Darlene Matule Book Signing Event
Local Author, Darlene Matule, will be joining us Saturday, September 15th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Please come in and meet an amazing lady and talented author. She will be signing books, answering questions and I’m sure will have a story or two to share.
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/355061391702200/
This blog post includes five parts:
About the Author: The Beginning
Under the Gallus Frame
Framework of a Family
Sixty Shades of Love
About the Author: The Latest
About the Author: The Beginning. Darlene Matule
While on a quest to find her husband’s Croatian family… While holding a slice of fresh bread in her left hand and a jelly glass full of sljivovica in her right… Darlene Matule asked the question, What If?
Those two words changed her life. Forever.
A seventeen-year-old woman invaded Matule’s mind in the century-old farmhouse in Croatia where she was sitting in 1980.
Time flew backwards. It became 1888. The young woman, Ljubica, was in love with a handsome young man—her father forbade their marriage. Forced her to travel to Butte, Montana and marry a cruel stranger.
Matule’s What Ifs didn’t stop. Her life became an adventure from that moment on.
When Matule returned home from her Yugoslavian trip, she cut her work hours. Took Fridays off. Sat at a sturdy oak table in her ultra-modern kitchen and gazed out the window at the flowing waters of Chambers Creek, her hands poised above the portable Smith Corona typewriter she’d taken to college.
Words flowed onto blank paper like oil from an upended can of STP.
Under the Gallus Frame was born.
Ljubica became her best friend. They shared everything. Matule agonized when Ljubica’s dominating husband made her change her name to Marija. How could that monster—Vik—take away the seventeen-year-old’s very self? Her name?
Matule felt her new friend’s labor pains. Laughed with her heroine when Marija’s neighbor Kathleen demonstrated her first English word—jump. Watched the two women jump and giggle together. Saw their friendship grow.
Matule read/researched. Late at night. History, history, history. About Croatia—Ljubica’s home in the old country. About Butte—where Marija became Americanized. Characters moved into the chambers of Matule’s mind—many unannounced. Only putting them down in print satisfied her inner muse.
Framework of a Family followed.
And Darlene Matule became a writer.
Under the Gallus Frame by Darlene Matule
IN 1889, TO SAVE HIS HONOR, seventeen-year-old Ljubica’s selfish father forces her to journey from Croatia to Butte, Montana, and marry 40-year-old Vik Bartolji whose cruelty not only affects her life but her name, as he changes it to Marija.
She refuses to satisfy Vik’s lust before their marriage and sets the pace for their fiery relationship in a town called The Richest Hill on Earth where men deemed Copper Kings make vast fortunes from mining the rich ore hidden beneath the gallus frames, triangles of steel that dotted the hills, drawing money out of Butte on the back of thousands of miners who work underground in horrendous conditions.
While Vik finds his pleasure in the arms of a brothel madam, Marija educates herself and finds love, wealth and social status with her second husband. She reigns as Matriarch of her family. Her children become leaders in The Company, The Miners’ Union, and The Church.
Like Butte, where the copper and zinc mined from the miles of tunnels beneath the city are melded together to become a stronger metal—brass—Marija and her family weather multiple hardships and merge from the crucible of adversity, stronger than ever before, though marked by their diverse experiences.
Framework of a Family by Darlene Matule
Sequel to Under the Gallus Frame
The story begins….
This last week’s been pure hell. Tony Duggan thought as he slowly followed the rest of his family up the aisle after the funeral Mass. I’m not ready to go out and face more.
It’s not easy being the framework of your family. Tony Duggan didn’t ask for the job. One day in 1945 it just happened. It surprised him when he inherited his grandparent’s premier night spot in Butte, Montana. And, even before he had time to move into the mansion that came as part of the package, a beautiful young woman is in his office with a bombshell of a problem.
Tony grew up in the shadow of the Leonard Mine where people regarded the rock-solid triangle of steel that covered the opening to the mine—the gallus frame—as the framework of Butte. Indeed, every dollar earned by miners, owners, and business men alike, is the result of ore from the mines.
Tony’s feuding uncles—Nick head of The Company, and Joey Miners Union boss— were happy to give their nephew the duty both had expected. And dreaded. Another, Father T.J., waits and watches.
So Tony deals with Meg and her son Mike, the boy he adopts in his heart. And his own family, wife Nancy and children Vince and Shirley. Sometimes he feels like Solomon. Personally, he second-guesses past choices as loneliness and arthritis conspire to make him regret some of his personal decisions.
Mike, Vince and Shirley soon fill the pages of Tony’s life with their own sagas. They interact with movie starlets, rock stars, and baseball greats in L.A., Vegas, Boston, D.C. Always, Tony remains a big part of their lives.
Then, when Butte’s magnet pulls Tony’s children back, his life is forever changed.
Sixty Shades of Love by Darlene Matule
I’m excited to let you know that my memoir Sixty Shades of Love is now published.
It is a story of what makes a good marriage tick—from meeting on a dance floor
to celebrating fifty years of marriage.
A sneak peek to my new memoir Sixty Shades of Love
“It’s been sixty years since our first date,” he exclaims.
“Sixty years? Impossible!”
And I remember . . . From April 15, 1955 to now. Dancing to dreading. Sunshine to snowstorms. And everything in between.
* * *
We met on a dance floor.
How do I get rid of this guy? I wondered. At a college mixer, stuck dancing with a Central American foreign exchange student who smelled like he’d lived in his skintight chartreuse shirt for a month. Who’d been holding me possessively close for three dances.
I looked for an out.
His greasy friend still stood at the edge of the dance floor, undressing me with his eyes, drool edging down his chin. Waiting for his turn? I cringed, desperate to get away.
At the end of a two-step, I felt a new, larger hand on my shoulder. Heard a different voice ask, “Wanna dance?”
I turned. Saw his fingers reach for mine. Fingers I would soon learn could stop a 95 miles per hour baseball as it tore into third base. I moved toward him. Smelled the scent of Old Spice. Felt him put one hand on my waist as his other gently laced our fingers together.
To the strains of I’m in the Mood for Love, he expertly guided me across the dance floor.
When the music ended I hung onto my savior. Quickly, the band began a jitterbug. Before I could tell New Guy I didn’t know how to fast dance, I found myself in the middle of the floor—dancing—having fun.
We danced together until the music stopped at midnight.
About the Author: The Latest. Darlene Matule
As the evening waned on her 80th birthday bash, Darlene Matule said, “I’m in the mood for dancing.” And dance she did—with her partner/husband of 60 plus years at the Lighthouse Lounge in Des Moines, Washington. They jitterbugged to “Mack the Knife” and slow-danced to Sinatra.
A year and three months before—while writing a new novel—Matule’s muse invaded her mind.
“Stop!” it insisted. “Write your real story! Tell millennials and baby boomers that it is possible to have a good marriage. To be truly happy with your spouse… To enjoy romance even after sixty years… That the struggle through bad times is well worth it…”
Matule listened. Ran to her computer.
Sixty Shades of Love flew from her brain to her fingers and onto the keyboard as fast as Morse code is transmitted and turns into a telegram.
Originally super-shy, Matule evolved into a “people person” while raising her family, being active in her community, and on-the-job. Continually writing, she began using daily experiences to craft the characters in her stories.
A pivotal point in her writing career happened the day she sat in a nineteenth century farmhouse kitchen in the heart of Croatia. Drinking the potent plum brandy called sljivovica and eating bread fresh from the corner brick oven, she asked herself, “What if?”
Matule’s two historical novels—Under the Gallus Frame and Framework of a Family—are the result of a lifetime of absorbing the “Mining Capital of the World” by osmosis. She heard the heartbeat of Butte. She’s known the prostitute’s daughter, the company vice-president’s son, the miner’s union official, and several families that climbed from rags to riches. She’s danced at their weddings and cried at their funerals.
With her memoir, Sixty Shades of Love, Matule brings her message of hope to readers of all ages.
Matule is currently writing The Waterman. Nels, the protagonist, hand-delivers water—ten gallons at a time—to 10,000 families who live in tarpaper shacks without running water… Where winter temperatures hit 50 degrees below zero—and 120 degrees above in blistering hot summers… Where men are thrilled making 50 cents an hours building Fort Peck Dam in northeast Montana in the midst of the Great Depression.
Matule says, “People fascinate me. I never tire of writing their stories.”