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#inktober Insights with Illustrator Hayley Patterson, Tales from the Goldilocks Zone

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

The Goldilocks Zone is new voices in short story, the first anthology or short story collection by Flying Ketchup Press.

ebook ISBN: 13-978-1-970151-09-1

softcover ISBN 13: 978-1-970151-08-4

Step into the boots, high heels, spurs, or flippers of unconventional travelers, those who disappear in the blink of an eye, who fight environmental disasters, hide secrets, believe in true love; those who are looking for a new home, and those who will never go home again. This collection features new voices in both fiction and non-fiction. Whether sci-fi, fantasy, or absolutely true, each one brings new worlds of wonder and delight. These new voices in short story find the zone for a surprising take on life. And every time, it’s just right. Illustrated by Hayley Patterson and Edited by Polly Alice McCann featuring authors: Alexandra Ames, R.L. Aseret, Amy Bernstein, Brian C. E. Buhl, M.W. Dreygon, Clementine Fraser, Rebecca May Hope, Sol Jacobs, Jerry McCann, Amanda Michelle Moon, Greg Moravec, and Ashley Reisinger.


POLLY ALICE MCCANN founder and Managing Editor Flying Ketchup Press where she “curates” galleries of talent inside small sharable packages. She says her favorite thing is to tell stories-- other people's, her own-- maybe yours. Polly won the 2014 Ernest Hartmann award from the International Association for the Study of Dreams from Berkley CA for her research on self-awareness for writers and artists through dreamwork. Her meditative symbolist art has been published in US newspapers and magazines and is showing internationally. Her Studio is located at DesignWerx in North Kansas City. Visit her at


Illustrator: Hayley Patterson received her BA in Animation and Illustration from SUNY Fredonia 2018 and worked as a staff illustrator for the university newspaper. Her work has been featured in galleries in Suffolk County and Long Island, NY as well as the MoCCA Arts Festival in New York City, hosted by the Society of Illustrators. To keep up with her, you can follow her on


Congratulations to the 12 authors who won our short story contest published in our short story anthology Tales from the Goldilocks Zone, illustrated by Hayley Patterson, professional doodle-er. Haley received her B.A. in Animation and Illustration from SUNY Fredonia 2018 and worked as a staff illustrator for the university newspaper. Her work has been featured in galleries in Suffolk County and Long Island, NY as well as the MoCCA Arts Festival in New York City, hosted by the Society of Illustrators. To keep up with her, you can follow her on Instagram @hapdoods.

I sat down with illustrator, Haley Patterson to get the eagle eye view of her world. Hailing from New York, she has a wonderful sense of contemporary illustration using both physical and digital media along with truly engaging character. Look at that texture! I really admired her work right away when we first found her on #submittable. We knew she'd be perfect for our upcoming release TALES FROM THE GOLDILOCKS ZONE-- which will be released this Halloween, our first collection of short stories features thirteen new voices in sci-fi and fantasy

How did you become an artist, Hayley?

Like most artists, art is something that has always been a part of my life. As a small child, I scribbled in coloring books and smeared finger paint with the best of them. Growing up, I compulsively doodled in the margins of my schoolwork and became known around school as the Doodle Queen. As much as I loved drawing, I wanted to explore different areas of art that I had no experience with, which lead me to take photography, computer art, and multiple ceramics classes in high school. By the time I got to college, I was convinced that whatever I ended up choosing as a major, it would have to be art-related. 😍When I discovered a school that offered an animation and illustration double major- combining my two favorite forms of art, digital and analog- I never looked back.

What goals do you have for your art? My main ambition is to create art that is interesting, funny, and memorable. My style is graphic and colorful with occasional forays into simple black and white. I'm heavily informed by modern and vintage pop-culture and media I draw inspiration from everything, from iconic aspects of popular culture to personal experiences. My favorite quote from the animated film Ratatouille, 'Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.'

Who are your inspirations? When you are taught how to draw, paint, and generally create like the Old Masters- compositionally balanced, perfectly proportioned, and photorealistic to a fault. After years of being taught these lessons, it was in breaking them that I finally managed to develop something of my own style. When everyone in the class has been taught the same rules of art, it is difficult to break the mold and stand out. In my junior year of college, I realized that the drawings I submitted as assignments in class and the doodles I inked in my sketchbook for myself didn’t have to be two separate things. Especially once I started taking animation classes, the concept of developing a style more influenced by my own inspirations and natural ability began to take hold. Although I’ll always love and respect the legacy of those Old Masters (they are revolutionary and inspiring in their own right), I’ll take at least as much from them as from the likes of Klasky-Csupo, Keith Haring, and Gary Baseman. Roald Dahl and his books have always been a favorite of mine, especially The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Matilda, as well as his many short stories! When I got a bit older I loved reading the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stein. More recently, my love for horror fiction has evolved into a love for basically everything Stephen King has ever written, in particular, his multiple short story compilations!

What is your process like? Although I usually start off an illustration with a pencil in a sketchbook, I often move to Photoshop to do the real work digitally. I use a Wacom tablet and stylus to finalize composition, add color and texture, and just generally make the illustration look as polished and professional as possible! I also have a Pinterest board of ideas and inspiration for art and design. If I’m feeling stuck, I’ll simply take a break and head to my Pinterest board for some new ideas! While I work, I like to listen to music or watch TV, depending on how much brain power I need for whatever I’m doing! I find that music especially helps to keep the creativity flowing, while TV helps me to shut off my brain and just draw however comes naturally.

Okay, so nitty-gritty. What's an average workday? I start working too late in the day at about 10 AM, with coffee and breakfast on hand! I watch TV (Big Little Lies, recently) or listen to music and podcasts while I work. Since I work from home, I’ll sometimes take a break to do laundry, get coffee, or run an errand. I have a day job 5 times a week, so my off days are my illustration days as well as my do-everything-else-that-needs-to-get-done days! Usually, though, I’ll work until about dinnertime, between 5:30 and 7:30 PM. My work-time usually consists of either sketching in my sketchbook, working digitally in Photoshop, scanning in new sketches to my computer, collecting research, inspiration, and textures to utilize later on, and constantly organizing and making room for new files on my hard-drive!

Any challenges on the journey? The most challenging aspect of illustration for me is simply the act of putting myself out into the world as an Illustrator, and the judgment and criticism that comes with that title. There are those who will try to say an illustrator is an unemployed, starving artist who should have chosen a different career path. To those artists who are familiar with that particular criticism, and are unsure of themselves and how to move forward, I would say this: Choose what critics you listen to very carefully! While some of the voices are hateful, others are warm, compassionate, and well-meaning. Even better, some of those voices are experienced professionals who can seriously help you in the long run. In other words, ignore the mindless hate and embrace constructive criticism!

And if you could do anything? Eventually, it would be amazing to be an established editorial cartoonist for publications like The New York Times or The New Yorker, etc. That being said, I also have a real love for animation and would love to incorporate that into a project somehow!

Where can we find your art? Look out for my work in the publication Meat for Tea; The Valley Review will be publishing a piece of mine called Cityman in the near future, and I am also currently working on an adult coloring book, although that is still very much in the preliminary stages! Plus I’m the featured illustrator in the first short story collection published by Flying Ketchup Press, “Tales from the Goldilocks Zone.”

Thank you Hayley!

Hayley Patterson received her BA in Animation and Illustration from SUNY Fredonia 2018 and worked as a staff illustrator for the university newspaper. Her work has been featured in galleries in Suffolk County and Long Island, NY as well as the MoCCA Arts Festival in New York City, hosted by the Society of Illustrators. To keep up with her, you can follow me on Instagram @hapdoods.

Tales from the Goldilocks Zone illustrated by Haley Patterson

Step into the space boots, high heels, spurs, or flippers of unconventional travelers, those who disappear in the blink of an eye, who fight environmental disasters, hide secrets, believe in true love; those who are looking for a new home, and those who will never go home again. This collection features new voices in sci-fi and fantasy who bring worlds of wonder and delight, who find the sweet spot for life. And every time, it’s just right.Featuring the following short stories:

Eidetic by Amanda Moon

Memory bottling. better than photographs perfectly preserve every sensation, allowing you to experience moments over and over again. But what if swipe a bottle your ex doesn't want to remember, and what if you go a bit over the dosage recommendations, and what if you still love him.

Water Always Glints in the Sun by Amy Bernstein

What Vera knows, for sure, is that B-Harbor-- the beating heart of the entire Baltimore Watershed (the Atlantic Central Coastline’s undisputed center of power) must be protected at any cost. If her team of enviro allows the titanium-Q infrastructure to fail, a flood of pathogens, chemicals, and algal toxins will invade B-Harbor. Vera won’t let this happen at any cost, now if her team will just stop protecting her and let her do her job!

Alia of the Rock by Clementine Fraser

Rescuing an angelic winged woman from a lonely rock in the ocean, Captain Thomas Asham finds Alia, an albatross shifter, stranded. He clothes her, promises undying loyalty and protection and hopes she will never leave. Alia secretly knows she is wanted. Whatever happens, she must not lose her heart to the Captain or his life will be in grave danger.

One Way Ticket by R.L. Aseret

Single and Czech, Milena meets Vietnamese America, Vuong, when he comes on his tour of her hometown, Olomouc-- where local men, not conscripted, want meaty wives to raise children and vegetables. Vuong, however, makes her laugh and she takes him up on his offer of an arranged marriage. When she arrives in America, she must decide whether to stay, and how she will indeed overcome their unusual arrangement.

The Displaced by Greg Moravec

Fleeing an environmental disaster in a refugee starship, Quintas finds solace in his new friend, the lovely Merka. When they meet Bakti, however, he insists that they are not refugees but prisoners, and a ghost army is about to rescue dissenters. Would they join a rebellion—even if it existed, and what or who would they be willing to leave behind?

Unclaimed Goods by Brian Buhl

In the not too distant future, at the Kansas City airport, people travel in style-- plugging their brains into virtual reality while their bodies are the luggage inside small life support chambers. Baggage Handling in the future Robots and humans work seamlessly together moving “cargo” to the correct layover destination. Never lost anyone was Vince’s motto, until his last day on the job, when the new trainee, Tony, finds a body that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Specimen by Mikhail Dreygon

Another day in the far outpost space lab, another specimen to examine then exterminate by the cold and withering Dr. Mae Wong, Dr. Franklin and their superior, the zeno/plant-based humanoid, Dr. Curax. However, something about this mammal changes Mae’s frosty exterior and she begins to sense there is something more than science happening between herself and her specimen. When told to send “Junior” to his death, Mae must decide whether to risk her career to save him—but little does she expect she would risk her life as well.

Time Race by Rebecca Hope

Marcy has experienced quirky correlations all her life: usually a small incident followed by a parallel larger one-- she learns to keep her associations a secret because being able to tell the future in hindsight is just too hard to explain. When she finally confides her unusual insight to her fiancé, he breaks their engagement. Twice burned, she cautiously tries out for a reality TV series on the phenomenon of future sight. At her interview for the program, she seems to truly belong, but one detail about the situation is nagging at back of her mind. What is it?

The Widowmaker by Alexandra Ames

Trapped in marriage to a venomous man, Yorka finds herself locked in a mysterious house with only one friend, a white spider no one believes exists because the tales surrounding it are too unbelievable to be true. She must decide which poison is worse and who she can trust.

Sir Manifred’s Secret by Rebecca Hope

While on an employee retreat at Castle Albion, a modern-medieval resort with a murder mystery theme, Crystal gets word her divorce is final. She spends the week researching ways to get rid of her wedding ring and trying not to fall for a dashing event coordinator, Eric—handsome and married. Crystal decides to leave her ring inside a suit of armor and simply go back to her life. However, she wins the mystery contest and another week at Albion. She goes home and puts Eric and her ex out of her mind. The gift card reminds her however, that maybe she should return --and what if she decides she wants her rather costly ring back, just for memory’s sake?

Sidewalk Slammer by Sol Jacobs

Louisiana- After taking a birdbath in the Shreveport Library’s bathroom sink, I wipe my hands on my dirty overalls, cross the lobby, push open the double doors, and shield my eyes from the sun. Another day on the road. How many has it been. No one knows my name, but will anyone see past the exterior to who I really am and where I’ve come from?

Pay attention to the Signs by Jerry McCann

It's all fun and games on Kawaii Beach for a vacationing high school student until two girls are pulled away by an undertow of a murderous Hawaiian current. The boy jumps to the rescue and is caught underwater. He knows he has about three minutes to live. Should he go toward the light, or try to get back to the surface?

One Last Goodbye by Ashley Reisinger

It becomes obvious everything isn't always as is it first appears when a young woman retraces the steps of what began as a relationship only to become a nightmare; she discovers she's on her way home for the last time-- and she will get there dead or alive.

The Ketchup by Polly Alice

Speeding home to host her boyfriend's monthly book club, Lane narrowly avoids an accident on the road. She can't seem to piece together her post college life, and the groceries for the dinner party are non-existent. But maybe that doesn't matter, especially when her reality begins to fracture, and she's not sure she will survive, or if survival is the only option.

Flying Ketchup Press

A Kansas City Publisher for the epic acceleration of great literature. Founded in 2018 to discover and develop new voices in poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction with a special emphasis in new short stories. We are a publisher made by and for creatives in the Heartland. Our dream is to salvage lost treasure troves of written and illustrated work-- to create worlds of wonder and delight; to share stories. Maybe yours.

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