Random Thoughts

SMITTEN Is A Must Read

Indie Blu(e)’s Smitten should be your newest gift of poetry

By Mariah Voutilainen

Before I begin to review Smitten, a book that lays bare and re-frames (in a very personal manner) the love that women have for women, I must be equally open.  As I formed my thoughts, I realized that I was (and am) extremely nervous about how to respond to these poems from my own heterosexual, cis female lens.  I felt this because I am a woman of color, one who feels the simmering heat of frustration when those who cannot ever know my experience want to take a stab at relating to it.  What I can say is the following:  While Smitten is a book about women who love women (from every-which perspective), of course, it is about love.  And I can relate to love.  I can understand first love, last love, forbidden love, unrequited love, the love of someone lost, the love of someone found.  The love of someone who saves.

But in truth, even as a woman of color married to a white man, I have not experienced love that is criticized or fetishized by outsiders, that is closeted by well (and not-so-well) meaning family.  I will never feel the excruciating pain of those who are beat down because of whom or how they love.  So, as I opened up my advance copy of Smitten, it was with delicate hands, an open and reverent heart—because that is how I wish my own poetry to be read.

Over a hundred poems about women, by women.  Can I say how exhilarating it is to have read so many at one go?  I happily recognized quite a few of the poets—hailing from an independent poetry network often curated by Indie Blu(e) Publishing:  Tara Caribou, Candice Louisa Daquin, Christine E. Ray, Kindra M. Austin and Georgia Park, to name a few.  But there was a mélange of poets new to me, whose unique voices were employed in a variety of styles from musical to prose to concrete poetry.  Among my favorites were Paula Jellis’ “I want a woman with a big bouffant,” Katherine DeGilio’s “Sunburned Shoulders,” Nick Kay’s “The Value of a Rusty Coin,” Jessica Jacobs’ “Out of the Windfields,” and Susan M. Conway’s “Letters to my Love.”

Would that I could list every single poem (my list is long), as they touched my sensibilities in different ways.  Some entreat us to dance to an inaudible tune; others confide to us the secrets of nerve-wracked first kisses; they relate the early-in-the-morning and late-at-night mundanities of love. But we are also invited to the troubled history of these loves in poems such as “Love is Our Theory” (Sean Heather K. McGraw), “Letter from Lock Up to the NYPD, June 1969, Christopher Street” (Melissa Fadul) and “You Don’t Deserve to Read About My Life” (Georgia Park).  These such poems are the ones that will be hardest to bear, but among the most important to read.

This is a book that should be gifted.  In spite of its implied audience, Smitten is not just for women who adore women.  It is for those whose hearts flutter and skin goosebumps at romance, who know the flight of butterflies in their stomachs and who long for the feeling of home in another’s heart.

 

SMITTEN This Is What Love Looks Like: Poetry by Women for Women an Anthology is now available on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions.   Request it at your local/international bookstores.


Mariah Voutilainen writes poetry and prose about all manner of things at www.reimaginingthemundane.wordpress.com.

PTSD and Awareness, Updates

The Importance Of We Will Not Be Silenced

When I began reading We Will Not Be Silenced, I was shocked at what waited for me. It wasn’t just the staggering statistics from the Forward. It wasn’t just the vivid, albeit brief, moments of just a few things a survivor may have experienced.

It was the onslaught
of my own history
coming back
up my throat like bile.

While this anthology needs to be read with great care – especially for those that have experienced some kind of abuse or assault in their lives, as it will no doubt be triggering – it is definitely something everyone should be aware of. These things are real. They happen at a staggering rate every day. And the more awareness we can spread about it, maybe – just maybe – we will be able to save someone from enduring some of, or escaping from, their own.

 

If you haven’t already done so, consider giving this anthology a read, as both print and Kindle versions are available. Or, consider gifting a copy to the Wish List to donate to organizations in need.

~ Sarah Doughty

Earthen Witch, Updates

Review Of Just Breathe From Indie Blue

I read somewhere that Sarah sees her writing poetry as a moment, whereas her writing fiction as a lifetime, and when I read this, it made total sense to me because I’ve read Sarah’s poetry for years and it is a moment, a strong powerful smack in the gut moment, but definitely a moment, whereas when I read her fiction, I can see the entire universe is being considered and she is methodical, paced and thorough in her plotting and building of characters.

Just Breathe delivered for me. I was surprised. Sarah knows her art, and she drew me into her world almost immediately.

I’m very familiar with Sarah’s poetry and have always appreciated her blunt and honest way of telling it like it is, that’s why it was a surprise to find out she is equally conversant and gifted with longer art forms. This isn’t just a hobby for her, you can tell she takes her writing very seriously and spends a lot of time ensuring she gets it right.

It doesn’t matter if a character
is a witch or a vampire
and whether those things exist
in our world or do not,
it matters that we believe
as we read that they are real.
That way we become
invested in them.

Aisling (the heroine) is the kind of woman that women can relate to and she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she feels is right. For this reason, Just Breathe is a deeply redemptive book and that alone makes it worthy of reading.

And with this I leave you with one recommendation, pick Sarah Doughty’s work out of the genre and let it Just Breathe.

Special thanks to Indie Blu(e) and Candice Louisa Daquin
for such an eloquent review of Just Breathe.
While this is merely an excerpt of the entire review,
I am beyond humbled at all the kind things
she had to say about the book.
To read the review in its entirety, click here.

~ Sarah Doughty

Updates

Introducing Indie Blu(e)

Indie Blu(e) was founded by Kindra Austin, Jimmi Campkin, and Christine Ray in 2018 as a vehicle to support both self-published writers and those published through small independent presses, as well as the readers who are passionate about independent writing. The concept for Indie Blu(e) grew out of the seed of the idea that individually independent writers have reach through word of mouth and social media, but that this reach could grow significantly if they networked with other independent writers to shine a spotlight on their collected body of work.

The founders of Indie Blu(e) want to offer a home for curated writers to promote their books, provide readers with honest, thoughtfully crafted book reviews and the opportunity to learn more about the member writers. Indie Blu(e) strives to be a hub for the type of edgy, high-quality writing that the founders love to read and want to share with a broader community of readers.

Be sure to check them out, there’s plenty more to come!

Also, if you use Instagram,
I’m going to launch Indie Blu(e)’s page
and will share all sorts of great content.
I look forward to seeing you there!
~ Sarah Doughty

Updates

Long Overdue: Superstition By Rana Kelly

I’ve been long overdue in announcing
Sudden Denouement Publishing’s
incredible poetry collection from Rana Kelly,
Superstition.

A review worth checking out:
Lois Linkens

Other reviews:
Goodreads

Where to get your copy:
Amazon US · Amazon UK · Book Depository

Updates

Long Overdue: I Am A World Of Uncertainties Disguised As A Girl By Nicole Lyons

I’ve been long overdue in announcing
Sudden Denouement Publishing’s
amazing poetry collection from Nicole Lyons,
I Am A World Of Uncertainties Disguised As A Girl.
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 a consulting editor at
Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.
She can be found on her website,
Instagram, and Twitter.

These are a few reviews worth checking out:
Georgia Park
Nicholas Gagnier

Other reviews:
Goodreads

Where to get your copy:
Amazon US · Amazon UK · Book Depository

Updates

A Sparrow Stirs its Wings By Rachel Finch Is Now Available

Sudden Denouement Publishing proudly announces
the release of Rachel Finch’s stunning book of poetry,
A Sparrow Stirs its Wings.
Finch is the powerhouse behind the
Bruised But Not Broken community on Facebook,
which provides support and healing for trauma survivors.
Her writings can also be found
on her website, and Blood Into Ink.
She is a symbol of hope and light throughout the world.

These are a few reviews worth checking out:
Faye K. Brown
Nicole Lyons

Find her book on Amazon.

 

Updates

Reviews For Sudden Denouement’s Anthology

Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective
has already met some impeccable milestones.
Not only did it release
#1 on Amazon’s Poetry Anthology list,
but the reviews are coming in
and they are glowing.

Advance Reader Copy Reviews:

Candice Louisa Daquin’s Review
Alfa’s Review
Mariah Voutilainen’s Review

Other reviews:

Goodreads

Where To Get Your Copy:

Amazon US · Amazon UK · Book Depository

Updates

Indie Blu(e) is Recruiting Member Authors

Indie Blu(e) is such an exciting
new site dedicated to
Indie writers and their books. 

Yesterday, you read about
a call for readers and reviewers
for writers of Indie Blu(e).

Today, I’m sending out
a call for writers.
Indie writers.
Are you wanting to join
this community
and make a positive change?

Head over here and get started.

~ Sarah Doughty

Updates

Help Wanted: Book Reviewers for Indie Blu(e)

Indie Blu(e) is such an exciting
new site dedicated to
Indie writers and their books. 

As many independent writers know,
reviews and exposure mean the difference
between having their books seen
or having them fall into an oblivion
of millions of other books.

Let’s work together and help them
stand out a little brighter.

Click here to learn more about
Indie Blu(e) and how you can help.

~ Sarah Doughty