Review Of Magpie In August, Kindra M. Austin By Kristiana Reed

Originally posted on Indie Blu(e).

Austin stuns with her debut novel, Magpie in August. A lovingly written narrative about living, dying and the purgatory in between.

I’ve been an admirer and reader of Austin’s poetry since late 2016, a little while after she started poemsandparagraphs. Austin always writes honestly with the razor-sharp ability to steal the breath from my lungs and make me punch the air with my fist. However, I did not know what to expect with Magpie in August, except it grew out of her relationship with her late mother (as revealed in her interview with Sudden Denouement founder, Jasper Kerkau).

Within the first few pages, Magpie, our protagonist, was sketched into my mind in vivid magenta, violet and deep charcoal. Magpie’s love for Peter was palpable from the first time he called her ‘Beautiful’ as if it was her ‘God given name’. Her mother, Lynette, is an angel and demon wrapped up in one and Renny, Magpie’s reader and listener, a friend and foe. Austin leads us to believe we know everything there is to know about these people. Magpie can be cruel. Lynette is fickle and flippant. Peter is a watchful guardian and Renny is silent.

But, they are people, not characters and so our omniscient facade soon falls away. In every chapter, Austin gifts us a new angle, new mirror and new prism to refract everything we knew through. In fact, it is only Peter, quite fittingly, who remains the same.

Austin gave me a safe space to reflect on my own relationships, to draw parallels and thank my blessings. Her exploration of grief and loss is beautiful. A stunning, heart-wrenching tribute to the human condition and its difficulty to love unconditionally, when love, at the end of it all, is what we do best. Every person receives redemption of some form – Magpie, Lynette, Wren, Dalton (Magpie’s father) and even Jessica Wenzel.

Austin’s unwavering guidance into the darkness of rock bottom, Lake Huron and even the supernatural was superb. Authors like Cecelia Ahern (If You Could See Me Now), F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) and Douglas Kennedy (The Woman in the Fifth) came to mind as Austin matched their ability to write people not caricatures and take them to places we didn’t expect; never once causing the reader to doubt their ability in ensuring it all makes sense in the end.

Magpie in August ends just as it should. The Magpie who wakes up from a dreamy slumber in chapter 1 is the Magpie embracing all the earth and sky have to offer in the final chapter. Austin brings us full circle; allowing us to reap the rewards of a woman saving herself.

Magpie leaves us believing she deserves to breathe, love and wait for her

beloved stars to awaken silvery blue in an inky sky.’

To buy:


Kristiana Reed day dreams, people watches in coffee shops, teaches English and writes. She is a curator on Blood into Ink, a collective member of The Whisper and the Roar and blogs at My Screaming Twenties. She is 24 and is enjoying the journey which is finding her voice.

Introducing Indie Blu(e)

The writers and editors at Sudden Denouement are a productive group- some of them are actively involved in their local writer communities, many write and serve as editors for other literary collectives such as Whisper and the Roar and Blood Into Ink, and quite a few have self-published books or published with Sudden Denouement Publishing.  This spring, Sudden Denouement’s own Kindra Austin, Jimmi Campkin, and Christine Ray founded a new site, Indie Blu(e), as a vehicle to support self-published writers and small independent press published writers, 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. Indie Blu(e) offers 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. It strives to be a hub for the type of edgy, high-quality writing that the three founders love to read and want to share with a broader community of readers.

The editors of Sudden Denouement would like to introduce you today to this exciting new resource for indie writers and fans of indie books.  We think it is a site worth watching.

Jasper Kerkau Interviews Talia Carner


Jasper Kerkau recently sat down to chat with Talia Carner, author of  Hotel Moscow, Jerusalem Maiden, China Doll, and Puppet Child, and upcoming in 2019, The 4th Daughter.  Talia’s work is published by HarperCollins.

When I speak to writers, they often talk about a moment in which they decided to identify themselves, first and foremost, as a writer. Was there a moment like that for you, if so what precipitated it?

There was a time of “no man’s land” between my successful career as a marketing consultant to Fortune 500 companies and my nascent interest in fiction writing. While I had nothing to show—and certainly didn’t yet envision writing as a career—it consumed me both emotionally and intellectually. To compel myself to accept my new identity I printed business cards that read “Writer/ Marketing Consultant,” not only stating that I was a writer, but placing it first. That was the moment.

I have discovered that everyone has a book, writers are a dime a dozen: what has allowed you to succeed in a sea of dreamers?

Many people have interesting, complex life stories. That also means that they are potentially “one-book authors” who wish to write about themselves. Indeed, many do, mainly for posterity, if not out of need for self-introspection. That is not what my novels are about. My stories are completely imagined. As a character, I am yet to appear in any of my books, nor do I use any of my personal life’s dramatic events—with the exception of business-related experiences. (In PUPPET CHILD the protagonist works in magazine marketing, and HOTEL MOSCOW was based upon my teaching business in Russia.) What I do exploit, though, are the emotions, the sympathy toward social issues I care about, and I am able to crawl under the skin of each novel’s protagonist and live the events through her.

Then, of course, the key to success is rewriting, revising, restructuring and editing ad nauseam—except that it is a process I greatly enjoy. It’s no exaggeration to say that I go over each manuscript 50 to 80 times. Unfortunately, in these days of easy digital self-publishing many would-be writers skip this months- and years-long stage, and their books often reveal their impatience with the process.

There is a lot in your experience that young writers can glean and hope for. What advice would you give to those who are smitten by the passion for writing, but don’t know if it will lead the to anything except poverty?

Please allow me to dispel the notion that even success in publishing brings more than poverty. There are only a handful of American authors who make a comfortable living from their books; someone estimated that there are less than 100 such authors. Those are the ones publishing every year and selling millions of copies along with international rights. The rest of us, while successful in getting audiences’ praise and adulation still do not make enough to live on…. The simple math is that if a novel takes me four to six years of work, whatever I earn is divided by the many hours invested and means an income of merely a few cents per hour.

Many successful writers I know supplement their income by teaching creative writing, editing, or pitching magazine assignments. Therefore, a novice writer’s hope for riches is no different from an inner-city kid hoping to be the next Michael Jordan. I say: Just enjoy the basketball game (or the process of writing,) and find a lucrative career elsewhere.

I have found that fear of failure can be debilitating for many writers. What has been your experience embarking on a major project such as your last novel? Did you have that moment where you were paralyzed with fear?

I am never afraid, and therefore I don’t know what it feels like to be “paralyzed with fear.” I enjoy the intellectual challenge of each phase, and also know that there are worse problems in life. The worst that can happen when I launch a new project is that my finished novel might not find a home. Nevertheless, the writing is fulfilling in its own right, I learn a lot about subjects I never knew about—and anyway, if the novel is rejected now, it may get reincarnated years later. Every short story and essay that I put my mind to publish has indeed found a home, because there are hundreds of outlets and options; it’s a matter of persistence.

What is your latest project? How long did it take for your vision to come to fruition? What do you want the reader to take away from your book?

My next novel, scheduled to be released in Fall 2019 by HarperCollins is The 4th Daughter. It’s a story of tango and prostitution in Buenos Aires at the end of the 1800s. The topic percolated in my head for more than a decade. Surprisingly for me, once I found the groove of the story and started writing it, it took me only two years—not five as had my previous novels. However, this shorter time is no predictor for future works, because I’m already a year into researching my next novel (my #6) but am not writing it yet. I give myself five years to complete this book.

What I’d like readers to take from The 4th Daughter is the heart-wrenching inside picture of trafficking—and come out with the determination to bring a stop to human slavery.

Do you feel that there is something special about writers?

We are a bunch of people willing—and loving—to toil in silence and solitude for a very long time. We get transported into the lives and worlds of our characters to the point of routinely getting lost for many hours at a stretch. Does that make us special or quirky?

What is your experience communicating with other writers, and how important is that fellowship?

My writing group is an integral part of my writing process. I cherish their feedback and constructive critiquing as I develop a story. Over the years we’ve become close as we became familiar with each other’s inner worlds. Not all of my writing buddies are at the same point in our careers, and they may have different focus, but the common denominator is that they are good reviewers and we all care to invest time in each other’s work and help make the final product shine.

Once a manuscript is ready for publication, I get endorsements from other authors—often ones far more successful than I am, such as Nelson DeMille who had followed my career from the start (we used to sit on the same board of an art center.) HOTEL MOSCOW was one that covered his area of expertise, and his praise is printed on the front cover. Those blurbs that appear on the back cover and are quoted in press releases help launch a book out of the gate. I give forward by endorsing other authors’ pre-published books.

I am honored to have the chance to ask you questions. I hope that everyone would take the opportunity to read your books.

Learn more Talia at

Talia Carner 2


Talia 3


Sudden Denouement Publishing Releases Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Anthology Cover clean

“I sit on the left-hand of the gods and have a special dispensation to decode the secret, universal rhythms, find patterns in the whispers which are inaudible to profane ears.”

Jasper Kerkau/I am a F*cking Writer!

Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective is a thoughtfully curated compendium of the best writing published online by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective from its launch in August of 2016 through April 2018. It includes 138 pieces of cutting-edge poetry, prose and short fiction written by 29 diverse writers from England, Romania, Japan, India, Finland, the United States and Canada. Thirty-one of the 138 pieces were written exclusively for the Anthology. This volume captures the astonishing raw power of these individual and united poetic voices.

“One of the delights of this collection is the sheer diversity of voices, unconstrained, with differing syntax, forms, loss of form, deliberate omissions and styles, one moment you are reading a condensed prose-poem about the origin of life, the next a confessional bleeding rip from the heart about love and drugs. Nowhere else in modern collections have I found such a mélange of tongues, all begging questions, responses, emotions, some disgust, horror, desire. Volume I is a true kaleidoscope of the human experience, doused in realism and the phantasmagoric with absolutely no brake fluid.”
Candice Louisa Daquin, Pinch the Lock

“Sudden Denouement’s Anthology exposes and breaks many of the taboos of being truly and unashamedly human, giving us permission to look at and embrace them in the moment of reading. I was allowed a glimpse into the writers’ souls; comprehending their words was an exercise in the development of understanding human nature. This is a world in which the heaviness of life weights everything down until it is distilled—frustration and hate, love and unfiltered sex, bodily urges, addictions, the complexity of human interactions. Descriptions are brightly painful in some cases, transparently critical in others, but always smack of truth. Divergent work demands that there are no holds barred; the writer reveals everything, and cuts close to the bone, even his or her own, in order to create a pulsating, living amalgamation of words.”
Mariah Voutilainen, (re)imagining the mundane

“If you find yourself hungry for the kind of words that walk boldly into the dark filled spaces of your poetic heart, be prepared to put your dancing shoes on. This anthology is a collective kaleidoscope of fragmented and pulsing light from some of the most talented writers around the globe.”
Alfa, Abandoned Breathes

Available at, and Book Depository.

Paperback, 278 pages/Published June 20, 2018 by Sudden Denouement Publishing

Reviews of Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective:

Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Alfa Reviews Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Mariah Voutilainen Reviews Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Anthony Gorman

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.
What name do you write under?
I write under the name “Grumpy” Gorman. When I was in my teens, I wanted to write dark-tinged children’s poems under that pseudonym in homage to Mother Goose. Writing took a back-seat following a severely challenging mental health episode, and when I re-courted the craft, it was almost in reverse – I was writing tarred adult poems, with the familiar skip and ring of a kiddy write
In what part of the world do you live?
I live in Ottawa, Canada – a scenic city with a rich mix of cultures, but still quite conservative and stoic as a whole
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in a loving, well-intentioned home that was inhabited with the beast that is mental illness. It kind of dictated the pace and direction of the family dynamic, often resulting in the throb and unpredictability of mood and behaviour. I followed by dropping high school altogether due to schoolyard violence and bullying. Later, I re-connected with post-secondary education in a Social Work capacity and spent approximately fifteen years in and out of crisis work and working with individuals living with concurrent disorders. My lived experience provided me the credibility and compassion needed to engage the ‘perceived’ unable to engage “resilients” in a helpful manner. Much of my writing is my own processing of vicarious and lived experience trauma. Some compositions are autobiographical, yet many involve my inhabiting the perspective of someone I’ve had the honour of working alongside. It’s messy, but cathartic. I am a divorced father to two wonderful children who bring ceaseless smiles in the limited time I see them. I currently work part-time as an Educational Assistant in the local school board, primarily with children with alleged and diagnosed behavioural challenges. The students know me as Mr. Gorman, “Grumpy” swapped in place of, of course. I am passionate about word manipulation, visual art, music and all things sensual. I feel deep and dig deeper.
Where do you publish your work?
Hands In the Garden – Short Poems for Short Attention Spans
When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
A kindred friend introduced me to her WordPress blog about 5 years ago. We embarked on a short-lived collaborative project that involved discussion and examination of our senses and descriptions of their encounters with different world stimuli. I eventually started my own poetry and art site based on my suggested but rejected name for a band with my school-aged friends.
What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging?
As an individual who has limited social connections in my everyday life beyond the superficial and work-related, I have been able to connect with others who understand the value of the imaginative and oft affected spirit. I continue to blog because it keeps my mind creatively engaged and helps purge the clutter of the creaking brain.
How did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
Shamefully, I was ignorant to Sudden Denouement’s existence before having connected unknowingly with one of it’s writers and editors. I had seen the name in passing and had always valued the poetry that had accompanied the name, but was that it was a collective that was so appreciative of diversity of strength/breath and nature of the beautiful, and harsh debris scattered throughout. It helps, even if modestly, a rather ghastly wound in our general societal acceptance and acknowledgement of the impacts of experienced and vicarious traumas.
What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
I would liken my visual interpretation of divergent to that of a several-headed serpent attempting to strike in seven directions at once. That, or a muddled mind being prodded by different emotions simultaneously, often grating at each other or in complementary friction of one another. Difference, outside the norm thinking, writing free of the guilt, shame and judgment. Raw expression, met with compassion, ideally.
Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language.’ What is it?
The secret language, simply put, is the complex, cathartic and tragic feelings, emotions, experiences externalized in tangibles, cradled in the empathy of the understanding. Kind of like getting out the gross, and having others identify and appreciate the messiness of the purge.
Tell us about your literary influences.
I am not particularly well-read and haven’t been exposed to an extremely diverse or obscure breadth of literature but I have always enjoyed the writing of Shel, Silverstein, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss and other imaginative bat-crap bizarre stuff. In fact, I enjoy a children’s novels for their limitless abilities to unhinge the expected and do so with saucer-eyed innocence. I swim in the biting snark of Oscar Wilde, and appreciate widely-lauded poetry of Plath, Hemmingway, Dickinson, Eliot. That being said, there are many modern poets I have discovered accidentally online who’ve had huge influence on my writing including the compositions of Robert Okaji, Braeden Michaels, Lou Rasmus, Jeanne of Borderline Crossing, Nan Mykel, Mark Tulin, Ankit Thapa, Erroneouschoices, Rory Mattier, several of the authors featured on this site and many other fairly unknown and unappreciated writers that I have shamefully yet unintentionally unmentioned here.
Has any of your work been published in print? How did that happen?
I have had poetry featured on The Vita Brevis, The Alien Poetry site
What are your writing goals?
My goals are to keep writing, developing, learning, clawing deeper and potentially delving into children’s novels and a gratuitous and silly autobiography that might take shape in the form of a silly graphic novel as per the suggestion of a fellow online writer.
Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
Blunt Force
What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
I want to share that my illness and experiences are rich in shame, but ripe in recovery and fight and that I feel extremely grateful to have landed myself among such a fine group of talented individuals. I’ve found my people.

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Nicole Lyons

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?
Nicole Lyons

In what part of the world do you live?
Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I live where one must dress for all four seasons in one day.

Tell us about yourself.
I have the heart of an angel and the mouth of a drunken sailor. I am loyal to a fault and I always bet on the underdog. I dislike crowds and most people in general, and if it wasn’t for fear of depriving my daughters, I’d move us to a cabin in the woods near a secluded little lake to live out the rest of my days.

Where do you publish your work?
The Lithium Chronicles

When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
A few years ago now, I can’t recall exactly when. I had been writing for some online magazines and mental health websites and decided to start my own and name it after my FB page I had started years before. I had finally accepted my diagnosis of bipolar disorder after many years of denial and I started to chronicle my journey on and off of meds and the bumpy road to stability. Sometimes I still wonder if I’ll ever reach that place.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging?
My head is a terrible, and sometimes a wonderful, place to be stuck in and I find writing not only helps me escape but also helps a few people who like to read my work.

How did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
I stumbled onto the site and read Jasper and Sam and was blown away and had an overwhelming urge to submit, so I did.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
It’s fearless, it’s raw, and it’s honest. It’s nothing like everything you’ve always been told to read, and it’s everything any writers worth their salt will strive to nail down and pen for themselves. If art was a school and genres and mediums were the students, divergent literature would be the kids that come from all walks of life, all classes of society, all races and religions, that have little to nothing in common but the one burning thing that finds them all in detention together on a Saturday morning.

Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language.’ What is it?
If I told you that it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.

Tell us about your literary influences.
Bukowski, Sexton, Plath, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Downie

Has any of your work been published in print?  How did that happen?
My second book of poetry, I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl was published by Jasper and Sudden Denouement Publishing.

What are your writing goals?
To not stop

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
Drawing a blank

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
It’s in the acknowledgments of my book 😉

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Nicholas Gagnier

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?
Most of the time, my own. Past blogs have taken on a moniker that is not my own, but every book I have published bears my name and not the project it’s associated with.

In what part of the world do you live?
I live in Canada, in the national capital, Ottawa. My parents met working the Prime Minister’s office in the late 70s. It’s pretty quiet here, unlike our neighbours Toronto and Montreal. Very much a political town, full of old buildings and the Parliament can be seen from every direction when downtown.

Tell us about yourself.
I am a writer. I feel like I can say because there are almost physical withdrawals to going a day without writing or creating something. I started writing poetry when I was eleven. To be honest, it was never part of my plan to be a poet, but my father was gone a lot and I was left with his monster of a third wife who emotionally manipulated every second of my day. Writing became my form of control in a hostile environment, and poetry was so easy, it just evolved from there.

Where do you publish your work?
FVR Publishing

When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
When I was 22, my friend took her life and ever since, not only have my own mental health issues become more prominent, but I promised to honour her somehow. After completing my first novel in 2011, I started thinking about blogging. All the poetry on my hard drive, some stretching back years, wasn’t exactly my first attempt at a blog, but the reactions were swift and positive, and it’s something I spent the last six years honing. I feel truly blessed for having had the experience, which has opened so many amazing doors and introduced me to some wonderful people.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging?
Honestly, I just love writing. I have struggled with some facets of it over the years, but even at my most financially or mentally precarious, I feel so blessed to have the compulsion to create. Not everything comes out the way you’d hope, but that only makes your best work stand out more.

When and how did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
Very recently, in fact. I’m the new kid here. For me, joining SD is the outcome of cultivating relationships with some amazing people. I believe the earliest exchange between one of its writers and I was with Kindra on my blog. Others followed my blog, and I followed them back. I found Nicole on Facebook while looking through poetry pages, and her work spoke (and still does!) volumes to me. I remember meeting Christine through my mental health book, Swear to Me, although I’m sure we had exchanges before that. It took awhile to connect everyone to Sudden Denouement, but I could not turn down the chance to work with so many of my favourite modern poets.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
Well, to diverge is to separate, and I take that to mean we stand apart from the mainstream, carving out our own niche in the literary world. I have nothing but respect for for those who do the things they’ve always been done, but I was never good with conventional means, so I’m happy with that definition.

Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language.’ What is it?
I don’t yet know Jasper well enough to deduce much from this statement, honestly.

Tell us about your literary influences.
Stephen King was my first huge literary influence- my mom gave me a copy of Cujo when I was 9. Once the nightmares subsided, I went on to read most of his work up until the mid-2000s. Chuck Palahnuik is another huge one. I used to read a lot more before my kid was born. I should correct that. I used to read more than Dr. Seuss before my kid. I’m happy because she’s now learning how to read, and hopefully I can show her there’s a lot more than picture books. My dad once gave me a copy of the Two Towers without having read Fellowship of the Ring, so needless to say, I hope to do a better job teaching her than he did with me.

Has any of your work been published in print?  How did that happen?
I have published three full collections of poetry- GROUND ZERO, SWEAR TO ME and the FVR Collection. There have been five smaller chapbooks, ten to twelve poems each, that focused on subjects ranging from economic disparity to Donald Trump. Those are some of my favourites.

I have completed two full novels in my lifetime. The first one was a mess and the second is in eternal limbo. I will publish my third, which is about half finished, sometime next year, using all the experience I’ve gathered publishing poetry.

What are your writing goals?
I used to write because I thought I was a great writer, but I have been humbled the last five years. Part of that was my own mental health deteriorating, another was seeing the sheer breadth of talent I had to compete with. At my lowest moment, I had this epiphany, that all my secrets had to come out, including my struggles with my sexuality and depression. I had to stop pretending to be what I wanted to be and be what I am, or it would kill me. To make this a bit more succinct, the goals are momentary now. I don’t need to be the world’s best writer, just one I like myself.

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
There’s no easy to answer to this, as I am my own worst critic. Everything in the FVR Collection comprises the poems I keep closest, the ones I would want my daughter and family to see after I’m gone. At the risk of diverging from the pack, I will leave this quote instead, from my poem “AlterKnitUniVerse”:

Skies under
the influence of
a cooler shade of day;
a pair of new
moons serve to
ascertain this
isn’t a world created
for me but
the one I endlessly
and adapted,
and I let
its rapids
carry me

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
You are more than the sum of your struggles. That is the message my poetry has sought to leave. That is the message it will continue to cultivate, while I work alongside some of the world’s best writers to help SD thrive.


Thank you.