Praise for Pantheon by Eric Syrdal

“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
House of Heart

“The poetry is densely colourful, rich in imagery and sensuality, boldly imaginative and deeply sensitive to the human condition, while being written with clarity and emotional pull. I found myself sitting for three hours, empty coffee cups scattered around me, utterly absorbed in the storytelling and the crafting of language. Syrdal has created something very powerful, using elements of history, science fiction, worldly fantasy and unmistakable reality to bind these pieces together in a system of belief and fantastic-theology that appears utterly believable, utterly intoxicating.”

Lois E. Linkens

I won’t spoil the brilliant conclusion of this novel, suffice to say, 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
The Feathered Sleep

Sonata: Excerpt from Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon

She has seen evidence
of the beast
everywhere around her
Through the streets
of the city
it leaves its evidence
on the grey landscape

Scorch marks on the concrete
broken scales on the playgrounds
teeth shattered and discarded
in the gutter
shades of green and brown
but often clear like ice

She hears its wings
scraping on the sides
of their tenement
at night
While everyone but she
is sleeping

She’s heard its low growl
The heavy air of its presence
in the hallway
right outside her door

Pure of heart…

Her blood formed a natural
resistance to the beast

When the pressure of
the outside world bowed in
on her
The air would thicken enough
that she could hear its voice
speaking to her in rich whispers

But her life was solid and
secure behind the ramparts
she had spent the dearest
years of her existence building

And so…
she would go…
from gatehouse to field
from field to gatehouse
day in
day out
collecting her wages
from the lord of the land
Paying her tithe
to king and country

Feeding mouths which cannot feed themselves
saving the scraps for herself
Dining alone in the kitchen
When the rest of the world is in repose
fat and groggy on a full belly

Retiring herself to a lump-filled mattress
only when the hearts and breaths
of those around her
beat the slow rhythm of slumber

It is then,
In this time where dreams hang
just out of reach

That the dragon speaks

A thin crack
no bigger than a length of
brown hair
from her head
will let it filter in

The voice…
like salted butter
on warm bread
aged and beautiful
like a rich wine
from ancient Greece

What harm could be done?

let it inside
let it crawl around the floor
under the kitchen table
around the chair
sleep on the window sill

It steals a small, reptilian kiss
from her lips
like a playful suitor…

Watching TV at 3am
Away from home and the hearts that need her
In the moments between heartbeats

When the world takes its accusing eyes off of her

A flicker of a forked tongue
and
a trickle of fire
down the throat

Serpentuously sliding itself
around her heart
purring there
until morning

Leaving no trace

Gentlemanly stealing away
before dawn
taking with it, the guest key
sweetly provided
and leaving in its place
a lovely note of:

“fond wishes and thank you for a lovely evening”

Flowery signature
punctuated with a long stem rose

And so it comes to pass
that the dragon and the damsel
purchase a delicate peace
and defer payment to a
nondescript weekday of the far future

Pantheon is coming soon from Sudden Denouement Publishing


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.

He is from New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lives with wife and two children.  You can read more Eric’s writing at My Sword and ShieldWhisper and The Roar and can follow him on his Facebook Author Page

Coming Sunday, September 9th from Sudden Denouement Publishing: Nicole Lyons’ Blossom and Bone

“I can’t recommend this book enough. I had the honor of providing an honest review before the release, so all I can say is this: set your clocks, set a reminder on your phone. You are going to want to buy this book as soon as it hits the shelves. It belongs on every bookshelf of every person who has ever felt broken or misunderstood or afraid. Of every person who has felt love and loss and hope. Just wait until you see what Nicole Lyons has in store for you. Blossom and Bone will not disappoint. ”
Liz Newman, A Better Today Media

You can read Liz Newman’s full review of Blossom and Bone here.

Coming Soon from Sudden Denouement Publishing- Pantheon by Eric Syrdal

“I won’t spoil the brilliant conclusion of this novel, suffice to say, 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, Pinch the Lock

Nicole Lyons Book Review of Composition of a Woman by Christine Ray

I was thrilled when the brilliant Christine Ray of Brave and Reckless asked me to read and review an advanced copy of her debut collection, ‘Composition of a Woman’, and let me tell you guys, you are going to want to mark your calendars for its July 31st release date! This book is fire, unbridled, out of control, glorious fire!

Composition Of A Woman - Christine E Ray - CS.indd

Cover Design by Mitch Green


Christine Ray’s debut collection ‘Composition of a Woman’ is 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.

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.

While Ray’s work is often merciless in its unapologetic, in-your-face delivery

the mean girls smelled
like cruelty mixed with uncertainty
disdain peppered with insecurity
ravenous hunger and envy
(What Little Girls Are Made Of)

it is never short of exquisite

she brings black roses
and moonlight
fireflies like stars in her sky
bare feet caress the dewy ground
night blooming jasmine
reaching up to brush her opal skin
(Black Roses and Moonlight)

nor is it ever lacking in white-hot power

I will travel the ancient ways
clothed only in my dark tresses
my alabaster skin
don a crown of rose and poppy
their scent filling the air
I will take back this night
shape its darkness with my hands
make it blaze with stars and moonlight
create a road for my daughters and sisters
to follow home
(Lilith)

Christine Ray holds nothing back when she writes about the pain of depression and a failing body. She is raw and unashamed when she speaks to sexuality and the way society still reeks of misogyny and the absence of humanity. But at her very best she is empowering, speaking to the brave and reckless women who she lovingly refers to as sisters.

‘Composition’ is a beautiful book that takes the time to acknowledge that while some of the weight we carry through life may not be ours to carry, sometimes carrying it is just as important as knowing when to let it all go.

Find more of Christine’s work, and the work of those she champions at:

Whisper and the Roar
Blood Into Ink
Sudden Denouement
Indie Blu(e)

Sudden Denouement Publishing has definitely picked another winner with Christine Ray!


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 best selling published author, poet, and also a consulting editor for Sudden Denouement.

Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Composition of a Woman by Christine E. Ray

Poet Christine Ray’s first printed collection of poetry, Composition of a Woman (Sudden Denouement Press, 2018) 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.

Ray has already struck her mark as a writer of substance with her blog, Brave & Reckless and her involvement in the literary collective Sudden Denouement, but the bringing together of a cherished portion of her work on the subject of the feminine experience, is a special treat, enabling us to appreciate her breadth of understanding and the humor and tragedy behind the female.

From the very first poem, in her trademark fashion, Ray describes modern womanhood thus; “there is an unknown thief/black-clad/masked vigilante/stealing into my nights”  (The Body Politic). In many ways this is a canvas upon which she has illustrated pockets of life in such ways  “I am afraid/of disintegration” “I am routinely pricked with pins” (Vibrational Sensory Loss) most of us have felt this way in today’s world because of chronic illness and/or stress or loss of identity and voicing those emotions is both necessary and difficult, something Ray excels at.

Additionally this is the language of love gained and lost, thwarted and found, destroyed and remembered in a fantastical landscape. “symmetrical patterns/ captured briefly in the mirror/ before the spin of the wheel/ pulled us apart / leaving our jewel tone edges / aching from separation.” (Kaleidoscope) In this, the book has a lovely balance between literal and metaphysical suffering as well as being a testimony of a woman’s walk through life, and her ability to survive the un-survivable.

Ray’s distinctiveness comes from her inability to turn away from truth, her proffered confessional, and the blunt, often beautifully crafted mélange of accents, emotions and voices that spill from her depths.  “I have been waking / in one of two states / words pulling at me/ rousing me/ demanding.” (Brilliant Madness) . Her voice is one many of us have heard at night, and been pulled toward, before holding onto a fragment come morning, she is at once, impossible to quantify and disarmingly real, her charm is in the rendering of a universal experience of life.  “there is a point / where the pain starts / radiates out/ in a geometric/ arc / compresses / folds / reconfigures me / like an open fan.” (Accordion Folds).

The purpose of poetry is surely to form impressions of emotions hard to give words to. The poet is a painter of lives, the reader finds themselves in those shades and it is that recognized quill and truism that draws us to the poetic form, so immediate and unadulterated beyond the confines of prose. “how many empty shapes/ have been etched on my soul / like shadow / like negatives of photographs / from those who have been torn away.” (Loss is an Ocean). Therefore when a poet can become the photo album for a life time or a gender, they have successfully translated our unsaid experience, which is what Composition of a Woman does uncannily well. “I arise something new / wipe the blood from my mouth / spread fledgling wings / and with the lift of the north wind / I claim the night sky / mine.” (Raven).

Christine Ray is woman poet of today’s arrhythmic heartbeat, her transformation from within to without is best described in her poem Becoming a Poet, conveying how; “she was always struck by the juxtaposition / of her physical body / negotiating / close suburbs, …. while her heart and mind / wandered in the isolated wilderness / while errant words and wisps of dreams / and drops of feelings like rich, red blood / continued to seep out of her.” For so long, woman’s voices were repressed, by others, by themselves, by the system. Poets like Ray are the new generation, they’re not keeping quiet, they’re dragging by the neck all that hasn’t been said, all that is labeled shameful, and opening the cage doors. After all, freedom is found in truth.

Composition of a Woman will be released by Sudden Denouement Publishing on Tuesday, July 31st.  It will be available on Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon Europe and other major retailers.


Daquin’s own life, traveling from her native France, via England, Canada and finally the US, has brought a myriad of experiences that others have often been able to tap into via her writing. A collection of lives really, and with this, she tries to weave greater meaning through poetry and touch those who experience similar questions, doubts, and hopes. Surely this is what writing attempts in its very human form?

Daquin’s themes include feminism in its complex, everyday form, and the experience of being a woman, a gay woman, a bi-racial woman, a bi-cultural woman and finally, a Jewish woman of Egyptian extraction (Mizrahi) and how this sits with the world’s current revolt between the dominant faiths.

You can read more of her writing at The Feathered Sleep.

Sneak Peek: Nicole Lyons Reviews Composition of a Woman by Christine E. Ray

“Christine Ray’s debut collection ‘Composition of a Woman’ is 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.

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, I Am A World of Uncertainties Disguised As A Girl

Sneak Peak: Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Christine Ray’s Composition of a Woman

“Poet Christine Ray’s first printed collection of poetry, Composition of a Woman (Sudden Denouement Press, 2018) 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

 

Coming July 2018 from Sudden Denouement Publishing

Front cover cropped