Updates

Indie Blu(e) — Kindra M. Austin

Kindra M. Austin is one of those writers that can send tingles up and down your back with just a few words:

I can’t drive past
a dead animal splayed
and stinking on the side
of the road in the summer heat
without thinking of you….
[Dreadful]

She’s also one hell of a friend.

Her biography, and a listing of her published books, can be found at Indie Blu(e). So be sure to check it out.

~ Sarah Doughty

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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

Updates

Looking For Your Next Read? Try These From Sudden Denouement Publishing

Sudden Denouement Publishing has some
exciting titles available right now,
and more on the way.

Here’s a sampling of a few of them.

Machiavelli’s Backyard by David Lohrey

“We are radical practitioners of right thinking,
determined to destroy Western Civilization. We
must step back to move forward: first go the arts
and the Decorations, then the courts, the laws
and institutions. By the time we’re through,
they’ll be nothing left but vaginal jelly
and sawed-off shotguns.”

Superstition by Rana Kelly

“He told me my eyes
Are the color of whiskey
So I razed every still
From Eire to Alba
In rage
When he left me.”

I Am A World Of Uncertainties
Disguised As A Girl by Nicole Lyons

“My thoughts have turned
from racing to raging
to beasts beating
their great wings
against the cool shadows
in my mind.”

And Coming Soon!

Anthology Volume I: Writings from the
Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Head over to Sudden Denouement to find links to purchase your own copies and learn more!

Random Thoughts

The Dreaded Block

“The words may be on a break. But they’ll
be back. They always come back.”
Returning

I’m often asked about writer’s block. What to do? How to overcome it? How long will it last? These are all good questions, but they only really need one answer. Keep writing. Every day.

You may feel uninspired, like nothing you put on paper or type on the screen holds any value, but odds are, there is something there. Don’t delete them or throw them away. And the worst thing you can do is to put the pen away and do nothing.

There’s millions of things you can try to wake up your muse, but even if your mind comes up blank, you should write something. Even if it’s only a journal of what happened during your day.

My first fiction novel, Just Breathe, was based on a dream. Back then, I tended to forget my dreams and move on, but I was fortunate enough to journal the next day, and my mind kept going back to that scene. My focus shifted, and the story began to unfold. So, lovelies, don’t ignore your muse when it stirs, you might miss something incredible.

© Sarah Doughty

In the comments, let me know what you do to overcome creative blocks.

Updates

Sudden Denouement Is Recruiting

Sudden Denouement is a community of like-minded individuals who strive to share and promote each other’s writing.

But really, it’s so much more than that. They also happen to publish books from some pretty incredible people.

So if you’re a writer interested in joining this collective, either as a guest or a contributor, head to the link below to get acquainted with Sudden Denouement and find out how you can be a part of it.

Source: Sudden Denouement is seeking new writers

Random Thoughts

Discussion of “IT”

*Minor spoikers ahead. Proceed with caution.**
The thoughts expressed here are mine.

This was written in response to the discussion posted by Tyson Adams.

I was a fan of the Goosebumps books when I was six. So naturally I thought I was perfectly capable of handling the “It” miniseries when it was released. To say I was terrified was an understatement. But I was hooked. I dropped those Goosebumps like a bad habit and started reading Stephen King.

It, the book, was quite engrossing, but not so much scary. I liked the way the news reports were presented, and even the narrative of Pennywise gave us a new way of seeing him. But the chemistry with the Loser’s Club was really the core of it. Of course, there was that strange scene near the end of the kid’s journey that unified them and allowed them to become adults all in one go. Let’s just say, King’s voice of how was quite the odd method of achieving that goal. But otherwise, I rather enjoyed the story.

I’ve seen the miniseries from time to time over the years and remember those frights with fond appreciation. But I waited to watch “It” again in favor of having a somewhat cleansed palette. The theatrical version was so far beyond what I’d hoped for, that I saw it again a second time this past weekend. (Trust me, having C-PTSD and carefully planning an excursion into a dark theater full of people wasn’t easy.) The new Pennywise isn’t like Tim Curry’s portrayal, where he was apt to start cracking jokes, playing on actual clown humor around the few “scary” moments where he appeared as period-specific monsters.

Bill Skarsgard’s version is childlike in nature, but he has a deep hatred for kids. You can tell from the first, and notably more infamous “Georgie” scene. The way he terrifies his victims before attacking them is almost like marinating his food just the way he likes, and when the kids are good and terrified, he’s ready to save them for hibernation time. And he does this in various forms, depending on the individual fears of that child. For instance, rather than seeing Pennywise as the wolfman, Ritchie is just afraid of clowns, and naturally gets stuck in a room full of them. This adds a bit of timelessness to the movie. But when It is ready to take them for good, he toys with the kids in an almost animalistic way, much like a lion might play with a gazelle before ripping out its throat. But when he does this, his movements, voice, and abilities to shift reality are erratic, sometimes disturbingly fast, and very unpredictable, which is ultimately what makes this Pennywise so terrifying.

Of course, after my second viewing of the new movie, I went back to watch to miniseries. I have to say, the miniseries doesn’t do the movie justice. I spent most of my time rolling my eyes at the horrid acting (aside from Curry’s portrayal) and wondering how I was actually that scared at all in the first place. But the eyes of a young child, see much differently than adults. I can’t imagine how kids will react to this movie. I’m certain I won’t be allowing my son to see it until he’s at least the same age as the Loser’s Club.

© Sarah Doughty

Random Thoughts

Spectrums Of Writing

This was written as part of a discussion with the lovely Mandie Hines.

I think spectrums are everywhere, involving a great many things. When I started down this path of sharing my writing, I did it with the “fake it till you make it” idea in mind.

Outside of a few random pieces in high school and university, I’d never been published professionally before. But I wanted people to know I was serious about what I was doing. Yet, my confidence was very low. Showing that vulnerability wouldn’t quite be faking it, would it?

So I kept my head high and pushed through the anxiety that came with every post. Eventually, as I worked on my first novel, and my number of followers was growing, that anxiety eased. Eventually, it stopped. Several published (albeit free e-books only) books later, I feel I can safely say that I’m a writer now.

However, my confidence level hadn’t really changed much. Sure, I can see when people are just starting out, or if English isn’t their first language, but that doesn’t mean they can’t grow and learn. And when people do approach me, often on Instagram DM, they ask for advice or help because they see me as an authority figure. Or that I’m famous. A household name. But I’m no Stephen King. Even he, a repeating member of the #1 New York Times Bestseller club, says he’s the “literary equivalent of a cheeseburger and fries.” If that’s true, I’m the moldy cheese underneath a toddler’s carseat in a minivan.

I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, and I certainly don’t put myself in the category of being pretentious. There are several writers on Instagram that share parody pieces that is not only meant to insult readers, but the writers with a similar style. I cannot stand it when people do this, and I’ve spoken out against it before a few times. Art is subjective and not everyone is going to love a writer’s work. The same goes for Stephen King. Or J.K. Rowling. I see no reason why I should think I’ve hit some arbitrary milestone that makes me better than anyone else.

© Sarah Doughty

PTSD and Awareness

Thirteen Reasons Why Discussion #4

**Trigger Warning — This post covers a broad spectrum of potentially triggering topics, such as abuse, bullying, sexual assault, and suicide. Please read with caution. If you need to find help for any reason, go to 13ReasonsWhy.info.**

What Was Done Right: Part One

**Spoilers Ahead — proceed with caution.**

I’m back with another discussion post about the controversial TV show, Thirteen Reasons Why. If you haven’t already, feel free to read the introduction, The Problems: Parts OneTwo, and Three.

From the moment the show begins, up until that last moment before the final credits roll in episode thirteen, the writers and showrunners did many things right. These things, probably more than the problems combined, are what has stirred up so much controversy and conversation.

Many of these details are things you probably didn’t notice or fully understand unless you’ve watched this show from start to finish more than once or you’ve experienced something similar. And like any good story, very little was left to chance in the final editing and production.

What really sets this show apart from most others was that there was so much more going on under the surface. Things like symbolism, hints and clues, even in the most heartbreaking of moments: the accuracy.

Today, I’m talking about the little details.

To save you the trouble, I’m going to break them down for you. If you have watched this show and choose to revisit it to recognize these for yourself, you’ll at least know where to look.

The first, and arguably the biggest of these was the differentiation between the “current” and the “past” — more specifically, when Hannah Baker was still alive. While watching, you may not have noticed the underlying theme in these time shifts. You see, it wasn’t just an indication of time. It’s a subtle reminder, but of what?

Think about it. Whenever Clay is listening or going about his post-Hannah reality, we see that not only are the days shorter and colder, but so are the colors. Did you notice that the leaves aren’t fiery reds, oranges, and browns, but more muted? Did you notice how everything is tinged with blue?

Compare that with the flashbacks of Hannah, narrating each moment that led her to take her life, the moments Clay remembered as she did so, do you see it?

Everything is more vivid, colors are alive, and the warmth is evident, especially when time shifts. You can visibly see the change. This wasn’t done by chance. And though it is helpful to differentiate time, it also shows people that the world is darker and colder without Hannah in it.

You may have also noticed that Jeff wasn’t present in any of the post-Hannah scenes, except when Clay was dreaming or hallucinating. My first time watching, I didn’t make the connection that Jeff was the other student who was lost, shortly before Hannah’s death, until tape number ten.

How about the significance of the songs that played throughout the show? Did you like the way they sounded, or did you actually listen to the lyrics? Take the very first song in episode one as we see Clay at his locker. “More Than Gravity” by Colin and Caroline is playing. Here’s a line you can hear, “I can’t love you, I’m too scared to.” Significant? You bet. Heartbreaking too, if you know the rest of the story already.

What about the throwback songs (or covers) to the era of the cassette tapes? Did you happen to notice that many of them committed suicide or they were significantly tied to people that did? Take Chromatics’ “Into The Black,” which was originally written by Neil Young. “It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” was quoted in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note.

How about “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron? “Haunted by the ghost of you” not only refers to Clay’s current state of mind as he listens to the tapes, but those moments they danced together.

Take some time and give the songs a listen and maybe look them up for their significance. You might be surprised at what you find.

Did you notice the entirety of Hannah’s published poem? As Clay reads the second half of the poem to Hannah in the Crestmont Theater, it’s clear that the poem takes a much darker turn. Try going back to episode eight and listening to the words.

How about the semicolon tattoo on Tony’s arm? Did you miss that? What about the glances and questions surrounding Jessica’s “encounter” the night of her party? Did you notice them?

In the next post, I’m going to delve a little deeper into what happens with Jessica, and how one incident can change a person forever. So stay tuned for that.

© Sarah Doughty

PTSD and Awareness

Thirteen Reasons Why Discussion #3

**Trigger Warning — This post covers a broad spectrum of potentially triggering topics, such as abuse, bullying, sexual assault, and suicide. Please read with caution. If you need to find help for any reason, go to 13ReasonsWhy.info.**

The Problems: Part Three

**Spoilers Ahead — proceed with caution.**

I’m back with another discussion post about the controversial TV show, Thirteen Reasons Why. If you haven’t already, feel free to read the introduction, The Problems: Parts One and Two.

In this discussion I’m going to talk about the tapes. However, this is a two-sided discussion, because there was definitely a problem, but there was something the writers and showrunners did right. I’ll discuss the latter in a later post. This one is going to center around the “revenge plot” the world is up in arms about.
In Thirteen Reasons Why, Hannah Baker goes through a series of devastating events that build up over time and eventually take away her sense of self. In reason number ten, Hannah’s thoughts start to take a turn from lonely, objectified, and dejected, to something much darker.

After that (mostly) disastrous night at Jessica’s party, Sheri offers to take a drunken Hannah home. While distracted, Sheri ends up knocking down a stop sign and then abandons Hannah when she insists on calling the police. Within the minutes it takes her to reach the Blu Spot Liquor Store, a fatal accident occurs at the same intersection.

When Hannah realizes the location of the accident, she confronts Sheri, who then warns Hannah, “Keep your mouth shut,” and informs her that they shouldn’t be seen together going forward.

Being the kind of person Hannah is (continuing to be a friend to people that continuously turn their backs on her) she stays silent about fellow classmate, Jeff’s death. But, at the same time, she begins thinking, “It was becoming more than I could live with.” And from there, with increasing conviction, she believes that all she manages to do is make lives for everyone else worse, and that the world would be a better place without her.

Reason number twelve, arguably the worst of all the other reasons leading up to her decision to make the tapes, solidified her resolve. So, Hannah begins to write down a list of names and works out all the things that happened and who was responsible for them. As she finishes mapping everything out and the puzzle becomes clear, she makes the determination, “No one would ever hurt me again.”

Having heard of countless other people talk about their thoughts after experiencing similar events at school, I can understand Hannah’s last effort to stand up for herself. The problem is that she lacks the ability to see what kind of an effect her tapes would have on other people.

The thing people have a problem understanding is that Hannah has had everything stripped from her and she feels that the people responsible need to know what they’ve done to ruin her life. But why does she think that?

Many adults seem to forget what it was like being a teenager, and how everything seemed infinite. Permanent. That’s because the frontal lobe of a teenage brain hasn’t fully formed yet. Hannah was in the same situation. She couldn’t fathom any other option. And unfortunately for her, she didn’t have anyone to tell her otherwise.

The decision to include Clay in the tapes was arguably the worst part. Leading up to not-so-reason-number-eleven, he was tortured. Even awaiting reasons twelve and thirteen, Clay faced the reality of Hannah’s proverbial final nails in her coffin. All the while, Tony continuously tells him to listen to the tapes, because,  “It’s what Hannah wanted.” But, as a result, he felt constant fear and anxiety.

Even Hannah admits that Clay did nothing wrong, but she wanted him to know her reasons. Perhaps the most tragic thing she says to Clay in order to justify pushing him away is, “I would have ruined you.”

I know from my own past that if I was alone when the worst of my memories resurfaced, I don’t know how I would have survived. But more importantly, as I continue to try to push through my reality of complex PTSD, those very same thoughts pass through my head on a daily basis. I constantly question if my husband would be happier without me, because it feels as though my problems shouldn’t be his to bear as well.

As probably the only person that could have been there to change Hannah’s mind about suicide, Clay was ultimately clueless about what she was dealing with. She may not have realized how much damage she was doing to Clay, and her “revenge” on the others was her last, and she believed, only way to fight back after her death.

Right or wrong, making those tapes gave Clay — and, to a lesser extent, Tony — the chance to find some justice for her, when she couldn’t get it for herself. In a later post, I’ll discuss the other, positive side of her tapes.

© Sarah Doughty

Poetry

Review: Watercolor Words

This was originally shared as an exclusive sneak peak in the second poetry issue of Mailbox Eulogies a week ago. To join, click here.

I purchased this book at a signing and Topher Kearby was both kind and considerate to me and my family. I read the book that night and I really enjoyed the mix of typed poems, art, and poetry. Most of the poems resonated with me and I felt a deep connection with them. His unique way of expressing himself through his art is unlike anything I’ve seen before and I’m lucky to be a part of it.

5/5 Stars

Have a poetry book you’d like to recommend? Drop it in the comments or send me an email via my about page.

© Sarah Doughty