June 22, 2017

Our Literary Friends at “Dead Darlings”

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Our Literary Friends at “Dead Darlings”

We are very excited to share the work of our friends at Dead Darlings (great name, huh?). Dead Darlings provides an ‘in the trenches’ perspective on the writing life from writers who are in all stages of the process. There are many literary sites where established authors share their thoughts, but Dead Darlings provides a unique blend of insights into the craft from published authors, and from those who are working toward that goal. It features posts from alumni and guest writers about the writing life, the craft of writing and the journey to publication. They also offer in-depth interviews with authors. Authors interviewed previously include Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, Helen Phillips, and J. Ryan Stradal. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest posts and join the…

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June 18, 2017

Belle Brett – Multiple Media Art Installment

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Belle Brett – Multiple Media Art Installment

Editor’s Note: Please welcome Belle Brett to the Café as she shares her photography, watercolor paintings and collages. Here is a little more information on her art, in her own words. “As the daughter of an artist/art teacher I have been making art my whole life, but only in the last few years, as I have cut back on my paid work, has art-making become a central occupation. After exploring many artistic media through classes, I have settled primarily on three: watercolor painting, collage, and photography. Each taps into a different creative need but in all of them, I am interested in pattern, color, shape, and the play of light, focusing on a strong composition rather than literal representation. I often choose a theme (e.g., rooftops, urban life, shoreline) and try to convey that theme in…

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June 2, 2017

“Legends of the Treasure” Novel Excerpt by Mike Squatrito

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“Legends of the Treasure” Novel Excerpt by Mike Squatrito

Legend of the Treasure Excerpt by Mike Squatrito   “Harrison,” said Pondle, “this doorway seems to be controlled by this lever. And we waited for you before moving it.” “Does everyone know the last two clues?” “We have an idea what to look for. Two rooms to go.” Harrison prepared his weapon, as did everyone else. “All right, Pondle. Let’s enter room number six.” The thief pulled the lever. The portal slowly rose into the ceiling above it, revealing a maze-like passageway lit by torches placed above the eight-foot walls. Lance limped over to Harrison and whimpered. “Bad animal.” The dog began to growl. Harrison looked at Lance and knew just what he meant. “Everyone, be ready for battle.” All of a sudden, a loud clanking emanated from another part of the room, followed by…

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June 1, 2017

Freedom – June Submissions

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Freedom – June Submissions

June is a month linked to freedom. Whether it’s the arrival of the day that school’s out for summer, the warm days perfect for sprawling out on the grass with a good book or the beginning of road trip season, June signals the end of the ties that winter and school have over us (at least in the northern hemisphere!). Our European Pen Pals can attest to the pleasure of being done (and home) for the summer too. This month’s submissions reflect such freedom as we deviate slightly from our typical offerings. We have two novel excerpts for you, each very different yet both quite engaging and two installments each of poetry and art. Bon appétit! Fiction Our first excerpt is from Legends of the Treasure by Mike Squatrito, the first book in his fantasy…

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May 5, 2017

Wally Berger’s Beautiful Wood Sculptures

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Wally Berger’s Beautiful Wood Sculptures

Editor’s Note: We are so excited to bring you the wood sculptures of Wally Berger. You won’t want to miss a single detail! Please click on any image to enlarge. Grab a hot cuppa to sip while you ponder the cosmic quandaries Wally poses with his art. We hope you enjoy our Featured Artist for May. * * * Wallace G. Berger, Ph.D., has been an active artist since 2005, creating his work in Melbourne, FL and Saratoga Springs, NY. His art addresses themes that are theoretical, spiritual, and cosmic and cannot be seen in the real world. These themes, never the less, affect our perception of the world. He creates 2 and 3-dimensional art, as well as kinetic sculptures. The work blends impressionist, and realist elements. The medium is exotic and native solid woods…

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April 30, 2017

The Merriest Month – May Submissions

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The Merriest Month – May Submissions

May was Shakespeare‘s merriest month, at least literarily. We have found similar joy in what we’re publishing for you this May as well. Here’s what we have for you to peruse while “sitting in a pleasant shade” this month.   May Submissions Fiction Feast on our May fiction. We’re pleased to publish an excerpt from Luke Bencie’s first novel, The Clandestine Consultant: Kings, Sheiks, Warlords, and Dictators,which was just published last month. It’s an exciting, fast-paced, true-to-life adventure of an “international consultant” who is in truth a spy, an assassin, and a dirty-deal maker of epic proportions. You won’t want to miss his story. We are also introducing a short story by Katinka Smit, an Australian author. A dark, absorbing fantasy, it’s entitled “Silver Moons.” Poetry Bonnie Amesquita returns to the Café with some new poetry. She’s…

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April 6, 2017

“Fractured” by Lorie Adair

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“Fractured” by Lorie Adair

FRACTURED   The snow maids among us are idle angels too terrified to plumb the icy depths of murderous woe. Their eyes are thick with wax, smiles startled artifice, words unintelligible skeletons. Lovers cannot repair the distance; they are but shadows on the lawn, roosters who savage along. I shall be well again a hollow phrase they repeat in therapy where they dream someday it will ring sapphire true. Until then they lie in bleached valleys of waste and shame, fractured mirrors, aborted stars. * * * Lorie Adair is the recipient of several Norman Mailer Scholarships and Arizona Commission on the Arts Creative Writing fellowships. Spider Woman’s Loom was a finalist for the Southwest Writers Award and a semi-finalist for the Dana Award. She has written for NPR affiliate, KJZZ, and her fiction and…

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April 4, 2017

“In Love With a Ghost” by Jenny Cokeley

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“In Love With a Ghost” by Jenny Cokeley

In Love with a Ghost It was a silent slipping away. They hadn’t just grown apart. That would make it seem like they could grow together if they had the motivation, but they had no compelling incentive to move together, or move on for that matter. They would rather be unhappy together than alone. It had been 15 years, after all. They became roommates who shared the same bed, mailing address, and monthly Sunday romp. She didn’t talk to her friends about her loveless marriage over coffee or her profound loneliness over lunch. Jesus, just finish already. I faked it ten minutes ago. I even finished my shopping list. Maybe you should lay off the pork rinds for a while. You shouldn’t have to work this hard. Do you have to pant and groan in…

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April 4, 2017

New and Old Friends – April Submissions

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New and Old Friends – April Submissions

My mom recently shared this quote with me about the importance of maintaining friendships. Here at the Fictional Café, we like to pass these lessons learned on to our readers. Whether you’re a literary community like ours or an individual in the creative arts, connecting with others opens so many doors and opportunities. Life is all about relationships, and we hope you will enjoy yours with us and encourage others to join us! This month, a good friend introduced us to a new community. We’d like to welcome our readers and members from GrubStreet, a Boston-based non-profit that provides resources to writers of all levels, including workshops, seminars and networking events. Please check them out. In the spirit of the quotation above, we will be featuring work from both new members and long-time members this month. Before…

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March 26, 2017

Guest Blogger Clark Zlotchew – “Havana, 1959”

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Guest Blogger Clark Zlotchew – “Havana, 1959”

Editor’s Note: You may recall Clark Zlotchew’s poetry in our December Submissions. I had a chance to talk with Clark about his experience in Cuba and his writing. Did this trip inspire the poem and photo you shared with us? Yes, my several trips to Cuba did inspire the poem “Dancing in the Tropics” but with a little help from what I witnessed in Haiti as well. These events took place in the last years of Fulgencio Batista’s regime, while Castro was in the mountains at the other end of the Island.  I was there in 1957 and 1958.  Those guns and pup tents on the roof of the Presidential Palace were protecting Batista.  The occasional bomb blast in Havana was set by Castro’s agents.  Castro took over the whole Island in 1959. Was it scary seeing…

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