Check out my personal and professional Facebook pages to learn about upcoming book events scheduled for a location near you. If you want to arrange a book event, just contact me by using the CONTACT FORM on my website, through email or through Facebook.
If I were to ask a younger version of myself how she feels about what is happening in my life as I approach my 65th birthday, that youngster would say she doesn’t believe that I wrote a book, never mind launched it, had a book trailer made, did a reading at Victoria Jubilee Hall in Walkerton, and presented the book in the company of nine other authors at the Staircase Theatre in Hamilton. Pinch me!
What an exciting time it has been. I recently received a parcel from the publisher of Took You So Long. Inside was an advance, the contract, some marketing tips, a publisher’s gift, and twenty copies of the book. I was SO excited to open the box. There are few times when I’ve been so emotional. Holding my very own debut collection of stories was akin to saying “I do” to John and holding our three children for the first time. Okay, okay, becoming a grandmother was right up there, too.
Now my ‘book baby’ has been released to the world. The serious nail-biting can begin.
This is the scrumptious cover.
The book can be acquired through the publisher, through your independent booksellers, online or by contacting me.
Are you someone who has difficulty locating your writing voice? Then this three hour workshop is for you.
Do you enjoy writing but can’t seem to get started? Maybe you have written in the past but have felt blocked to start again?
Join me, Cindy Matthews, local author of the debut short story collection Took You So Long, published by Porcupine’s Quill, late August 2022, for ways to ignite your writing. The focus will be on creating short fiction but many of the strategies explored will be applicable to memoir and creative nonfiction writing.
Debut Contemporary Literary Short Story Collection
by C. I. Matthews
In 7 weeks my short story collection will be released. Since early April Stephanie Small, the editor at The Porcupine’s Quill, has been working through the story edits with me. It’s an involved process that demands computer savvy, patience and flexibility. From my point of view, it is going well. Stephanie has had to hold my hand throughout because it’s my first time doing this. I’ve appreciated her professionalism and calm approach.
I’m so excited to release this book to you, dear reader. I hope you enjoy every story as much as I did creating them for you.
Click on the book’s cover below to learn how to order a copy.
Kevin and Sue, the folks who recently opened The Mill Pond Gallery in Cargill, have been so good and welcoming to local artists. In the summer of 2021, a successful group show and sale ran from early July to early August. In mid-November 2021 to December 24, 2021, another group art sale and show will be up and running. Thank you Kevin and Sue for your vision and appreciation for the arts.
Today I attended LitFest (Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop writing competition’s party) via Zoom. While online, I learned that two of my submissions placed. ‘Lost Innocence’ placed first in the creative nonfiction category. ‘The Roach Family’ placed third in the fiction competition.
These are the first few lines of ‘Lost Innocence’
“Children think sex is funny.” ~ Joe Brainard, author of the memoir I Remember
I remember the milkman parking his truck in the alley between our hotel and the liquor store. Three times a week he replaced the empty milk bottles with new ones.
I remember moving to the hotel one November, the crumbling tan brick next to the entrance sprinkling the sidewalk like flakes of oatmeal.
I remember leaving my friend Susan behind.
I remember at my new school instead of notebooks we used sheets of paper the size of a paperback. Fastened everything together with metal rings from the stationery store next to our hotel.
I remember my dad hated the other hotel in town and more than once I heard him mutter if only it would burn down.
I remember the year I turned eleven. That was the summer my father ruined my life.
Earlier in May, I learned that ‘Wildflower Party,’ my 3 foot x 4 foot acrylic floral painting that sold in December 2020, will be made into a banner to hang in the Owen Sound harbour. Great news. I can barely wait for the lockdown to end so I can head up to Owen Sound to view it.
I make a lot of art in the winter. Perhaps it’s being cooped up inside that lends itself to this pastime. I’m not inside much in the late spring, summer, and autumn. But winter is a different thing. The weather can be harsh and unrelenting as it pelts us with snow, sleet, and westerly winds. Just being inside, IN my studio, motivates me to experiment with the materials at hand. Maybe the myriad of contests / juried shows gives me the nudge I need.
Florals have it!
This past month (February, 2021), I can’t seem to stop making art. Acrylics, mostly. Florals seem to be calling me again. Close-ups. Abstract florals. Large ones. Small ones. It doesn’t seem to matter. I’m also drawn to adding texture to my paintings. Collage (papers, detritus, collected and dried vegetative matter). Modelling paste added to a canvas before painting. Palette knife painting. Anything to remain loose and abstract.
Goals for viewers:
The goal of my paintings is to draw the viewer in, to fill the viewer with emotion, to make the eye wander around the real estate of the painting. Up, right, left, down again. I want the viewer to stand back from a large creation, then inch forward to soak in the details. I want to challenge the viewer’s eye and assumptions. Cause the viewer to think, emote, breathe in the creation.
Bundling myself up and going for walks (snowshoeing/x-country skiing) helps stir up even more motivation and creativity. Fresh air clears my mind and allows colour (viewed, imaginary, and remembered) to seep in. Often the backgrounds of my paintings are desaturated with the main items punchy with colour. The underpainting (the layer of colour added after the substrate has been gessoed) is often bright. Then I begin the process of muting the vibrancy by moving paint using various techniques and materials (spraying, glazing, scrubbing, scrambling, acrylic inks, liquid acrylics, oil pastels, charcoal, to name a few).
Importance of Walks:
The image below was taken in mid-February. I remember that it was a particularly chilly morning. You can probably make out the accumulation of ice and frost layering the branches and buildings of my neighbour’s property. The bleakness is beautiful in an understated way. The portability of my smartphone with its decent built-in camera makes it easy to capture the mood this sort of landscape offers. Those ‘moods’ inform my painting (and writing).
Below is an underpainting for a acrylic floral (36 inches x 48 inches stretched canvas) I intend to enter into a large Ontario painting competition. Do you know what has been placed over the wet paint? It’s plastic wrap I’ve salvaged from a large canvas. Like many artists, I hate throwing anything out! Here I’m using the plastic film to manipulate the paint, to smear and create an underpainting filled with texture. Sometimes a hint of the colour will still manage to peak from the background into the finished painting.
Stay tuned for future blog post updates about the finished painting and how it does in the upcoming painting competition.
If you have thoughts you’d like to share in response to this blog post, kindly let me know via the Contact Me tab on this website.