April 22, 2017

Announcing Our First Annual Short Story Contest

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Announcing Our First Annual Short Story Contest

To celebrate entering our fifth year bringing excellent short fiction to the world, we are opening a new venue for writers: the Fictional Cafe Short Fiction Contest. Here’s how it works: Step One: Over the course of the summer, writers enter their works in one of ten categories for fiction. Entry will cost a nominal fee, to prevent us from getting spammed. FC subscribers get a discount. Step One-and-a-Half: The most-viewed story for each month from January to June, 2017, is automatically entered into the contest for free. Step Two: This fall, our readers vote on the entered stories in head-to-head, double-elimination tournament action. Step Three: We put the first and second place winners for each category into an actual print anthology made out of actual dead trees. And a Kindle edition, too. Step Four: That anthology…

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April 19, 2016

50 Ways to Sell Your Writing — #1 (Traditional Book Deal)

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50 Ways to Sell Your Writing — #1 (Traditional Book Deal)

Traditional Book Deal (Agented) Part one of multi-blog series by Jason Brick on how many ways there are for writers of all stripes to make a living doing what they love.  Check out #3 over at brickcommajason.com This is what most people think of when they think “published writer.” You write a book. Then you find an agent to represent your book. Then the agent finds a publisher to print and distribute the book. A couple years later, you have a book out. Most books you buy at Barnes and Noble were published this way. Most names you know as published authors got their work out this way. It’s the most familiar model, and the one served by most writers’ conferences. The market for this is huge, and well-serviced. But it’s a competitive field growing…

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March 15, 2016

Craft Notes: Pacing

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One problem with taking on any profession is that it begins to taint how you look at the world. Cops and social workers probably get the worst end of that stick. On the other hand, spending a decade as a professional martial arts instructor gave me a new level of appreciation for film choreography and fight sports. I find the same thing is affects how I read. I just finished the newest Virgil Flowers thriller by John Sandford: Deadline. Sandford’s books – and he’s certainly written his share – can be a mite formulaic, but I love the heck out of them. He’s not saying anything important, nor is he bucking for a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize for literature. He just turns out good stories year after year. Sandford (and, yes I am aware that’s a…

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February 22, 2016

50 Ways to Sell Your Writing — #5: Anthologies

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50 Ways to Sell Your Writing — #5: Anthologies

Part 5 of a multi-blog series on how many ways there are for writers of all stripes to make a living doing what they love. Check out #1 here on Fictional Cafe, and #4 on my own blog. Anthologies Anthologies are collections of short stories by several authors, compiled by everybody from major publishing houses to simple Kickstarted projects leveraging the fundraising power of multiple authors. As a reader, chances are you’ve discovered at least one of your favorite writers by encountering her first in an anthology of one kind or another. In a lot of ways, writing a story for an anthology is a lot like writing for a magazine. You find out it exists, you pitch the project, and if they accept you they publish your story in a volume along with several…

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August 28, 2015

Congratulations, Fictional Café Writers!

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Congratulations, Fictional Café Writers!

An experimental new anthology — Baby Shoes — was recently released on Amazon in print and ebook formats. It’s a collection of 100 flash fiction short stories by 100 different authors, including Fictional Café’s own Jeb Brack, Jason Brick, Jenny Cokeley, E. A. Roper, Adam Gottfried and Jack Rochester. The Baby Shoes anthology was experimental in two ways. First, it’s a flash fiction anthology. Because flash fiction is so short, a reasonably sized book requires a lot of writers. That splits the royalties into such small pieces it’s not feasible for traditional publishers. An independent project could afford to give out a larger piece of the pie, making sure authors got a little bit more for their work. Second, the publication costs were entirely crowdfunded via Kickstarter. It’s not the first — nor will it be…

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August 24, 2015

“The Face of a Beautiful Monster” by Adam Gottfried (Part Three)

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“The Face of a Beautiful Monster” by Adam Gottfried (Part Three)

This is the conclusion of Adam’s supernatural, gothic thriller. Start from the beginning here.  Mrs. Holmes watched the carriage carrying the two young women away to relative safety. She was not certain what would happen, but she remembered vividly the last night before Dougal McCullagh, then called Fergusson, had… rescued her. From her husband. As the memories began to surface, she swiftly pushed them away again. Now was not the time to reminisce about days gone by. There was precious little time left, and she hoped very much to survive the night, though there was every possibility that she would not. She considered whether or not she had made her peace with that and decided that she had not. Rather, she simply could not accept it as a possibility, so it seemed an unreality to…

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August 21, 2015

Sympathetic Characters by Unsympathetic Folks

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Sympathetic Characters by Unsympathetic Folks

I’m going to let you in on a poorly-kept secret… …I’m a bit of an asshole. I’m insensitive, demanding, revel in crass humor and generally am told that folks put up with me primarily because I’m their asshole and they get to point my assholility at their enemies when they feel the need. But that’s not all of it. I’m sympathetic…not in the “I feel your pain and give a damn” meaning, but in the “If I were in a book, readers would care what happened to me” meaning. My book series, The Farkas Foxtrots features a pair of loser assholes. These are not good people, or smart people. They’re not pretty, or nice. They do things like steal drugs, lie to women and frame a total stranger for bank robbery. They’re stupid with a capital C….

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August 17, 2015

“The Face of a Beautiful Monster” by Adam Gottfried (Part Two)

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“The Face of a Beautiful Monster” by Adam Gottfried (Part Two)

This is the second part of Adam’s three-piece serial. Read Part One here, and come back next Monday for the chilling conclusion.  Mrs. Belinda Holmes, 44, widowed, mother of two grown boys both of whom were overseas serving with the British Expeditionary Force in France, was the only member of the staff who had served the Congdon family longer than Mr. James Atherton and she absolutely loathed the man. He was pretentious, overbearing, haughty, and he treated the rest of the staff like they were below him. In the strictest sense they were, but he treated them as if HE were their master instead of Mr. Congdon and that did not set well with Mrs. Holmes. So when Mr. Atherton came into her kitchen to await the call of Mr. Congdon, Mrs. Holmes was far…

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August 10, 2015

“The Face of a Beautiful Monster” by Adam Gottfried (Part One)

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“The Face of a Beautiful Monster” by Adam Gottfried (Part One)

This is Part One of Adam’s Three-Part Tale. Come back next Monday, and the Monday after for more beautiful, monstrous mystery.  The door swung open with the smooth, silent urgency of a practiced hand. James Atherton, the Congdon butler swiftly took in the man who stood before him. Tall, wide-shouldered, he had a broad face decorated with a well-trimmed beard that was significantly out of vogue with modern sensibilities. His brown wool suit was crisp and clean, and his shirt was white, starched, and well-pressed. He wore a wide-brimmed hat that was also out of style, but it suited him in a rakish sort of way. He removed the cap and ran a large hand with scarred knuckles through his thick mane of dark blond hair, and then produced a calling card with his other….

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July 30, 2015

Lessons From Infant Footwear

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Some Fictional Cafe patrons already know about the Baby Shoes flash fiction anthology, a Kickstarted project I led that’s now up on Amazon for anybody who wants to buy it (hint, hint). Last November, I launched the campaign based on a simple concept: 100 writers, 100 stories, less than 1,000 words each. We looked for enough funding to pay an editor, get a hot cover, and do an offset print run. And it failed. We got nearly half the money we needed. In December, I retooled with a trimmed budget and more support for contributing authors to bring in backers. We funded, and I promised delivery in April. Just today I sent out the last backer orders, which is another way of saying I delivered three months late. Needless to say, there was stuff I didn’t…

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