Friends! Comrades! Kin and kindred in blood and virtue!
If it seems like it was just months ago that I last wrote to tell you about a new book being published, that’s because it was just months ago that I last wrote to tell you about a new book being published. I don’t know why I should feel embarrassed by this fact, yet here I am, squirming in my seat like a little kid grossly unprepared for class. Which is especially foolish given how enormously proud I am to announce that today marks the official publication of my new novel, Our Shadows’ Voice, with Fomite Press.
Following close on the heels of April’s release of the full-length collection Blue of the World through Tailwinds Press, Our Shadows’ Voice charts the experiences of three people bound together by a common loss:
A young boy internalizes the burden of responsibility for his best friend’s unstoppable death. A sister molds herself into a living memorial to her brother, becoming both mystic and pragmatist, ascetic and sensualist. A mother, through rituals both musical and spiritual, counterpoints herself between feeling too at home in her grief and wishing her son’s ghost will finally leave her alone. And at the center: Joshua Sams, alive and then dead in the fall of 1982, linchpinning together the lives of those who loved him most as they struggle through the visceral permutations of regret, denial, and resignation, the desperate reach toward spiritual rebirth and the failure to be reborn.
Portland, Maine’s inaugural Poet Laureate, Martin Steingesser, has these shockingly-kind words to say about the book:
Words and images rise in Douglas W. Milliken like water from a spring, and he attends them with a watchful heart. Light-handed, far-seeing, a painter in words, Milliken carries us back and forth between the sensuous pleasure of place and the inner life of his characters, each essential to the story as a star to its respective constellation. Douglas W. Milliken, himself a fresh star I believe will find a place among constellations of revered writers, highlights how we live daily at the fringe of mystery.
After nearly ten years of drafting and redrafting and editing and reseeing, I am giddy to the point of near hysterics that Our Shadows’ Voice is finally released into the public world. It a story I’ve held very close to my heart for a long time. I’m proud its found a home with Fomite and, in turn, so many people’s shelves already.
With all of this in mind, I would like to ask a few favors of you, my friends, my colleagues, my audience:
- Buy and read the book. If you’ve already done one or both of these things, I thank you from the bottom of my exhausted heart. Locally, copies are available at Print in Portland and will soon be carried by various Sherman’s Books locations throughout Maine. Upon request, most bookstores will order copies through their distributors (ordering through Indiebound is another way of supporting your local bookstore from the convenience of your personal device). You can also order the book through Amazon and Barnes & Noble who, in addition to physical copies, sell ebook editions as well (they also distribute internationally, for those of you in, for example, France or Austria). And of course, if you want me to somehow leave my dirty mark upon your copy, you can order directly from me by replying to this email.
- Leave a good review. It seems like such a 90s thing to do, but rating and reviewing the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, et cetera, actually does impact future sales (even if you don’t buy the book through an online retailer, you can still give a rating and/or review). If you wanted to do the same for Blue of the World, that’d be ultra dope as well.
- Spread the word. Tell your aunt. Take a picture of your copy—on your pillow, beneath a cat, leaping in front of the ghost of Whitney Houston to protect her from a bullet—and post to your preferred social media. Simply sharing the Amazon link on Facebook helps (though it’s better if you add a few laudatory words, too). Every little gesture has an impact. And if nothing else, I will personally feel the relief of knowing that there’s at least one other person sharing in the work of promoting this project that I really, truly love.
In conclusion: you guys are the best. Thank you for reading my stories and then reading more stories later on. Without you, I’d just be a manic diarist lost in his own mushroom-cavern imagination. Because you read, I have a purpose in my life.
Once the holidays are over, reading events for Our Shadows’ Voice will commence, about which I’m sure you’ll soon hear more. Until then, I remain most gratefully yours,
—Douglas W. Milliken