinchingly to educate, foster compassion, and reduce the stigma so often associated with mental illness.

“Perhaps one of Indie Blu(e)’s most vulnerable anthologies, much like We Will Not Be Silenced, this latest anthology opens our eyes and hearts to the struggles of mental illness, without judgement… This is another reason to admire the work achieved by this indie publisher. The individual is cradled in an anthology but their truth and their story are never stifled. And so, it is a pleasure to read and enjoy Through the Looking Glass; to lend your eyes and ears to a myriad of talent all reminding us we are far from alone and that there is hope.”

Kristiana Reed, author of Between the Trees and Flowers on the Wall.

“Many editors of anthologies might balk at publishing such raw material, but the commitment of Indie Blu(e) is to give voice to what is so often silenced, sanitized, hidden, and there is in this enterprise something that gives us all hope. For by speaking out our deepest experiences of trauma, abuse and unhappiness there comes a sense of freedom, a sense of the possibility of recognition, connection, acceptance. And thus healing. We are not alone. Others are battling similar enemies. We are lovable. Our feelings are valid. We belong to the human race. We deserve to live.

. . . Many readers will nevertheless see the book as providing a bleak picture of the state of mental health and the paucity of effective support across the world. Indie Blu(e) Publishing, in describing itself as a progressive force, might hope that this collection becomes a resource in the path to social reform. Or perhaps they are more ambitious than that – honoring these voices from chaos and pain demands nothing less than a revolution.”

Rhoda Thomas taught psychology, sociology and counselling for nearly 40 years. She is co-founder of Live Poets Society, a socialist poetry group in Wales, UK. Imago is her most recent poetry collection.

“The poems collected in Through the Looking Glass represent stories of human reality courageously told. The life truths revealed are often hidden and completely misperceived by the outside world. Here is the chance to recognize some of ourselves in these pages, our loved ones, colleagues, neighbors, the people we see casually in our cities, our towns and our communities every day. Only with understanding will empathy and compassion follow. These poems feel both painful and triumphant. To meet these talented and brave poets halfway, to do our part in obliterating the stigma of mental illness, can only make this world a better place.”

Virginia Watts, Author of The Werewolves of Elk Creek and Shot Full of Holes, (Moonstone Press).

Through The Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, Waterstones, Book Depository, and from other major online retailers.

ISBN-13: 978-1951724085