Indie Blu(e) Publishing Releases Arclight

Indie Blu(e) Publishing is thrilled to announce the release of  Arclight by John Biscello.

John Biscello is not simply a novelist and poet, but an alchemist of verses. In Arclight, Biscello captains a voyage that transcends the physical world with graceful introspection, and philosophical wonder. His reflective nature invites us to ponder our own life experiences and ideals. Arclight is a true tribute to the human heart. 

“I always saw the humanity

behind his thick-lidded eyes, the small child,

begging for a banquet of golden crumbs

to appease the motherache churning

in his heart and stomach.

A thousand lions

pitted against a studded

chain smoking beer gutted gladiator,

I saw that too, he, the lions, the gladiator,

the arena,

the smoke and booze,

all of it…”

from, I See Myself

Arclight is available from Amazon in print and Kindle version.

Book Review: Kindra M. Austin’s Twelve, by Mariah Voutilainen

Kindra Austin’s Twelve continues where Constant Muses left off, rich and intense.

By Mariah Voutilainen

After having read Constant Muses, I eagerly awaited the release of Kindra Austin’s Twelve.  I expected more of the imagery of Muses, with its cigarette smoke and endless cocktails.  While those common threads are there, Twelve favors the much more potent darkness of decay and memento mori.  In Twelve, Austin further exposes the connection between the corporeal and spiritual that she began to explore in Muses, through an emotional dissection of the year of grieving on her mother’s death.  And I felt it was a grieving ‘on’, not ‘over’:  she rests upon each painful moment of remembrance and exposes it to us fully, unapologetically.  It is that straightforward voice, plainly truthful, that compelled my own visceral response—and while I cannot fully describe in words how I felt, I do know that I was hit hard.  Austin forced me to look on the truth of death and how it can rip, how it can physically fragment those left behind.

Make me a whole person,” she writes in “An Emotionless Affair,” referring to the cracked-open ribs, bleeding hearts, vomit-stained sheets, bile and pus, immolated bones and disembodied flesh of the other poetry in the collection.  No therapy can put together what death has rent.  Still, Austin knows she can find a semblance of whole-ness in the act of writing, even as she despairs the loss of her mother-muse: “Who am I, if not a writer?” she asks rhetorically, in the poem “Your Absence is a Burglar.”  “Mother what am I supposed to do?  I’m so fucking tired of writing about you./But who am I, if not a writer?”

“Anyway, Always,” demonstrates the exorcistic role writing plays in Austin’s processing of death and steps toward healing:

Mother mine, I know your truths; yours are mine,

and I will defend them,

always.

I will make your ghosts and mine scream in terror.

Austin is her mother’s champion, but there is another who champions Austin.  She prefaces her work: “But dark as my days have been, there is one who keeps me tethered to the light…”  There are bright moments among the desperate ones.  These are found in “For My Truest of Loves,” “You Remind Me,” and the nuptial “Wedding Poem” all of which celebrate her own treasured daughter.  On many levels, dark and light, I saw the redemptive qualities of the fierce love between mother and daughter.

This book has overwhelmed me, it has slayed me with its truths.  Those were the thoughts that came to mind after consuming her book.  I don’t use the word “consume” lightly:  I ruminated as I read; her thoughts were nourishment for that part of me that ponders death.  Yet I felt as if my heart had been splayed open:  I didn’t know if I should cry, or just bear witness.  I admired and wondered yet again at Austin’s willingness to reveal herself, her assuredness that her readers would catch those emotions and cradle them.  That we could hold space for them, keep them safe, disperse them or preserve them.

Twelve is available on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.


Mariah Voutilainen, co-editor at Indie Blu(e), writes poetry and prose about all manner of things at www.reimaginingthemundane.wordpress.com.

Book Review: Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon, by Mariah Voutilainen

Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon takes readers on an epic journey through time, space and emotion

By Mariah Voutilainen

As a keen reader of sci-fi and fantasy novels, I was very impressed by Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon.  For me, the title alone recalled deities of myth, promised encounters with larger-than-life heroes, and set up an expectation of sweeping verse.  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.

Soon enough I saw and admired the Poet for what he was: a part of the human soul that comprehends the complicated relationship between suffering and joy; perhaps he is a reflection of Syrdal himself?  I cheered on the heroine, who takes the form of a talented cellist struggling with depression, an AI computer system designed to keep a deep-space traveler alive, the immortal and vengeful Daughter of the Phoenix.  In every incarnation, she engages in a struggle with fear and desire to realize her role in the workings of the universe.

I began to anticipate the arrival of the Goddesses, to appreciate their place in Syrdal’s cosmos, which spans time and space and delves deep into the human soul.   My three favorite sections of the volume, “Amor Vincit Omnia,” “Time and Again,” and “Lightspeed” occupy these dimensions beautifully.    “Amor Vincit Omnia,” the kernel of the novel, takes us to the mythical halls of the Goddesses and their sister-liege the Queen of Hearts, but also paints the earthly encounters between Fate and her most admired hero.  There is the presentation of the age-old question, “Love Conquers All/Is that phrase true?” The answer is given through the rendering of Fate’s essence.  Syrdal refines that essence and extracts it via her interactions with the Queen of Hearts:

When the talk

moved back to

the importance of

her duty

her resolve shattered

into a million teardrops

of pain

And this pain is multiplied within “Time and Again,” as the Poet is jettisoned from existence to existence, just so that he can fulfill a freeing, but horrifically soul-crushing directive.  At the culmination of each experience, he pleads with Mercy.  The reverberations of her pitying refrain “Not today, Love,” are heard as well in “Lightspeed,” a space operetta in which time and the chasm between human and artificial intelligence are, paradoxically, the hindrances to and the impetuses for love’s expression.

Ever wary of revealing an ending, I will still give you this:  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.

 

Pantheon, produced by Sudden Denouement Publishing, is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in paperback and Kindle formats.


Mariah Voutilainen is an aspiring writer who enjoys reading sci-fi/fantasy, flash fiction, and poetry of the medium-dark and romantic varieties.  She marvels at the beauty of everyday life in the Pacific Northwest.  Her ruminations on all manner of things can be found on her blog, (re)imagining the mundane.