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

here is my latest review on another amazing labor of love by Kindra M. Austin. if you haven’t read any of her work yet, you must!

Indie Blu(e) Publishing

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…

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

if you haven’t read Pantheon yet, it should be on your shortlist…

Indie Blu(e) Publishing

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…

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First Contact

on of my favorite flash fiction writer friends is sharing his amazing work in honor of his 40th birth-year. lots of marvelous pieces for all of you flash-fiction lovers!

MY 40

When the aliens arrived, we asked the scientists to figure out what they had come for first.

We asked the science fiction writers next.

We should have asked the poets sooner. They came for love.

“First Contact” was originally published in 2018 by Cuento Magazine, which has retweeted it as one of eight stories from its first eight years as part of its anniversary celebration.

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Review: Kindra M. Austin’s For You, Rowena, by Mariah Voutilainen

i’m back with a new review! please take a look at this intriguing novella by Kindra M. Austin. you won’t be disappointed!

Indie Blu(e) Publishing

Kindra Austin’s For You, Rowena uncovers a mystery about love and relationships, and how loss can come back to haunt you.

By Mariah Voutilainen

Given a choice of literary genres, mystery is never my first to pick up.  Perhaps it is the constant and nagging question in the back of my mind: “How did the author create such a puzzle that I can’t immediately solve?”  The details, perfectly interlocking, lead to an ending that is usually satisfying, but leaves me somehow disappointed with my own inability to catch the culprit before the final chapter, or worse, obsessing about tiny clues in an attempt to solve the crime.  For You, Rowena was a different type of mystery for me:  I didn’t wonder so much at the intricacies of how a crime was planned or carried out; Kindra Austin set the scene and created characters so fascinating and sympathetic that the only…

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Mariah Voutilainen reviews Christine Ray’s Composition of a Woman

if you haven’t already, please take a look at my review of Christine Ray’s Composition of a Woman. her book of poetry is a must-read!

Indie Blu(e) Publishing

Christine E. Ray’s Composition of a Woman invites readers to see what a woman is truly made of

By: Mariah Voutilainen

“Betrayal is an inside job” writes poet Christine E. Ray in her debut Composition of a Woman, which will be released July 31st by Sudden Denouement Press.   Ray, who unabashedly displays her “inner badass” on her blog Brave & Reckless, is no new-comer to the indie writing scene.  Careful contemplation went into the organization and creation of this volume, and as such, it speaks to Ray’s decades of experience in writing, years spent editing in the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, and curating in the writer collectives she helped to found, Go Dog Go Café and Indie Blu(e).  In poems strung together like delicate bones, Ray has crafted a personal story that sometimes hinges on the idea of betrayal, but also on the inner strength…

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here’s my last post to the mafia for a while…

The literati mafia

there is something

exquisitely and


eviscerating about

exploring one’s own


reaction to the


i am here and not here

i go unnoticed but yet

i am painfully present

i am one among hundreds

i appear as other so

i am (in)visible

i am (im)possible

i stop in the middle and they file around me

water around a boulder

it never notices

just keeps moving


©mariah voutilainen 2018

mariah is present at (re)imagining the mundane.

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…some of us practice daily escapism, and some of us write poetry about it. here’s my latest post to the Literati Mafia collective.

The literati mafia

i knock the last of my iced coffee back

like it’s a whiskey shot

grimace at the bitter taste of the brew

diluted with coconut almond milk

i got a lot to get done today

and so i toss a chaser of water down my gullet

not even bothering to swish my teeth

this is what life has come to

i have a flashback from my youth

listening to jethro tull because it was cool

to like bands from my parents’ childhood

when i was only thirteen

and in the throes of pre-self-discovery

i didn’t really understand the lyrics

like i didn’t understand

what life would come to

i know i have to pull myself together

but ian anderson’s flute is calling me

it was never my favorite music, still isn’t,

but somehow it’s chained me to this reverie

and so i sit here, putting off the inevitable

the cycles…

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