An Inspiring Group of Writers

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Saturday, September 20th I will be speaking at an Inspire Christian Writer’s Social Media workshop from 9am to noon at Peace Lutheran Ministries, 924 San Juan Road, Sacramento, California. I am sharing the stage with Kathy Boyd Fellure, a fellow author and IW friend.

Want to meet other writers in the community? Well, here is your opportunity. You won’t meet a more intellectual, creative, or supportive group then those who actively participate in Inspire Writers, founded right here in Sacramento by Beth Thompson.

This organization is making amazing waves of positivity and productivity, helping writers network with other writers, hone their craft, and become experts in their field. Annually publishing their own themed anthology and holding ‘inspiring’ conferences that boast best selling speakers and top notch agents in Christian publishing is to mention just a few of the opportunities they offer.

Workshops, including this one coming up September 20th are another way in which IW’s help writers become accomplished professionals of their creative trade. Already published? As an author, new or seasoned, you cannot find more cutting edge information or a more caring support group in what can be a very isolated profession.

IW newsletters are always informative and motivating. Their cheering section for your accomplishments is like non other, and their dedication to helping writers excel at writing, publishing, and marketing is unsurpassed.

Not a Christian? Intimidated or turned off by that title and its connotations?

You needn’t be.

This organization is not out to convert you, and you do not have to be a member to take advantage of their many excellent and varied activities. You don’t even have to be a writer. You only have to show up! Their fees are always minimal and fair. This workshop, for instance, is only $15 for non members.

I am a published author with a mainstream, traditional publisher (Winter Goose Publishing) and have found IW to be just as pertinent for me as for my fellow Christian publishing writer/author friends.

Winter Goose Publishing does have a Christian division (Hallway Books) but my work is not published through that division. Nor do I wish it to be. I prefer to be a light in a dark world, and although my work is not always well received among mainstream readers, nonetheless, it is food for fodder.

So regardless of your belief system (or because of it) come and hear the answers to these questions below that I am hoping to make fun and easy at the Inspire Writer’s Social Media Workshop:

Want to begin a blog but you’re unsure of how, where, when, why, and what (most importantly) to write about?

Want to build or remodel your website but aren’t sure what image to project, slant to take, or message to send your audience through your widgets and words?

Want to get some articles, personal commentary, or short stories published on the Internet, or in print, but don’t know how to begin?

Want to build (or begin) your platform on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn, and interconnect it seamlessly with your website and blog?

Want to learn all about Pinterest? (Kathy Boyd Fueller will be addressing Pinterest, and I can’t wait to learn about it!)

Then this workshop is for you, and I hope to see you there, because meeting new writers is always the best part of these events.

Bring your laptop or similar devise if possible. Or just bring yourself, with or without a pen and notepad. You are the most important thing you need to bring!

Social Media Workshop
September 20th 9am to noon
Peace Lutheran Ministries
924 San Juan Road
Sacramento, California 
 

Kathryn is the author of Benjamin, selected as a New Century Quarterly Finalist, and the short story collection, Fractured Hearts, housing all of her award winning short fiction along with new, previously unpublished stories. Her work can be found at all major booksellers and through Amazon.

Kathryn is associate faculty for University of Phoenix at their Sacramento Valley campus where she teaches academic and creative writing, literature, and visual arts in the Humanities Department.

Her next literary suspense novel, Journey, will be released in 2015.

Personal blog and website: http://kathrynmattingly.com Edgy Words Unleashed

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00EILN6YE 

WGP page: http://wintergoosepublishing.com/authors/kathryn-mattingly/ 

FB: https://www.facebook.com/kathrynmattinglyauthor TW: @KathrynWriter

Inspire Christian Writer’s website: http://inspirewriters.com

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Benjamin Travels Abroad

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Recently I received my first foreign review, which has caused me to have an audience in the UK, where many new readers are connecting with Benjamin.

Who knew?

I have to admit, the review makes me smile. Book Viral has nailed it. Nice to know a foreign shore has appreciated what I set out to do, and believes that I accomplished it.

As I continue to market my debut novel, Benjamin, I am finding that it is quite a journey. This book that I poured my heart and soul into (as I do all of them) has caused me to make friends and to lose friends, proving those words in print to be even more powerful than I originally realized.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t change anything about this opening chapter of my life as a novelist.

Writing and publishing short stories has never brought me anything but smiles and praise, even recognition for doing it, well, quite well. No matter how dark or twisted the plot, no matter how controversial the subject, or questionably odd the characters are within those published tales, nary a one has ever brought any naysayers. Certainly not the stone throwers that Benjamin has occasionally uncovered outside its crowd of (mostly) fans.

I have come to embrace those with raised brow over my first book, because I have also come to realize how anything worth its salt will have some harsh scrutiny as well. Especially by those who do not understand what Book Viral has clearly uncovered as the major themes of the book.

For those that didn’t get it, I harbor no grudges. We are all on different paths and meeting up at different times along this journey we call life. The best we can hope for is to travel awhile with those who understand and appreciate what we have to contribute to the  trip.

And what a trip it is!

Book Viral Highlight for Benjamin:  

An original cross genre page turner, Benjamin is the scintillating debut novel from author Kathryn Mattingly that is sure to provoke some timely reflection. A contemporary tale that achieves a beguiling balance between religious allegory and the broader devices of a romantic thriller, her prose lends itself to a memorable narration. Mattingly is leaving the reader with no doubt that she has given much consideration to how we have come to interpret faith and spirituality in modern times, and its prevailing influence on human nature.

Compelling and intelligent, her characters are imbued with a timely sense of presence and emotional gravitas, which adds significantly to the plausibility of a plot that is well constructed. Mattingly not only wants to entertain her readers, but encourage them to reflect upon the peculiar circumstances of her characters, whilst her use of universal tropes fuels intrigue and the desire to discover the true origin of Benjamin’s gift.

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Visit Kathryn Mattingly’s Amazon Author Page and the Book Viral website where Benjamin is currently featured.

The suspense novel Benjamin and short story collection Fractured Hearts can be purchased through all major booksellers and on the Winter Goose Publishing site.

 

Everyday Heroes

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Chris Pedersen has a way with words when it comes to her main character, Ethan Blecher, in her newly released children’s chapter book, Ethan Blecher Braves a Bully. Any child would find this charming book interesting, humorous, and inspiring. We all need everyday heroes like Ethan, who does the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Super heroes are great, but ordinary everyday heroes are the stuff we should all be made of.

This is the first book in a series that Chris plans to write and I for one say – Write On! Our children need all the help they can get from positive influences such as Ethan Blecher, who shows the tenacity, courage, and kindness we want our own children to reflect. The book has a moral outcome every parent will be pleased to hear.

What is that moral outcome you ask? Stand up to bullies! And do it in a loving, caring way. I think we can all agree that children aren’t the only ones who could use this reminder. I’ve met a few adult bullies that made childhood ones seem like, well, child’s play!

The series is printed in black and white, with engaging illustrations by Kate Jeong, who lives in Canada. I personally believe that Kate hooking up with Chris was a match made in heaven, despite being countries apart. Together they are creating memorable characters, through print and pictures.

Each book of the series will examine a different contemporary challenge facing school-aged children today. If I were an elementary teacher, this book would definitely be in my classroom. I would be excited about the series, eager for each stand alone chapter book to be written and read by all the kids in my class, present and future! Ethan should provide lots of opportunity to examine relevant issues, helping students cope with very real challenges in their young lives.

I hope every parent (and grandparent) of young children will also grab this up as the great gift that it is. What better present could we offer a child than a book they will cherish, signed to them with love? Forget that there is a lot Ethan can teach us- he is a lovable and memorable character regardless. Ethan’s predicaments can only bring a smile to your face.

Here are a few questions Chris has answered about her newly released book.

What do you want everyone to know about Ethan?

Ethan Blecher is a fictional character. He is every child during their struggling early years when they confront some of the toughest and more important experiences of their young lives. As a personality, Ethan has insecurities that make him question his choices. He pictures himself as not popular, not able to do things well, picked last, fearful and even fatalistic.

When/where is the story set, and what is the main conflict?

The story is set in today’s timeframe in a medium-size town anywhere in America. Ethan finds himself the focus of a bully in his new school. His parents decide to send him to spring camp hoping he’ll make some friends, but the outlook turns terrifying when his nemesis shows up. Will Ethan’s fearful attitude and shy nature get the best of him or will he muster some courage and stand-up to the bully?

What is the personal goal of the character?

Ethan would say his goal is to stay alive and not die at the hand of the bully. His situation applies to challenges and opportunities facing elementary school-aged children everywhere. Ethan struggles with independence, managing conflict and difficult people, overcoming adversity, responding to inappropriate behavior, finding inner strength, relying on good judgment to solve problems, team work, personal discovery, emotional and creative intelligence, and reasoning.

Thanks, Chris, for your insight into Ethan. I think, even as an adult, I either juggle or struggle with all of the above on a daily basis. No wonder I love Ethan so much! I can’t wait to read about his next adventure. I am going to curl up with my favorite blanket and savor every single word Chris has carefully crafted, while admiring those amazing illustrations, compliments of Kate, in Canada. 

You might say Chris and Kate are the everyday kind of heroes we need to help our children develop in healthy ways, both mentally and emotionally. Not to mention the added benefit of being wholesomely entertained at the same time.

Ethan Blecher Braves a Bully is available on iBooks and on Amazon in print and ebook. Chris Pedersen blogs and tweets at: purplecarrotbooks.com, healthyjourneycafe.com, @prplcarrotbooks, @chrisathecafe

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Books by Kathryn Available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble

 

 

Word Slayers

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Well folks I haven’t written a blog in a month. I’ve been busy teaching Creative Writing at U of P and that involves assembling lectures, developing activities, grading papers, and going mad.

Interestingly enough I think poetry was the biggest hit and that was the one unit I had to research. Although I’ve dabbled in it, to read and to write, I’ve never really studied it.

Don’t get me wrong. The short stories they wrote amazed even them and the personal essays were like free therapy and a new lease on their confused souls.

All in all I’d say none were disappointed in the elective they chose. And I say elective as an electrifying word because in a way it is. It means they had options. They didn’t have to take Creative Writing ENG340 like they have to take Basic Essay Writing ENG125 or College Math MTH120 (choke, gasp).

They chose to learn more about writing creatively and to study those masters who came before them and did exactly that – write creatively, and for all the ages no less…. Poe, Frost, Emerson, Dickenson and a slew of other noteworthy word slayers.

I relish how they reacted to learning about and hearing the work of famous poets, novelists and journalists. It was scary good fun watching them take risks with their own word choices and then share it with their classmates.

There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide in my class. You just have to spill your guts all over the page and then all over your peers as you stand before them and share your work, with nothing to hold you up but the laptop in your hands.

Every one of them is better off for it. They feel more bonded with their own skin and the skin of all their classroom colleagues. They somehow were emancipated from all those locked up secrets and scathing self doubts. Suddenly empowered to speak their peace and therefore find it in their lives.

Most importantly, they now know a little something about all those old, and newly renowned names that never meant anything before because they slept through high school English. And they are now fearless about choosing a weapon of choice whether pen, laptop, or lead to punctuate and titillate using only imagination and an army of figurative language.

Personally I haven’t worked this hard mentally, emotionally, or even physically (pacing during the entirety of each 4 hour class while I stressed over every deliverable of my well-planned and fine-tuned agenda) since the last time I, well, taught college – almost 3 years ago at International Academy.

What will I do differently next time? Almost nothing. A tweak here and there. But for the most part I just wish I could relive every single minute.

And I will.

Next term. (:

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9 John Steinbeck Quotes for the Pure at Heart

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John Steinbeck

“The Red Pony by John Steinbeck affected me as a child. It was the first book to make me cry uncontrollably, and caused me to understand the power of words.” Kathryn Mattingly

I loved John Steinbeck’s books. Grapes of Wrath affected me like no other piece of literature. East of Eden was a fascinating look into the history of this area. I am reposting this article written by Joe Muscolino for Biographile in honor of this great author’s birthday. It includes 9 quotes that I absolutely could get lost in. He is one of my heroes, and although he was an agnostic, I see his reoccurring themes of kindness and ‘love thy neighbor’ as fully inspiring. 

On February 27, 1902 — this week in history — cherished American writer John Steinbeck was born. He was raised in Salinas, California, the pastoral keystone to Monterey County and a place Steinbeck would later revisit in some of his greatest works, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Grapes of Wrath (1939), and his personal favorite East of Eden (1952). Steinbeck attended Stanford University, then tried scraping a living in New York City as a writer, only to be pulled back by the gravitational splendor of California, where he lived out his formative years during the Great Depression.

The Steinbeck family attended Episcopal Church, but John would eventually claim agnosticism. He rooted the primacy of “god” in nature itself, exploring this sentiment in one of his earliest works To a God Unknown (1933). A purer, more grounded author has never been known, for Steinbeck truly embodied the love thy neighbor ethos with which he was raised, and his notion of natural laws seeped into every aspect of his writing. Though often noted for his bleak narratives, nearly all of Steinbeck’s work shines with a hope and a will, an eternal optimism unbent by the evils of the world.

If you’ve ever felt moved by a stretch of farmland, or stirred by a southwesterly breeze, or awakened by the subtle spirits of nature, you’ve probably been inspired by John Steinbeck’s prose. That is, if you’ve read him. If you haven’t, here are nine mindful and humanizing quotes from the master of the literary grange below. They’re inspirational and heartfelt, proving that with Steinbeck in your hands, you’ll always enjoy reaping what you read.

1. In every bit of honest writing in the world … there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other. (Journal entry, 1938, quoted in the Introduction to a 1994 edition of Of Mice and Men by Susan Shillinglaw, p. vii)

2. Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. (Interview with Robert van Gelder, April 1947, as quoted in John Steinbeck : A Biography, 1994, by Jay Parini)

3. The profession of book-writing makes horse-racing seem like a solid, stable business. (The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, 1976, but a statement he is first quoted as having made in Newsweek, 24 December 1962)

4. The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true. (New York Times, 2 June 1969)

5. Man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. (Grapes of Wrath, 1939)

6. And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for it is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost. (East of Eden, 1952)

7. There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension. (East of Eden, 1952)

8. To be alive at all is to have scars. (The Winter of Our Discontent, 1961)

9. A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. (Travels With Charley: In Search of America, 1962)

Website where originally posted: http://www.biographile.com/

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Morney from Fractured Hearts

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Fractured-Hearts

From the review of Ghosts at the Coast by Jonathan Reitan in Dark Discoveries Magazine: “Kathryn Mattingly’s Morney in the anthology Ghosts at the Coast stands out as being superb and highly original. It is a spooky tale about a mysterious gypsy girl in Rome.” This story can be found in Ms. Mattingly’s newly released book, Fractured Hearts (a volume of short fiction) with Winter Goose Publishing. It is available through all major book sellers. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
fantasy
 
in my head
i am holding you
in my arms
in my heart
i am aching for you
in my reality
i am living
in my recent past
 
your thoughts
your smile
your gentle touches
are more real
than anything I know
you are but a dream
a mere fantasy
 
our time spent
together
haunts me now
and always will
for I have
known your magic
and it has
transformed me
 

I’ve come to Italy to nurse my wounds, having lost another child and knowing it will be my last attempt to bear children. My doctor and friend, Grant, tells me that it takes more courage sometimes to give up and accept fate, than to try and change it. He’s lent me his late aunt’s house here in Rome near the Piazza Navonna, to help heal my frazzled nerves, which have made me painfully thin. Each morning after a sleepless night I carelessly tie my blonde hair in a ponytail, throw on my jeans and a sweater, and sit at this outdoor café in the Piazza.

I silently pray the late April sun will warm my numb heart as I sip on a cappuccino and think about the children I will never have. I cry behind my sunglasses and wipe away tears before they can escape down my cheeks. On my third day of this ritual that does not soothe my agony, a young gypsy appears out of nowhere. I think surely she is an angel, with eyes as dark and deep as God’s richest earth, and curls the color of mahogany bark. She peers up at me while holding an enormous white cat in her arms.

“Have you some change?” she asks.

Her English is decent and I find myself charmed by her confidence. The round eyes stare at me innocently. A little red tam on her head matches the plaid woolen skirt she wears. I think she looks more like a porcelain doll than a beggar, for her skin is pale and undernourished.

“I do have change,” I tell her, “but why don’t you sit with me a minute and talk?”

Her dark eyes look puzzled as she nervously pets the cat.

“I’ll buy you some milk, if you’ll just sit for a while,” I plead.

After a glance in each direction she sits down and the cat lets out a mournful meow. It jumps from her arms and crouches under the metal chair. The gypsy child doesn’t appear at all concerned that her cat will bolt. And it doesn’t. The feline begins to lick its paws contentedly.

“What’s your name?” I ask boldly.

“Morney,” the gypsy angel says.

“Is that Italian?” I inquire.

“No. My mama is American. Her mama was a Morney, until she married grandpapa. I think Mama misses them… her family in America.”

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I ache for her soul that is wise beyond its years. “Is that why you speak English?” I ask.

“Yes, Papa does not speak it.”

A waiter appears and I order milk for my little friend. The waiter looks skeptical, with one brow arched. I look him straight in the eye, even though he can’t see my eyes behind the dark shades. He nods and leaves quietly.

“Well, it’s a beautiful name. Where did you get that big fluffy cat?” I sip the cappuccino, never taking my eyes from her thin, angelic face.

“She is fluffy, isn’t she?” Morney swells with pride for her enormous feline friend. “I find her one day, making screechy noises. Poor thing… so tiny, and starving.”

Not unlike this child before me, I think to myself, as she turns her head of tangled curls and points toward the cobbled street behind us.

“There, in the side street. That’s where she was. Papa let me keep her.” Morney looks at me, her eyes serious. “But now he says she is too big and eats too much and I must take Chintzy to the cat place.”

“The cat place?” I ask, amazed.

“Yes… in the ruins, where Caesar died. It’s not far from here.”

“Why do they call it the cat place?”

“Because there are many many cats. Maybe a hundred.” Morney reaches under her seat and pets Chintzy while the waiter places a glass of milk in front of the child and disappears, not a smile or a word crossing his lips. After one gulp, she stares at the saucer beneath my cup. I offer it to her and she pours the milk into it carefully, placing it in front of the beloved pet. Morney is kneeling beside the chair and I smile at her red knee socks and little loafers. Someone has mindfully kept this enticing lure for pity from becoming too shabby.

Every day she comes, holding her large white cat, all the while stretching her hands out from beneath the feline to receive coins. The rich tourists at the cafés along the Piazza ignore her and I marvel at how they can be so complacent. Who could resist giving change to this brave little struggling spirit, a mere ghost of a child, with dark shimmering eyes and messy curls beneath a red tam?

I find her scrappy courage contagious, and somehow the pain of my loss is less suffocating. After nearly two weeks of this daily ritual with the child and the cat and the milk, the gypsy angel comes on a warm sultry morning without Chintzy.

“Papa took her to the cat place,” she moans sadly. “He says she drank the little bit of milk we had for my sister Lydia.” The stoic child hardens her eyes rather than cry. “I will visit Chintzy, every day maybe.”

“I’m so sorry Morney,” I mutter, thinking how often have I heard these words myself, and not found them helpful.

“I hate begging!” Morney announces. “But if I do not beg… then Lydia will have no milk, even though the milk is made bad with the drugs.” Her tone is sharp with anger.

“Lydia has drugs in her milk?” I ask, bewildered.

“Yes, it is to make her sleep, so Mama and Papa can beg and she will not cry. I wish…” she confides in me, “…one day to have many coins, so many, I never will beg again. Then Lydia can have milk that is not drugged, and she can be like other babies, shopping with their mama’s.”

I nod, unsure of how to respond. “Perhaps one day, Morney, you will grow up and earn money in one of the shops where you see the mothers with their babies.”

“Perhaps,” she replies, and leaves hurriedly without touching her milk.

One day Morney brings her baby sister in a carriage that is tattered and worn, and asks me to care for her because her mother is too ill to beg and her father has not returned from the bars. Nervously I look about, and see not a soul taking any notice of this battered pram housing a dark-haired darling like her sister. Hesitantly and with many misgivings I concede and tell Morney I will watch Lydia while sipping my cappuccino. But she must return for her by midmorning. As my little gypsy friend runs off into the cobbled side street of the Piazza, I see a woman looking sickly and frail well beyond her years looming in the distance. I wonder if she is Morney and Lydia’s mother.

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Amidst odd and perplexed looks of pedestrians strolling by and café waiters gawking at my table, I study the little one placed in my care. She never opens her eyes fringed with curled lashes. Lydia’s face is round and smooth like Morney’s, another cherub with mahogany hair, and I wonder if her eyes are as dark as her sister’s. When no one comes for her I reluctantly stroll the sleeping Lydia across the Piazza and ask about her family in the shops. In one store on the corner of the narrow cobbled street someone knows her parents. The shopkeeper tells me the father and mother have probably run off, because the father is wanted for killing a man in a bar brawl.

“Rapheal is a violent one, when he has been drinking.” The little man uses heavily accented English. “He and that woman Isabella are like shadows of the night, always working the back streets.”

The shopkeeper tells me he hopes they will pay for the crime, having shamelessly overdosed their young daughter, addicted to the drugs almost since birth. I anxiously peer down at Lydia, but she is waking up from her drug-induced sleep. I can’t help myself as I reach for her, to cradle the toddler in my arms. She is so light I wonder what there is of her beneath the shabby blanket.

The storekeeper stares painfully at the baby and tells me it will also die from the drugs in the milk, which are too strong. “Rapheal and his woman have less sense than most.” He shakes his head sadly. “They are so young, and the mother… she takes the drugs. But Rapheal… he is just a thief and a drunk.”

“What do you mean I ask?” looking at him puzzled and confused. “Is this not the child you feared was overdosed? See… she’s fine!”

“No. Not that one, not yet anyway. The other one, with the cat.”

Morney?” I whisper, staring helplessly into his bushy-browed eyes.

“Yes… that’s her name… Morney. She is dead a year this… this month I think.”

“But how can that be?” My mind races backward. I remember the pale woman in the shadows, the blank stares of the waiters and their non-recognition of my little gypsy friend, who has visited me every day for two weeks, begging coins while stealing my heart. I remember Grant telling me I have hallucinations because I am not well… the drugs, the tests, the pregnancies, the lost babies, the strain of it all. I must take a long vacation. And now this, discovering Morney has died well before she could have brought me her sister Lydia this morning.

I decide to leave Rome. I will reside in Milan. There is nothing to return to the States for. Unsuccessful pregnancies have taken their toll on my marriage. Before I go, I visit the cat place Morney spoke of. It is indeed a refuge of partially-restored ancient ruins, right in the middle of the city; one story beneath ground level. The whole area is overrun with cats of every size and shape. The felines vary widely from fat and sassy to haggard and frail. A big white cat sits like a queen among them and it is Chintzy. I am sure of it. Dusk is settling in and the lights play tricks, but I swear that in the shadows I see Morney, in her red tam and plaid skirt, waving at me. She is kneeling by the huge white cat, stroking its soft arched back with her free hand.

Racing down the cement steps with her sister still in my arms, I shout out… Morney …but only the cats respond, with wild guttural meows. Sitting down on a large stone in the ruins, there among the whining, growling cats, I cry into Lydia’s mahogany curls. We sit for hours in the darkness, huddled together for warmth, but Morney never reappears.

At home now in Milan not a day goes by I don’t think of the little ghost-child and her huge white feline. But thankfully, the voices and illusions within me have not come again. And I have a daughter who needs me, since her father was imprisoned for life, and her mother is dead of malnutrition… or perhaps a drug overdose. No one could be sure. But I am sure of one thing. It was Morney who brought me Lydia, an orphaned gypsy no more, but a child of my own at last.

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Rocky Mountain Plot Twist

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The plot twist in this particular blog post is about not moving to Colorado – yet.

Why not you ask? I am not the author so I can’t say for sure, but I will say this- the book isn’t finished yet. (;

I will also say that the occasional and unpredictable plot twist is what makes a book a pager turner. That’s exactly how I feel right now- like my life is so suspenseful I can barely eat or sleep. Is that a bad thing?

Not necessarily.

Building strong characters, afterall, is done through presenting challenges that those characters, quite frankly, would prefer not to face. But those challenges are what turn our main characters into heroes and heroines, once they become sufficiently motivated to persevere and overcome all the stuff in their path.

Then we are hooked on the book.

We are rooting for our characters to figure it out and do the right thing. Slay the dragon. Save the girl. Pick themselves up and dust themselves off when they fail at their first attempts to overcome those challenges or move those piles of stuff.

Perhaps this new plot twist in our personal life is just a slight bend in the road to the same end. That’s what we are hoping, at least, depending on whether the foreshadowing in this story is correct. If so then Trans Aero, who presented my husband with an offer letter that he accepted, will follow through in a few months rather than the few weeks originally planned on.

It is a precarious economy that company owners in our current society must maneuver. It’s understandable and even admirable that they proceed with great caution. And although it is probably not a good idea to rescind an offer letter you have sent, it is a good idea to keep the door open and honestly explain that cold feet suddenly happened over available funding for such a bold new addition in the way of a marketing director.

My husband and I fully believe this will all come together in the coming months. Meanwhile he is staying in communication with the president and sending whatever marketing leads he continues to hear about through his many reliable sources in the industry.

And, I get to finally teach that first creative writing course at the University of Phoenix! I have to admit, I am excited about that. March 13th will be here before I know it.

Those ten students registered for my class have no idea how much I plan to teach them about, well, plot twists!

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Press Release for Fractured Hearts

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Give Someone You Want to Impress a Lasting Gift for Valentine’s Day

(El Dorado Hills, Calif.) – Valentine’s Day will be upon us before you know it. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a friend or loved one who likes to read, how about a gift that will pierce the heart and move the soul: a copy of Winter Goose Publishing’s latest title, Fractured Hearts, by award-winning California author Kathryn Mattingly.

Not for the faint of heart, this collection of short stories deals with every type of love that drives us to do what we do—for better or for worse. Whether whimsical ghosts in love with art or cats transformed by the full moon, you’ll wonder if even the most unbelievable is somehow true. From a gypsy child in Rome to a widow in Aruba, the stories transport you to faraway places.

Kathryn Mattingly will sign copies of her latest book at Face In A Book, located at 4359 Town Center Blvd in El Dorado Hills, Calif., on Sat., Feb. 8th from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Fractured Hearts includes five pieces recognized nationally for excellence as outstanding literature. In honor of the holiday, decadent chocolates will be served throughout the afternoon.

More information, including reviews of stories featured in the book, can be found on the author’s website, http://www.penpublishpromote.com. To arrange an interview with Kathryn Mattingly, or request a review copy of Fractured Hearts, contact Rachel M. Anderson, Publicist, at 952-240-2513 or rachel@rmapublicity.com.

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Once Upon a Time

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Once upon a time I moved to California for a new job, and truthfully, a new life.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like Portland, Oregon. It’s actually a gorgeous city full of great restaurants and bars with the most ambiance I have ever known restaurants and bars to have. And then there’s the waterfront setting – as beautiful as it gets.

But I needed a change.

Although Dennis is the love of my life and the narcissist in me believes God created him solely to be my soul mate, we were experiencing rough waters like all marriages will at one time or another. Of course, soul mates are destined to reunite, and so we ended up once again blissfully cohabiting.

I must admit the short separation brought some much needed appreciation for one another back to the marriage. Ever since then it has been a decade filled with new places and faces, opportunities and challenges. All in all I’d say it’s been anything but boring.

I have made some lifetime friends here and reached some personal achievement milestones, with finding a publishing home and becoming a novelist. Reflection about California Dreamin’ is bittersweet to say the least, but it has certainly been worth the ride. Whether smooth sailing or rough waters, we have weathered it all.

And now our ship is setting sail for new seas.

We are Colorado bound in just a few short weeks, and couldn’t be happier about the news which has been incessantly prayed about, discussed, wished, and wanted. Dennis has accepted a Director of Marketing position with Trans Aero Ltd. in the Fort Collins/Loveland area.

We plan to live in Fort Collins where I will teach at the University of Phoenix. I am thrilled beyond words (odd for a writer, I know). Ironically, when first married we planned to live in this exact location, but of course, fate has a way of playing its own hand and for us that was a side trip to Eugene, Oregon where Dennis got a job after graduating college. I transferred to the University of Oregon and we stayed to raise our family there, moving to Portland after they left home.

So, here we are full circle, poised to begin the adventure we had originally planned for ourselves. Writers dream of new plot twists. Nothing sparks creativity like discovering all there is to know about a new city, making memories in a new home, developing new friendships, getting involved with a new community and communing with new wonders of nature.

Ever since the New Year everything seems to have magically changed, not unlike a Disney film. Our careers of passion and preference are looking up for both of us.  My publicist is off and running with a marketing plan for my books, while my husband is once again in his happy zone of marketing helicopter service to federal, state and private companies. I can only hope that every month of this New Year will be as significant in a good way.

Well played, January 2014, well played!

Thank you to those friends out there who have stuck with us through thick and thin, and have been rooting for us to dig our way out of the sunken economy we fell into. Of course I plan to visit this area a couple times a year to meet with my publisher, and to hold book signings in this community where I have built a presence, albeit a small and humble one.

Email and FB will keep us connected with those we care about between visits, and I truly hope everyone who has said they will come see us – will. The Rocky Mountains, afterall, will be in our backyard. That should thrill you with new terrain to hike and ways to be inspired while we catch up on our lives and reminisce about old times.

It is going to be a whirlwind next few months to be sure, what with moving, Dennis beginning a new job, me teaching that first creative writing course at the University of Phoenix in Fort Collins, and my short story collection Fractured Hearts being launched. How exciting is all of that?

I am grateful beyond words for the opportunities now forming for our future. God is indeed good, and although we have been greatly blessed even prior to these new developments, knowing our persistence and faith in God has gotten us through some difficult times of late makes us confident that we can meet any new challenges looming before us in Colorado.

Among our first challenges, without a doubt, will be experiencing less than 70 degree weather on a near daily basis in the dead of winter (something we have begun to take for granted and that will now end abruptly), trying to find a church that will energize and inspire us as much as Bayside in Granite Bay has done, and missing every one of you that we count among our dearest friends.

Mainly, this writer is hoping they have some inviting coffee houses in Fort Collins. Everything else can be worked out, with latte in hand.

Priceless Goals

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Here it is – January. Change and enthusiasm describe it well. New beginnings. New challenges. New opportunities. Coming on the heels of a time for reflection (December) I am certain all of us, whether we consciously make resolutions or not, want to assess our goals.

Last year I had the wonderful opportunity of running a book club where we relished discussing our selections and did so in a way that enriched us all. Some of those books have become my all time favorites, and some have caused me to examine why I cannot connect with certain authors.

This year I plan to continue reading books that jump out at me as most appealing for my preferred genre. But I have also decided to read my fellow Winter Goose authors. Perhaps my local independent publisher does not have any New York or LA Times best sellers, but they do boast a lot of writers who have won awards.

Since my passions of writing and educating have coincided my whole life, I fully respect peers who have had literary works of any kind from poetry to fiction, nonfiction, short stories, essays or articles rise to the top like cream. I will boldly admit I admire them a lot more so than those who have managed to find fame and fortune with the craft.

This is not surprising when you consider how monetarily poor those of us in academia are in comparison to other careers that require graduate degrees. You might surmise that what motivates us is excellence alone.

My personal journey in education began with running my own school for the creative expression of young children on the Oregon Coast. (Learning through hands-on art and acting out plays.) Not coincidentally, I did this while my own children were young.

I continued from there with a few non-conventional jobs at private institutions such as Oak Hill in Eugene, OR, where outdoor learning was the norm. The school was located on a 70 acre estate that had once kept horses and was overrun with foxes. It wasn’t a typical morning if I didn’t see one eye to eye out my classroom window early in the morning before students arrived.

After that I taught at another kinesthetic-forward school based on Gardner’s Theory of Eight Intelligences in Vancouver, WA. Here in California I spent a few years running my own after school program for the arts while freelance writing. I finally settled into the private art college that was my last (and longest) job until a bad economy caused the design school to irreversibly suffer. 

Currently I am poised to teach creative writing, literature, and visual arts at University of Phoenix and I am thrilled to be part of their Humanities Department, eagerly awaiting my first class, which would have started today but has been cancelled due to low enrollment. My guess is that the university scheduling it for a Friday night did not fair well for enthusiasm.

Those fortunate enough to be hired by U of P, which I have heard only employs half of those adequately credentialed and carefully selected for the 5 week training course, could wait up to 6 months for their first class. This is because you need a mentor for it, and mentors apparently are hard to come by.

The good news is that once past that first course, if you have received high marks from both the students and your mentor, you are then able to teach as much or as little as you want and can transfer to any campus in the country.

I don’t plan to get rich teaching college so waiting for that first paycheck is not what motivates me to do this. Interacting with and instructing young adults on subjects that matter most to me in life – writing, literature, and art – is priceless.

Although disappointed I have to wait a couple months to teach the class I have excessively prepared for, it does give me more time to finish editing my next novel, edit manuscripts for my clients, and read more books by Winter Goose authors – one of which (Theory of Remainders) recently was awarded Best Independent Book of the Year (among others) by Kirkus Reviews.

I am reading Scott Carpenter’s Theory of Remainders as I write this, and I couldn’t be more pleased to belong to the same flock as he. I am sorry I did not have Benjamin reviewed by Kirkus. I might not have won. Maybe they wouldn’t even have liked Benjamin, but now I will never know and that’s regrettable.

I hope that Scott, myself, and all the other authors in this Winter Goose flock are able to soar above our wildest imaginings this year in terms of literary success. May the New Year allow each of you to also soar high and accomplish an important goal. One that is priceless, regardless of monetary gain.

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