The Novels

 

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“An immensely talented writer, Kathryn Mattingly (BENJAMIN, JOURNEY), has a new novel out. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of OLIVIA’S GHOST and can say this is an absolute must read.”

Joseph Falank, author of An Unexpected Visit & Seeing www.josephfalank.com

 

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“Journey is about truth and lies, about relationships and life’s surprises. Reading Kathryn Mattingly’s work is like digging in a goldmine as word-by-word the reader uncovers more about what happened in the past to affect the present and shape the future of these very real and complex characters. This book makes you think. This book is what literature is all about.”

Ina Schroders-Zeeders, author of Veritas, Amor & Roads inaweblogisback.wordpress.com

 

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“Mattingly writes with an artist’s flair, richly interweaving passion and suspense in this heartfelt tale of forbidden love and its unforeseen consequences. By turns poignant and shocking, Benjamin is at once a literary romance and a contemporary thriller, rife with spiritual themes and stunning plot twists. A must for readers who delight in a dramatic situation from which there is no apparent escape…”

Eldon Thompson, author of Legend of Asahiel  http://www.eldonthompson.com

 

 

…Kathryn also has a short story collection entitled Fractured Hearts. 

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“These stories are a fascinating look at how to shred love and sprinkle it over the ashes of those who dared to destroy it. If you are so bold as to open the binding and walk into the lives of these characters, you will smile a lot… and maybe stare at the ceiling come 3am.”

Rene Villard Reid, author of  Finding The Magic Rene Reid

Kathryn’s books are with Winter Goose Publishing and can be found anywhere books are sold. Visit her Amazon Page:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00EILN6YE

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Kathryn lives in Napa, CA, with her husband Dennis and cat Sophia. She is Lead Docent for CIA at Copia, where learning about wine and food is almost as much fun as writing books.

kmattinglyauthor@gmail.com 

 

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Eva and Elidad

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Central Oregon is one of my favorite places in the world. There’s something about the landscape that resonates with my soul. The main road from Eagle Crest in Redmond (where we lived for a while) to Bend is nothing but green pastures of grazing cattle and well groomed horses, clustered on the sloping hills of many sprawling ranches. There is the stunning Cascade Mountain Range for a backdrop and perfect weather for each season, as if God planned to retire there when creating it.

Some of the most interesting and gifted people I have met live in Central Oregon. One of them is an industrious businesswoman, and writer soon to be author, named Eva Hulett. She lives in SunRiver resort. I travel to the area several times each year for family holidays and the Writer’s Guild Harvest Festival in Bend, where I have been privileged to help judge their writing contest and speak at their meeting. It’s my favorite place to give a workshop because the people are so welcoming and kind.

Recently I asked Eva some questions about her soon to be released debut novel Elidad which in my opinion is a great read! I can’t wait for that second book in her trilogy! Here are her thoughtful and fascinating answers which make me love her all the more as an empowered businesswoman, mother, writer, and friend.

How long have you been writing? Was this a birth thing where you wrote before you spoke or an epiphany much later in life?

I’ve always loved writing. In third grade I wrote my first ‘book.’ It was 3 chapters and couldn’t have been more than 20 pages long. My teacher was so proud of me that she let me go to the computer lab to type up my story. This was a huge honor because our computer lab had only one computer in it. You had to have a special project and a teacher recommendation to use it. I remember inserting my square floppy disk and the excitement I felt when booting up the computer to write. That feeling paled in comparison to the emotions stirred in me while pressing a rectangular button and hearing a clunking sound as the floppy disk ejected right into my waiting hand. I carried that floppy disk around like my own Velveteen Rabbit.

I went through a skater/gothic phase and my writing went dark. Beatnik Night at my local coffee shop solidified my love for poetry and angry writing. My love of the craft took off and I wrote constantly. It was the perfect escape for an angry teenager, but then my writing went quiet as I became a workaholic at the age of 16. I never looked back until I turned 26. In 2007 we bought our first business and because of the downturn in the economy, I couldn’t afford employees. I worked from open to close 7 days a week and had only a few customers. One afternoon I made the decision to stop watching TV all day for lack of customers, so I borrowed a laptop from my father and began to write Elidad.

When did you decide you wanted to be a published author – was it a sudden craving or a slow burn that finally ignited?

After my third-grade adventure in the computer lab I wanted to be an author. It was all I dreamt about. But alas, as I got older and fell out of writing to begin working, the dream fizzled out. Once I began writing Elidad, I thought it inconceivable that it would ever be published. I didn’t think I would even let anyone read it and I certainly didn’t believe anyone might enjoy it.

What type of businesses do you have and how do you stay focused on your writing while maintaining a day job?

Filing a copyright as an author was the 6th business I’ve started. My husband and I bought Hot Lava Baking & Coffee Co. in Sunriver Resort almost 9 years ago. We also own a cafe and have operated that for 5 years. We started Three Rivers Pool & Spa last year and are just beginning to build that business. We are very busy in the summer (being in a resort) so I don’t get any writing done in the summer months. My husband and I usually work over a hundred days straight and anywhere from 10-16 hour days. The rest of the year I focus on my writing as much as life will allow.

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If I get a scene in my head and I need to get it on paper, I’ve been known to put headphones in and crank up some music and tune out my family. Since our family is so busy, there are many nights I don’t allow the TV on. I will turn on classical music, jazz, or another choice – but without words. We call it the ‘Spa Lounge’ and the rule is you can do anything creative. Art, color, read, write, et., but absolutely no TV. You’d be surprised at how much gets accomplished at home when the TV is off.

Where did you grow up and how or what in your childhood has influenced your writing?

I grew up in McMinnville, OR. I lived in the same house for 13 years. When I dream about being home, it’s the house I grew up in. I come from a family of archery hunters. On my first camping trip, I was a week old (in January). We always missed the first week of school because we were in the woods. Being in the woods with no technology, before everyone had a cell phone, we used our imaginations. Playing games and making up characters really set the groundwork for my writing. When we sat around the campfire at night, Mom would read to us. She read everything: A Wrinkle in Time, The Great Brain Series, The Chronicles of Narnia and Dragonriders of Pern – the list goes on. I think growing up in a time without an abundance of technology forced us to use our imaginations. I always dreamt of building my own world.

Where did you get the idea for this book and what other books can we look forward to?

I had a nightmare about 10 years ago. I woke up thinking it would make a great plot for a story and that I should write it down. I made a few notes the next morning and told myself I should write about it. Of course I never did. Months passed and I thought of the dream from time to time. It was so vivid, and always in the back of my mind. It took a few years for my life to slow down before I turned those notes into a first chapter, which eventually became Elidad.

I have a solid rough draft of my sequel started (about 20 chapters). Dominion: Sword of Justice Book 2 is better than I ever dreamed. I’m really excited to share this story with everyone. I can see the growth in my writing and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. You can find the first chapter of Dominion in the back of Elidad Sword of Justice Book 1. At this point, my goal is to complete a trilogy. After that, I may want to do some prequels but I don’t want to get too crazy with my goals.

What other interests do you have and what activities are you involved with besides writing?

My husband and I hike, camp and fish. We are avid archery hunters. It’s what I grew up doing and it’s how we provide food for our family with organic, free range meat. We spend a lot of time enjoying the woods that surround us here in Oregon. It’s a nice reset after serving people every day in a resort town. We love to travel and usually end up in Mexico. Our favorite places are little no name towns with dirt floor restaurants, where no one’s chasing you around and trying to sell you something. 

Eva Hulett was born and raised in Oregon where she and her family enjoy the outdoors, hiking, camping, and hunting. She currently lives in Sunriver, Oregon with her husband Jim, daughter Taylor, and feisty Labrador, Jager. Eva and her husband have been sole proprietors of two businesses in Sunriver resort since 2008. She is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild and is published in the 2015 Harvest Writing Winners Collection. Her debut novel Elidad will be released February 1st by Winter Goose Publishing. 

Follow Eva at EvaHulett.com
https://twitter.com/EvaHulett
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEvaHulett/
https://www.instagram.com/evahulettauthor/

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Review & Interview For Olivia’s Ghost by author Joseph Falank

olivias-ghost-flat-for-ebooks“An immensely talented writer, Kathryn Mattingly (BENJAMIN, JOURNEY), has a new novel out. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of OLIVIA’S GHOST and can say this is an absolute must read – and a great gift for the upcoming holidays.” Joseph Falank, author of An Unexpected Visit.

REVIEW

While reading Kathryn Mattingly’s newest novel Olivia’s Ghost (for sale everywhere as of Friday) I found myself having a gut-wrenching experience, but in the best of ways. I’ll explain.

Jackson and Olivia Porter go sailing on Puget Sound and lose their daughter, Ava, overboard during a sudden squall. During the ensuing weeks Ava’s parents understandably reside in a constant state of shock and grief. Jackson believes their daughter to have drowned, but with no body recovered, Livy maintains that in a flash of lightning she saw someone on a boat pull Ava from the water. Only their daughter was never returned to them, providing Livy with ghastly wonderings as to what became of Ava following this hope of a rescue. This brings about the first cracks in the otherwise sturdy wall of their marriage.

Olivia believes so strongly that their daughter is still alive, she leaves Ava’s Memorial Service in a panic to chase down a girl that resembles Ava. With her mental capacities now in question, Olivia nonetheless decides she cannot remain with Jackson as long as he doesn’t hold a flicker of belief in her maternal feelings about Ava being out there, likely held against her will. For respite, Olivia returns to a lighthouse on the Oregon Coast manned by her father. It’s there that Olivia, who writes for a magazine, delves into the mystery of a ghost that supposedly haunts the stairwell.

A ghost with a message for Olivia.

In the opening I mentioned having a gut-wrenching experience reading Olivia’s Ghost, and here’s why: ever since a wintry afternoon two years ago, when I learned I would become a father, I’ve had difficulty with stories (of all mediums) that deal with children in peril. My wife and I went to the movies the night we learned our little Peanut would be joining the  family, and Heaven Is For Real was one of the movie previews. It’s inspired by the supposed true story of a boy who dies on the operating table and claims to have traveled to heaven before coming back. I cried watching it. Yes, I cried at a movie trailer.

Mattingly’s opening chapter of what happens on Puget Sound draws you right into the Porter family. You like them immediately, and you clench and wince with dread knowing the looming clouds mean the worst for this family. You know what’s going to happen, and that almost makes it worse. You’re at the mercy of Mattingly’s striking prose, which puts you right there with this family, at the worst moments of their lives, and you can do nothing to help. You can only observe.

Being a parent, I couldn’t imagine how I’d respond to such a tragic event. And that’s how I approached Olivia’s Ghost – by wondering what I would do, wondering what my wife would do in the face of something so unspeakable.

The other gut-wrenching portion of my experience is that while I can see why Jackson would be stubborn in his belief of what happened, just as much as Olivia is with her own belief, it saddened me to read how the two could not find common ground. Or what common ground they did find was not enough, making separation the only answer.

I wanted each side to fight harder for the other, regardless that their traumatic events had taken a substantial toll. Neither side would give or bend. Escape was the only solace.

Then there are the added… distractions to their marriage, but I’ll leave you, dear reader, to discover the rest for yourself. There is a wonderfully rewarding story to be found here, full of twists and turns, cryptic messages from the beyond, love enduring through impossible sadness and trauma, and, in the end…

Oh, no. I can’t go there. Except only to say that you will be hooked right to the very end. To the last line on the absolute last page.

What Kathryn Mattingly has done here, at least for me, is create a truly psychological experience. Her expertly written dialogue, characters with the best of intentions residing in shades of gray, and scenes painted with only the finest of strokes, turn the real questions back onto you.

What would you do if you were Jackson or Olivia?

How strong is your faith?

How far are you willing to go to get the truth? Is the truth enough?

One only needs to open Olivia’s Ghost to begin discovering the answers for yourself.

Just be warned, putting the book down may be more difficult than answering the questions it raises.

Now a little about the author:

Version 2Kathryn Mattingly has taught writing at four different private colleges. Aside from her literary suspense novels and short story collection, Kathryn’s work can be found in numerous small press anthologies and several print magazines. She has won five awards for her fiction, and teaches novel writing at a local college.

INTERVIEW

Kathryn ~ First, loved the book. I found it powerful, heartbreaking, and ultimately it created a struggle within my own self as to how I would handle the situation Jackson and Livy find themselves in. To say I found your story effective is quite the understatement. What made you want to write this story? How long did it take to put together that first draft and what was your schedule for writing it?

As a parent of four, nothing I imagined could be more horrific than losing a child before your very eyes and not being able to do anything about it, except watch. I’m sure I pulled from novels and movies that touch upon this theme, because I read a lot of books and am quite the movie buff. Sophie’s Choice nearly destroyed me in that moment of first realizing the implications and far reaching effects of such a dilemma.

I wrote the first draft of Olivia’s Ghost over a decade ago, and only recently completely reworked the book. When I originally wrote it Terry Brooks (author of New York Times best selling series Sword of Shannara) was my mentor. He loved the premise, but feared certain aspects of the paranormal theme might not suspend my reader’s disbelief unless I reworked it a bit.

I also had a New York agent at the time, Tony Outhwaite, with JCA Literary Agency. He sent the original book out to numerous editors at various publishing houses and the feedback was wonderful. They all loved the main concept, characters and setting, but that paranormal thread still needed work. I finally nailed it by doing a major re-haul of the ghost in the lighthouse, at least if my early readers are any indication. I must say it felt immensely satisfying to finally give this book a proper paranormal plotline that draws my readers in and endears them to the ghost.

My writing schedule for this book was literally 8-10 hours a day, 6-7 days a week (I kid you not) for 8 months straight. That’s because once I had decided to completely rewrite it I began to panic that the book wouldn’t be ready for its release date this fall. So, I put my head to the grindstone and never came up for air. (Well, maybe for a glass of wine here and there.)

As I’ve noticed in your other books, your characters aren’t black and white. Here, both the characters of Jackson and Livy are in states of grief, but Jackson plays the head to Livy’s heart in regards to believing what ultimate fate became of their daughter, Ava. Obviously I won’t spoil that here, but I want to talk about these characters. Jackson’s approach is one of, “It happened, it was awful, but for the sake of what we have left – we need to move on,” whereas Livy refuses to give in to that thinking, trusting that their daughter was indeed pulled from the Sound during the squall by a person on another boat. She needs to find Ava and bring her home.

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Joseph Falank

There is a line Livy says to her photographer friend, Andrew, that goes, “I don’t know why I’m suddenly aware of her (the ghost in the lighthouse) but I am. If my intuition is wrong about the ghost, then it might be wrong about Ava… and I can’t accept that.”

Is this a matter of Livy trying to gain some measure of control over the uncontrollable situation they had with Ava on the water? Or is this just guilt for not saving Ava?

You’re right about my characters not being black and white. One aspect of writing that I enjoy most is showing how a character behaves under pressure, when experiencing a difficult situation. Jackson and Olivia’s self perception as responsible and good parents becomes badly shaken, and they deal with it in different ways. Whereas Jackson chooses escapism (into his work or a bottle of booze) Olivia wants to find her child and resume their once happy life as if nothing ever happened.

Neither of them can justify to themselves the unthinkable – letting their daughter drown in a storm on a sailboat where they believed she’d be safe. All parents believe they can keep their child safe no matter what – right? Well, the truth is that neither of them could save their daughter, so while one is trying to escape from that reality, the other is trying to change it. If Olivia perceives herself to be unstable (and she fears she might be) then she cannot continue to believe Ava is alive and well, and waiting to be found. She feels she has no choice but to believe that the ghost is also real, even though a part of her questions it.

Because I’m so caught up with how Jackson and Livy reacted differently in the aftermath of the squall, and I always like to wonder “What if…” let’s say Ava drowned and they – Jackson and Olivia – pulled her from the Sound. How do you envision their lives would have gone on from that point? Would the issue of their daughter’s death still have put them at odds?

I don’t think so. I think they would have grieved like most parents do when losing a child. It’s a myth that most marriages break up over the loss of a child. Most of them do not. But those with extenuating circumstances often do, and that’s what we have regarding Ava – no body, and a possible rescue seen in a flash of lightning through the pouring rain by Olivia. Now we have her parents at odds as to what they think happened, and we have set the course for conflict between them.

Did you learn anything about yourself in writing OLIVIA’S GHOST?

I realized how much I loved living on the Oregon Coast while having my babies. At the time I felt isolated and a bit resentful that there were not more opportunities for me to connect with other young mothers through organized activities. But now I cherish those years of isolation with my four young children, and the unique environment in which we lived. The beach was literally their playground, and all it took to entertain them was a bucket and shovel. When they were no longer toddlers I ran a school for the ‘Creative Expression of Young Children’ where we did everything kinesthetically through art or theater (I have an art degree).

Above all else the school impressed me with the lengths parents will go to for their children’s welfare. They would even take time off work to do their obligatory day as ‘helping hands’ for art and theater projects. This book, ultimately, is about how nothing can compare to or replace the love we have for our children.

Having no knowledge of boats, the water, or sailing, I found it absolutely frightening the speed at which the squall materialized. Can storms over the water really come together that quickly and without warning?

Yes. Squalls are sudden storms that appear to come straight from hell, stirred by the devil himself. You never know when or where they might form in the ocean. Do most people who sail a lot encounter them? No. But they happen often enough that most people have heard of them, or read about them, and they have happened on Puget Sound. Events such as squalls drive home the concept that we are all victims of fate, regardless of how much we think we have planned for safety or security in our lives. It can be stripped away by one momentous act of something unforeseen. In the end it is our courage (or lack there of) in such situations that truly define us.

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You can follow Kathryn on Facebook & Twitter.  Visit Amazon’s Kathryn Mattingly Page and her website: edgy words unleashed

Visit Joseph’s website at:  www.josephfalank.com

A Tribute to a True Angel

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Sara Ann
Kaster

October 14, 1977 –
October 20, 2016

Sara Ann Kaster, 39, passed away peacefully in her Eugene home on October 20th after battling cancer for nearly five years. Sara was a nurse at Eugene Pediatric Associates. She is survived by her husband Eric and four children: Carly (14), Kayla (11), Rocco (9) and Riggins (4). She is also survived by her parents, Doug and Kathy Nelson, and her brother and sister-in-law, Todd and Sara Nelson, and their children: Adelyn (13) and Andrew (6), all of Eugene. 

I give this tribute with a heart that deeply mourns Sara’s loss. None of us who knew her will ever forget that little girl with the white blonde hair and long skinny legs. As an adult, Sara lovingly and tirelessly nurtured her children (Sara had always wanted a lot of kids) and those she served as a nurse. She was taken from us too soon, and is missed by so many. At this time of thanksgiving I am thankful to have known her.

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Even as a little girl, Sara was wrapped in an aura of kindness and warmth. Her smile lit up whatever room she was in. It exuded cheerfulness, that smile.  You couldn’t spend time with Sara and not feel more positive about things. She radiated hopefulness through her sincere joy of living.

It seems like only yesterday when she and her brother ran down the shores of Lake Billie Chinook with our own children. They’d float on rafts beneath the hot sun without a care in the world. Life is made up of moments. Who would ever have thought those summer vacations our families spent together would one day be golden memories, shimmering brightly in the sands of bittersweet time?

Sara had the gentlest of souls. Goodness sparkled in her eyes like mischief might in others. There is something to the expression that the good die young. Perhaps Sara earned her angel wings in half the time it takes the rest of us. Perhaps God needed her somewhere else, for a task only she could perform.

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It is sad that we could not hold her here to fill our earthly arms and that her four children will grow up, not just without a mother, but without a mother who was phenomenal at the task.

Perhaps Sara is light-worlds away championing the weak or needy, just as she did on earth. As full of light and love as ever, but no longer afflicted with a diseased body. Instead, perhaps she is strong and razor focused on her new, knightly endeavors in that next realm.

We will think of her every time we see a shooting star or a full moon. We will know that she is out there somewhere in a faraway world. Perhaps one day we will visit that next world ourselves. Then once again we will see that smile and it will be exactly as we remembered it. Alas, we will smile back and ask Sara how she’s been, and if she’s glanced down upon her loved ones from time to time between battles anew, wrapping them in her unseen arms of complete and utter love.

Oh what a tale she will tell when we meet again. It will be a story for all ages… and one, I daresay, we will listen to around a campfire that crackles and glows with merriment. Much like the campfires our families shared all those years ago on vacations at Cove Palisades. In the meantime our hearts and minds will never forget Sara. We will always think of her when we see a star dancing in the night sky.

We will think about how she is out there, somewhere over the moon, sending kisses on the wind to her children’s cheeks as they sleep.

Click this link to read more about Sara Kaster.

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Lake Billie Chinook

 

Joseph Falank’s “An Unexpected Visit” is coming soon…

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As an author of adult and young-adult fiction, Joseph Falank has had many of his stories featured in magazines and online publications. He has written and directed over twenty independent films and is a performing member and manager of The Puzzled Players Comedy Improv Theater. Since 2002 he has worked with children, young adults, and special needs kids in a classroom setting from pre-K through grade twelve. Joseph lives with his wife in his hometown of Binghamton, New York.

I recently read his latest release due out this October, An Unexpected Visit, which is a short book (also known as a novella) and is focused on an intense situation from the perspective of a middle-aged boy. Noah and his father are the only characters in the story, aside from a short appearance by the mother at the beginning and end of the weekend spent with his dad, who has been estranged from Noah and his mom for the last two years.

We find out early on in the story that Noah’s father has military and war related emotional issues from whatever special-forces unit he was (and perhaps still is) involved with. We do find out what has traumatized Noah’s father, and this is the catalyst for what, over the course of the weekend, nearly traumatizes Noah as well.

The story is captivating from the first paragraph and continues at a ‘hold your breath’ pace throughout the book. Mr. Falank does an extraordinary job of putting us into the hearts and minds of these two characters (as told through Noah’s perspective) and thus causing us to care deeply about the outcome of this ‘unexpected visit.’

It is excellent writing that exposes all of the emotional intricacies of a father and son torn apart for the last couple years through circumstances out of their control. The story unfolds glimpses of those years prior, which had been spent as a family, and the current realities of the present weekend in which they each try to find a pathway back to one another – despite the gapping wounds in their relationship, and in themselves.

Joseph shows us all of this through riveting description and action as seen by the eyes of Noah, rather than simply ‘telling’ us this fascinating tale as a narrator. An Unexpected Visit triggers many thoughts that continue to evolve long after the last page is read.

A peek into this father-son weekend is sure to open a window to better understanding of the complex relationships experienced by all of us. Ultimately we can, as a unified group of Falank fans, agree that his writing elevates the average read into something much more meaningful.

I asked Joseph a few questions about his story, which seemed so real to me in its rich detail that I had to wonder if it was not really fiction, but a situation he himself had lived through.

Why did you go this route of having a stand-alone novella grouped with micro stories relating to your last book (The Painted Lady) instead of perhaps grouping three novellas together? You obviously enjoy the reflective drama that sucks a reader in and then leaves them with a lot to think about when the story ends.

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When I got the idea for this story, I saw a boy (Noah) trapped in his bed, in the dark, in the middle of the night, in a house out in the middle of nowhere with only his father. The boy couldn’t do anything but cower under the covers, forced to listen to the endless wailing of his dad, who was experiencing some kind of night terror.

In developing Noah’s arc, I decided I wanted to stay with him for the duration – from the beginning of the story to its end – to maintain tension, and not add in relief in the form of subplots to deviate from the main story, which is the broken relationship between the two.

That choice made me realize the story would be much shorter than my first two novels (Seeing and The Painted Lady) and I was actually excited about that – to do something different. I adore novellas as a form of fiction, read a number of them in the lead-in to writing Visit to better hone my skills and understand the pacing. I’m thankful to be with a publisher (Winter Goose) who isn’t afraid to take chances on releasing novellas as stand-alone books.

The only thing keeping me from putting three novellas under one cover is that they’ll undoubtedly be compared to each other – readers will pick their favorites, deciding which one doesn’t belong, etc. It was out of my own guilt that I even added the “micro” stories that follow Visit; and that’s not to say I don’t think those stories are good (because I like them very much) but I want readers to feel that they get their money’s worth when they purchase a book of mine. It’s not a quality versus quantity issue, but if I can give more, I will. Still, the novella is the star of the show, hence why it’s not considered a collection – the “micro” stories are just Bonus Material.

When I originally set out with writing, my early manuscripts were in the flavor of The Twilight Zone, where a troubled person found themselves in the midst of a supernatural experience whereby they were forced to acknowledge something about themselves and change. In forcing myself to dig deeper, I became more interested in the character-study and how a family can be affected rather than put focus on the supernatural element. An Unexpected Visit is just a boy and his father, and hopefully a whole lot of tension, but nothing paranormal – that’s a first for me.

Is this a true story or is that too personal to ask? If it is true, might there be a memoir in your future? You seem to have a lot of interesting stories, which actually happened to you. I still remember the teacher that was encouraging about your writing, and then became critical about a piece you’d written. That had caused you a lot of self-doubt until realizing your potential as a wordsmith was not hers to make or break. 

When it comes to the actual plot of my stories, I don’t draw from real life. I do, though, like to include touches of real experiences to make the books more personal to me and immortalize those stories. For example, in Visit, the story of Noah being born – as told by his father – is actually the story of my daughter’s birth. In The Painted Lady, Miles’ proposal to his then girlfriend on a windswept beach in the midst of a blizzard mirrored my own proposal. Seeing had Jake become aware of a huge revelation in the presence of a butterfly, and butterflies had also caused a huge revelation in my own life.

I don’t think I’ve experienced enough yet in my thirty-three years to do a memoir, nor do I feel I’ve earned it. To me, memoir carries a weight of recognition. I feel they’re best suited for ex-presidents, soldiers, big time musicians, authors nearing the end of their careers, journalists, people who’ve made it to the top of their respective mountains and come back down the other side, ready to tell us all about it. I’m just getting started and have a long way to go, but I do hope to one day find myself in a position to tell my story. Till then I’ll just keep fitting pieces in each new book.

If the teacher who criticized me very early on taught me anything it’s that there will always be someone who doesn’t like your work – always at least one. It’s not their cup of tea. And that’s OK. I’ve learned to deal with that, knowing it’s inevitable with everything I write. That’s why I write for me, and my wife. If I write something and one or both of us don’t care for it, then I revise until I can solve the issue. If someone else doesn’t like it, well, I can’t know what he or she liked to begin with, so I don’t take it personally.

What do you want your audience to know about upcoming projects?

Much as I’ve struggled with the decision, ultimately, for my own sake, I won’t be publishing a book in 2017. I’ve done one book a year for the last three years, and while I’ve had a very (very) productive summer, I really do want to take time for myself, my family, and enjoy the accomplishment that I’ve had three books published (!!!). I want to work pushing what I have done rather than just concern myself with the next book and rush anything. Taking a year off from being on the publishing calendar will be a recharging of the batteries.

I will mention that there’re already two novels and another novella in the works for the years following – one of those novels is vastly different from anything I’ve done before, the other novel is a return to YA, and the novella is probably the saddest story I’ve ever written. Just have to stay tuned for more on those.

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On Twitter: @JosephFalank

 

 

Olivia’s Ghost

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EARLY REVIEWS FOR OLIVIA’S GHOST…

Reviews from author friends whom I admire and respect are coming in for my third literary suspense novel, Olivia’s Ghost, recently released by Winter Goose Publishing. Thank you each of them for taking time to read my book and comment on it. All of these authors have wonderful books out that I highly recommend for your reading pleasure.

AUTHOR REVIEWS

From Eldon Thompson (eldonthompson.com) author of the fantasy series The Legend of Asahiel… “A powerful portrayal of love and loss… With Olivia’s Ghost, author Kathryn Mattingly once again uses rich language and a keen interpretation of human emotion (and human frailty) to carry the reader through a poignant adventure of the heart. I can’t imagine the anguish that must stem from losing a child, yet Mattingly’s descriptions in this tale are so frank, so earnest, so heartfelt, that I came much closer than I would ever want to. She made me feel just how empty and devastating such a loss would be. She made me want to be there with these characters to commiserate with them, console them, grieve with them. She made me want to believe, as her protagonist does, that there must be some other answer, some misinterpretation of events that would allow for something more than the harrowing, hollowing truth.

994142_10201488408799215_1511778849_nAs with all of Mattingly’s stories, there is a mystery here that demands resolution. But the true strength of the story, the common thread in the Mattingly books I’ve read, are the questions of love and loyalty. What must it do to a marriage, this greatest of losses? How does each person reconcile it, privately and together? At the peak of our vulnerability, what choices do we make in search of sustenance and support? The moral ambiguities presented in this tale raise dramatic questions difficult to answer. Which in turn heightens the tension. Whichever end you might be rooting for, it becomes hard to blame the characters should they choose an alternate path. Which meant I had no idea how it all might end, and was thus glued to the pages with anticipation.

As inherently, necessarily painful as much of the tone of this story is throughout, I found the ending highly satisfying. Heart-wrenching, yes, but true and organic to the events come before it. As with many writers, it’s been great fun to see Mattingly’s growth and maturity as a storyteller from one volume to the next, and I can’t wait to see what next she has in store.”

Virginia A. Simpson-1Virginia Simpson drvirginiasimpson.com author of The Space Between: A Memoir of Mother-Daughter Love at the End of Life…“In Olivia’s Ghost award winning author Kathryn Mattingly has again created a complex and entertaining story with a heroine who makes us question what is real and what is the wishful fantasy of a mother whose child has been tossed overboard in a squall and never found. Despite the challenges to her marriage and the disbelief of friends and family, who question her very sanity, Olivia holds onto her mother’s intuition as she searches to find and bring her daughter home. A riveting story that will keep you entertained from the first page until the last.”

sallyFrom Sally Cook, author of Catch Them if You Can and The Sky is Falling…Wonderful book!  Kathryn Mattingly wrote a captivating story, one of tears and joy. I reached a point where I could not stop reading. Her beautiful descriptions of the Central Oregon Coast took me back to where we once lived. Her books never fail to be a good read. Benjamin should have been on the NYBest Seller List. I easily set aside a book I was reading from the NY Best Seller List to read Olivia’s Ghost.”

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From Amy Rivers author of Wallflower Blooming…“Olivia’s Ghost is the story of a mother pushed to her breaking point by grief, whose unrelenting hope and intuitive strength become the catalyst for untangling the wreckage of profound loss. An intricate story of determination, Mattingly has woven a tale with complex, relatable characters that you can love and agonize with.”

imagesFrom Chuck Barrett Bestselling author of BLOWN…“From it’s tragic beginning to its gripping conclusion, Olivia’s Ghost takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. From never-ending love, to love lost, to rekindled love, Mattingly keeps you entwined in her character’s lives as they search for a meaning to their loss, and in which direction the future will lead them.”

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From Jesse Weiner author of Uncommon Blood… Mattingly uses evocative imagery and stunningly beautiful prose to weave a deliciously tangled web of frustrated and conflicting desires. Livy’s maddening obsession with the quest to find her daughter, the latent sexual tension between Olivia and her first love, and the appearance of a lighthouse ghost keep the reader guessing what will happen next.”

gabriel-valjan-bw-1000x753From Gabriel Valjean author of the Roma series… “Literature is ripe with stories about the loss of a child; the theme of such grief ripples through many of John Irving’s novels. Where most authors would dwell on the simmering, if not open, hostility and recriminations between spouses, Kathryn Mattingly provides a twist by offering the reader two mysteries: the disappearance of one child, the daughter of Olivia and Jackson Porter, and a ghost associated with a lighthouse.

It is not easy writing – and a remarkable accomplishment – that Mattingly conveys the loss of identity in motherhood. Olivia is driven, asking difficult and painful questions. It does not help that both spouses have temptations around them, but Mattingly’s parting note is that love triumphs and mends wounds. The writing is lush and lyrical, conjuring the sights and sounds of the ocean. When the seagull caws, it is a reminder that grief’s answer is in the language of hope and a mother’s abiding faith.”

13239183_277868959213091_8792692907832004041_nFrom Rene Reid author of Finding The Magic… “From the first pages, Olivia’s Ghost plunges the reader into a maelstrom of powerful emotions and a heart-rending mystery.  Mattingly is a superb word artist, who paints the reader completely into the beauty and ruggedness of the Oregon Coast as well as into the lives of her well-developed characters. It’s a thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable read with a great surprise ending.”

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From Linda J. Berry author of Hidden… “Kathryn Mattingly has mastered the art of bringing complex characters to life and embedding them in a story that is hauntingly tragic, hopeful, and tinted with wisps of the supernatural. Add a stunning beach setting and historical lighthouse on the Oregon coast, two tormented men who compete for her love, and you have an emotional roller coaster ride that will leave you breathless.

10847729_813583612018475_4968798852055225684_oFrom Jim Campaign author of Untapped Power and Coming Home Dead…“With Olivia’s Ghost Kathryn Mattingly once again shows her fans why she is an award-winning author. Within the first chapter, during a day that began with so much promise and ends with unimaginable heartache, readers will be captivated by rich characters and suspense that does not end until the final pages.”

12523832_1121088027971172_7803647571123543400_nFrom JC Lynne author of The Esau Continuum Series…Olivia’s Ghost weaves a tale of sadness and hope in equal measure. You’ll find yourself holding your breath as you turn the pages while Mattingly skillfully pulls together the threads of two lives that explore the darkness and near madness of bereavement. Jackson and Olivia question whether they can recover their better selves in time to salvage their marriage, if not their daughter.”

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From  Sarah Reichert author of The Southtown Harbor Series… Haunting and beautifully written, Kathryn Mattingly’s Olivia’s Ghost follows complex and empathetic characters through the pain of unimaginable loss and the uplifting chance for hope. Mattingly writes with the deep notes of tragedy and a mother’s persistent belief, interweaving them through Olivia’s journey into a life without her daughter. The reader is taken, with matching optimism and despair, through the story; willing the unlikely survival of Olivia’s beloved Ava, and rooting for her fight for the truth to not be in vain. Mattingly’s storytelling induces chills and enraptures the reader in this mysterious and sad tale of intrigue, intense in it’s journey through the shades of grief and the possibility of the otherworldly realm. The surprise ending does justice to the book in many thought-provoking ways that stick with you long after the last page.”

14263989_10208588923092998_3983834951770559386_nFrom Eva Huett, author of Elided…Like the ocean she paints perfectly, Mattingly crushes you with tragedy and keeps you turning the page with a glimmer of hope. In this raw tale she dissects the complexity of human emotion that is heartbreakingly relatable.”

 

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Cover art for Olivia’s Ghost is by Ladd Woodland @https://www.behance.net/laddwoodland

 
 
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Kathryn Mattingly

 

 

 

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Key Elements of a Good Novel

429246_3369649207122_1691916516_nRecently I was a guest author on Patricia Stoltey‘s blogpost. Pat is a locally renowned author, blogger, and member of NCW. I feel honored to be the coordinator for the Northern Colorado Writers Top of the Mountain writing contest associated with the annual conference which will be open to submissions in September. It’s a pleasure working with the wonderful, expert judges and the inspiring entrants who never cease to amaze with their interesting and well-penned manuscripts.

Here is a repost of that article. I hope it helps both inspiring and seasoned writers everywhere either reach the winners circle or stay on top of their game, because whether entering a contest or not – these are the key elements of good writing.

REPOST:

To land you in the finalist’s circle of any contest and possibly win you the first place award, begin with examining your Viewpoint. Did you use a consistent, identifiable, and appropriate POV for the scene, and without any author intrusion? If point of view is confusing or unclear to you, be sure to study up on it because, like tense, it is the glue that holds your book together.

Next, scrutinize those Characters. Have you developed your protagonist and antagonist effectively? Are they believable? Are we sympathetic to your hero or heroine? This means regardless of the mistakes they are making we understand their motives and are rooting for them to eventually figure it out. We want them to succeed, or otherwise accomplish what they have set out to do. If we don’t care, then you haven’t endeared us to them, which means we are going to close the book somewhere before page 25. Not coincidentally, this is the same number of pages you submit to the contest.

10600484_627055100749424_5442419448206135148_nThis leads to Pacing. No matter how clear your point of view, or how consistent your tense, and regardless of our empathy for your main character, if your Plot does not have a compelling reason for us to turn the page – we won’t. Exactly why you must be certain every single scene whether action, narrative, or dialogue moves the story forward. Did the author use a lot of backstory? Did the sequencing of events make sense? Did the author ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ what is happening? Is the overall flow of the novel pleasing?

If the rhythmic and smooth effect of a well-orchestrated storyline isn’t there, it is often because you used too much backstory, and/or did not sequence your events properly. Either issue can cause your effect to be choppy and segmented, bogging your reader down as they struggle to keep everything straight.

If there is too much narrative (which means inactive telling rather than active showing) we are going to fall asleep, or at the very least not remember a word we just read. Which leads to the importance of Tension (or suspense). Tension and suspense begin with an opening Hook… something that fully invests us in whatever lies ahead. And let’s not forget Setting. No matter how surreal, it must be interesting and believable. Setting includes a timeline that carefully unfolds before us in a way that grounds the reader.

Are the action scenes clear and precise so the reader always knows who is doing what to whom? Is the Dialogue appropriate for the person speaking it? Can we be certain who is speaking whether a dialogue tag is used or not? Are you sticking with the standard dialogue tags ‘he said-she said’? Is every scene whether dialogue, narrative, or an action scene necessary to move the story forward?

Do the twists and turns of the plot move progressively to a Climax? Do those twists and turns show growth in your main character? Does the climax give us a clear and concise view of what they ultimately stand for? Do they win the day and if not, why not? Is the Resolution to the story satisfying?

This doesn’t mean you have to tie everything up with a bow, or have a happy ending. It means your reader, upon reflection, will be glad they invested the time it took to read your novel.

Finally, Mechanics do matter. Nothing disturbs a story more than poor sentence structuring, bad grammar (outside of character-appropriate dialogue) or typos. Improper use of punctuation disturbs the flow of your story as much as anything.

The last thought I want to leave you with is this: Who is your Intended Audience? The correct answer to that does not include ‘everyone’ unless your book is required high school reading (such as To Kill A Mockingbird). The rest of us need to define our target audience.

Choose the genre that best describes your work. Your entire stage presence depends on it. This includes your author platform, what section your novel is in at the bookstore, what time of day is best to have book signings, and who will come to your speaking engagements.

Be cognizant of your ‘fans’ (readership) with everything you do and say to promote your work, and yourself. Being true to the image you create as a writer, is key to success.

Consider entering your polished manuscript in the T.O.M. contest. There is no better way to monitor how successfully you’re achieved all of these important elements than to get expert feedback from accomplished wordsmiths!

Submission for the contest will open in September. You’ll find the announcement on the Northern Colorado Writers website and here on this blog.

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Kathryn Mattingly is a college educator, professional editor, award-winning author and public speaker. She has taught numerous writing courses in the English and Communications departments of several private colleges. Her literary fiction novels Benjamin, Journey, and Olivia’s Ghost (2016) can be found at all major booksellers. Five of her short stories have received recognition for excellence and are published in eight different themed anthologies through various small presses, and in her collection Fractured Hearts. Kathryn currently teaches courses she has created for the continuing Ed program at Front Range College. This fall she will be teaching novel writing, novel editing, and short story writing. Find the details regarding her July workshop through the college here.

Learn more about Kathryn and her writings on her webpage, her Amazon author page, and the Winter Goose Publishing website. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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10 Hair-Raising Resolutions for 2016

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All of us have aspirations for a better coming year. We might write our goals down, or maybe not choose to admit what they are… even to ourselves. Unfortunately, some of the most important life changing things that could make us happier, better people are never on the countless to-do lists at year’s end. Here are ten I challenge you to consider:

1 – Dance in the rain. The very next time you have a downpour that could cause flashfloods grab someone near you and recreate your own flashdance- just like in the movie. Or if you prefer, pretend you’re in a ballroom or disco bar. Or just hold that other someone getting drenched on your behalf and sway ever so slightly. Savor it. Sear it into your soul. Spend time recalling the invigorating touch of nourishing raindrops, the titillating sound of splashing water on hard earth, and the smell of your immediate world being bathed in love raining down on you from God above.

2 – Kiss like young lovers. Hard. Long. Often. Purposefully. Stare into your lover’s eyes. Even if you’ve been married 50 years or more. Even if you’re exhausted from work. Or the kids are breaking things in the next room. Or you just burned dinner. One day you will be glad you did, and do, and always will until that opportunity passes and you no longer can… because one of you is gone.

3 – Marvel at the stars. Lay down in the grass at night and stare at them. Feel the lawn tickle your skin. Smell the rich earth. Sit out on the porch and watch them twinkle… while cuddling a loved one. Wonder what lies beyond those stars. Wish upon the brightest burning fire in that night-sky. Make note of each moon stage. Make-out in the dark. (Even if you’re 102!)

4 – Commit to a matinee day. Twice a month be inspired by what is on that big screen. Or be terrified. Perhaps angered. Maybe saddened. No matter your reaction, you will be MOVED emotionally. Then think about it all week. Let it fester and grow, and CHANGE you in some small way.

5 – Support the dreams of others. Listen and encourage. Applaud their accomplishments. Make a toast to little achievements. Mention their success, no matter how small. Buy their products purposefully- books they’ve published, CD’s they’ve recorded, produce they produce. Attend recitals of your friends’ children. Go to community plays. Ballgames. Neighborhood gatherings. Be a small part of something bigger. A unique little piece of the puzzle, without which, it isn’t complete.

6 – Converse with store clerks. Cheerfully inquire about their day. Have a happy comeback or an understanding look. Thank them for waiting on you. Even when they frustrate you; fade anger into forgiveness. Realize their significant other may have just left them. They might have recently been diagnosed with cancer, or simply can’t pay the light bill. Be their light for that moment your life touches theirs.

7 – Smile at kids in crowded places. You know, the ones hiding behind an adult but sneak a peek at you? Or the toddlers that toddle after mom while whining nothing translatable in sad little voices? (We can assume they’re hungry or tired, because toddlers are always hungry or tired.) Smile at the wild school-aged kids running down the aisles or trying on the nail polish. Find humor in these under-disciplined, out-of-control, what-is-the-world-coming-to pint-sized people. If you do, you will go more gently into that good night one day.

8 – Send cards to seniors. Not just any seniors. YOUR seniors. Grandmas (whether real or inherited), aging parents, the lady at church that sits alone in the back… the neighbor across the street. Put their birthdays in your phone. Take a minute from your busy day to choose just the right card at Walmart or Target. Write a note inside. Mail it early enough so they receive it by their special day!! (Or hand-deliver with cookies you baked yourself.) Seniors, more than any other age group, truly appreciate your thoughtfulness. Truly.

9 – Hug tighter. Hug tighter when you meet your friends for lunch, visit the folks in Ohio (or wherever they live), see that great aunt in the nursing home, greet your kids after school, or your honey home from work. HUG LONGER. WITH PURPOSE. Every. Single. Time. Let it be the first thing written in your Eulogy. You. Hugged. So. Tight.

10 – Make lemonade. No, really. Buy those lemons you have hand-picked, sniffed, squeezed and lovingly gathered. Measure out the grainy, white, pure cane sugar that is so-not the devil incarnate we have made it out to be. Add water and ice to dazzle the senses with pure delight in the clink and swoosh of it. Fill tall glasses proudly and share with someone you have chosen to honor with your presence and your handmade demonstration of love. Repeat often enough to feed your soul but not destroy your blood sugar levels. (This balancing act, by the way, is the secret to life.)

The resolutions on this list, my friends, will probably extend our time on this earth more than any new gym membership. (;

HAVE A HAPPY NEW Y.O.U. YEAR!

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00EILN6YE

Compelling and intelligent, Kathryn Mattingly’s characters are imbued with a timely sense of presence and emotional gravitas, which adds significantly to the plausibility of her well-constructed plots. …. Book Viral Reviews Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 10.10.54 AM

 

Tis the Season…

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I have a very mixed pallet this year for my splashes of color on the wheel of life. They range from bright pure hues of assuredness and joy to dark earth tones of uncertainty and sadness. But then, that is the cycle of life- is it not?

A highlight for me this year was spending 6 months in a mountain house overlooking the Cascade Range. I woke up to the sun reflecting off the Three Sisters every morning. Traveling to the town of Bend from our Eagle Crest home was an adventure in green pastures surrounded by stunning mountain peaks and filled with every type of domestic animal you can imagine.

To this day I see those fields of horses, lamas, and alpacas in my dreams- with a few mean looking bulls and scores of shiny black cattle. (Sometimes I think I never really lived there at all and it truly was just a dream.)

If winter and spring of 2015 was, let’s say, extended vacation, then spring was transition. Coming out of semiretirement to reestablish career expertise is no easy task. Fortunately, my husband (who could not turn down this dream job that awakened us from our Central Oregon dream)  has settled nicely into his position as the director of new business for Trans Aero Helicopters.

I spent the summer trying to remember my (yet again) new address, and how to translate the nuances of my new environment here in Colorado. The Rockies are as different from the Cascades as inland people are to those who live on either coast. If those peaks outside my mountain house were a sublime example of poetic serenity, then the Rockies are a perfect picture of majestic ruggedness.

The people, I think, reflect their mountain ranges. Once I understood these analogies, life got easier. I daresay the state is growing on me! How do I know? Well, for starters, I used to be proud when having to show my west coast drivers license. Now I feel a tinge of shame and remorse for not having replaced it yet.

By early fall I had moved through extended vacation, and transition, all the way to production. And it felt glorious to finally be too busy for much introspection about all of the above. My second novel Journey was released by Winter Goose Publishing October 1, and I taught the novel writing course I created for Central Oregon college at Front Range college here in Fort Collins. I traveled back to where I left my heart- in Bend, OR, to be a part of their Writer’s Guild Harvest Festival as a contest judge, speaker, and workshop host.

They even had a book launch for Journey!

I feel both honored and humbled by the response I am getting to my second novel, which by its very nature is risky, because (according to my reviewers) Benjamin set the bar high. Although I will always write in the same genre (I am listed under literary suspense, literature, and general fiction) the books are set up quite differently. Benjamin runs from top speed right out the gate all the way to the finish line, whereas Journey is a slow burn that suddenly ignites.

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Fall was quite a wild ride, but I think the biggest ride I take this year will happen in a Trans Aero helicopter on December 19th as part of their Christmas party. Hopefully there will be no plot twists and we will land safely!

I cannot write this post without sharing what I have been reading in 2015.

Let’s start with Harry Potter. Yes, shockingly enough, I never picked up a single book or viewed any of the films for that matter, until recently. My grandchildren were appalled that I hadn’t read this beloved series they all grew up with. What do I think of them now that I am waist high in Harry Potter?

I must admit they are addictive entertainment, and on a deeper level, they offer some wonderful food for thought, life-reflecting analogies, and well-worth-studying symbolism. (Not to mention helping me bond with my grandchildren.)

JK Rowling deserves every penny she has made off of them.

If I taught children (rather than adults) you better believe we would be reading and studying these books. I can’t think of any better way to turn children on to literature and reading, or to inspire them to have courage, character, and tenacity. As for those few Christians who think they are unsavory for young minds? I find that type of thinking much more frightening than anything on the pages of Harry Potter.

Tis the season… of Christ’s birth, despite 90 percent of our celebrations having nothing to do with that, even for Christians. Nonetheless I would like to say, on behalf of His birthday, that the Christ at the center of my faith is all about love, forgiveness, inclusion, not judging, not whining, not complaining, and not insisting that the world do as He did or said- rather that through His example of unconditional love and acceptance people would come to Him for sanctuary.

It saddens me to see all the negative press this year in which Christ is misrepresented to be a judgmental know-it-all determined to alienate everyone not willing to crawl into that very small, toxic, and suffocating box a few misguided people have put him in, including those who have picked on poor Harry.

The reputations of the Bible and Harry Potter series aside, two of my standout favorite reads for 2015 were Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (an older novel my book club chose, but just as riveting as anything written recently) and The Goldfinch by Donna Tart (a Pulitzer Prize winner).

Either of these books will transport you to someone else’s stress-filled reality (hence helping you forget your own) if you wish to treat yourself to a fascinating read when all the hustle and bustle of the season has deemed your need for a time out. (;

What does the New Year hold for this writer? Well, for starters, the college has asked me to create and teach a couple more classes since Novel Writing: Fiction & Memoir was such a hit. I will add Editing Your Novel or Short Story and The Art of the Short Story to their winter term. (These are evening classes through the noncredit Continuing Ed program.)

I am also working on my next novel, due out in 2016.

We will conclude the year by traveling back to our Illinois roots, to visit Dennis’s mom and sister. Our youngest daughter Anna is coming with us and we will stay at the Four Seasons in St. Louis (Anna is a sales manager for Four Seasons Resorts). We are looking forward to enjoying a few cultural experiences while there. It should bring back a lot of childhood memories.

Talk about reflection – I’m anticipating quite a bit of that on this last journey of the year…

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Bejamin_FlatforeBooks

Compelling and intelligent, Kathryn Mattingly’s characters are imbued with a timely sense of presence and emotional gravitas, which adds significantly to the plausibility of her well-constructed plots. …. Book Viral Reviews

Journey Flat for eBooks

Website: http://kathrynmattingly.com 

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

FB: https://www.facebook.com/kathrynmattinglyauthor

WG: http://wintergoosepublishing.com/authors/kathryn-mattingly/

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Garlic & Gauloises coming soon…

G&G Flat (1)Hemmie Martin began writing in 2008 and has since had five novels published, with the sixth coming out this month (Garlic & Gauloises). They include a crime series featuring DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox, a psychological thriller, and two contemporary novels – all through Winter Goose Publishing.

I am honored to call Hemmie a fellow goose in our gaggle. Considering her intense career choice as a community nurse for people with learning disabilities, we can only assume that her page-turning novels reflect a page-turning life.

Hemmie has also been a family planning nurse, and a forensic mental health nurse who worked with young offenders in the community and in young offender institutes. Altogether, I foresee a lifetime of book fodder, a lot of which has probably already spilled upon the pages of her well-penned novels.

Hemmie spent six years living in the south of France, and currently lives in Essex, England, where being a novel writing specialty nurse apparently wasn’t enough, since she and her husband also board guide dogs in training.

Really?

It has occurred to me that Hemmie could easily be the protagonist in one of her own novels. (And perhaps she is?) With her latest book coming out this month http://wintergoosepublishing.com/garlic-gauloises-cover-reveal/ I took the time to ask Hemmie a few questions about her fiction.

Mental health issues are a part of all of your novels so far. Is this something you intended to do?

Mental health has always been an interest of mine since my days as a student nurse. It is a complex subject, which is often misunderstood. I enjoy writing characters that suffer with mental illness, but also characters with a misconception of the subject, thus hopefully exposing more truth than fiction on the topic.

Your female protagonists tend to be strong women with flaws (similar to my own protagonists). We’re learning more about DI Eva Wednesday as the series progresses. Where do you see her headed down the road in this series?

When I wrote the first DI Wednesday In the Light of Madness I intended it to be a stand alone novel, but when I’d finished writing it, I realized how much I enjoyed being in Wednesday’s company. I knew more about her background than I divulged in the novel, so I had plenty to write about in the next novel. The fourth novel What Happens After is due to be published early 2016, and some readers have asked me whether Eva Wednesday and Jacob Lennox will get together. Understandably, I’m not going to answer that!

You write novels in two different genres, is there a reason for this, and is there one genre you prefer writing?

I started off writing contemporary fiction (The Divine Pumpkin) followed by a psychological thriller (Attic of the Mind). I realized that I enjoyed writing dark, tortured characters and toyed with the idea of writing crime, even though in my early days of writing I said I would never write crime (or a series).

I enjoy writing both genres as I feel it keeps my writing and mind fresh. Crime takes a lot of planning, what with the red herrings and false alibies, so it can be quite challenging at times. I like to take a break from that scene and explore more contemporary themes. Whichever genre I am writing in, I enjoy weaving mental health into the story -and I adore writing an antagonist.

As to which genre I ultimately prefer to write in– it really depends on my state of mind at the time. I may write another psychological thriller in the future. Who knows?

Apart from writing what else do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy reading, and I read a variety of genres, but predominantly contemporary fiction and crime. Another pastime is going to pubs with my husband, to listen to cover bands playing live rock music. The bands are amazingly talented, and it’s a truly wonderful way to pass an evening. And as you know, we board Guide Dogs in training for three months at a time. We become very attached to the dogs, but we console ourselves with knowing that they move on to make a person with visual impairment lead a more independent and fulfilling life.

All Winter Goose Publishing ebooks are currently only 2.99 on Amazon for the month of December. It’s a great chance to discover a new author.

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Here are the links to Hemmie Martin’s books, website, and Facebook author page…

Website: http://hemmiemartin.com/

Amazon UK: Visit Amazon’s Hemmie Martin Page         

Amazon US: Books:See all 10 items

FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/Hemmie-Martin-Author-Page-270022226396038/

WGP: Hemmie Martin

 

Compelling and intelligent, Kathryn Mattingly’s characters are imbued
with a timely sense of presence and emotional gravitas, which adds
significantly to the plausibility of her well-constructed plots. ~ Book Viral Reviews

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