September 12, 2017

Guest Blogger Mike Squatrito – “From Writing to Teaching”

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Guest Blogger Mike Squatrito – “From Writing to Teaching”

From Writing to Teaching: How Did THAT Happen? By J. Michael Squatrito, Jr. As a young writer I had a great idea for a storyline and, after years of turmoil and struggle, I eventually wrote the first book in my Overlords fantasy series. As of today, I have three self-published novels and I’m working on the fourth and final(?) installment. My literary journey has taken me to places I never dreamed that I would go – from individual book signings and mass author events, to local library and school visits, regional conferences and Comic Cons, and more than enough radio and TV appearances. I’m even the Vice-President of the Association of Rhode Island Authors! However, all of this started with an idea for a book and blossomed into a business. Why am I telling you…

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September 5, 2017

David Morton Meyers – Art

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David Morton Meyers – Art

Editor’s Note: Playful, witty and expressive in color, David Meyer’s work appears to draw from a strong interest in history and humor. His bold and gestural brushwork often depicts subjects from history with a strong fascination and focus on the American Wild West. Meyer’s work take a unique and bold approach to composition and structure with an unencumbered palette. His academic skill and disciplined technique work simultaneously with a playfully adolescent perspective of his subjects. -Steve Sangapore, contributor                               David Meyers is an artist based in Iowa City, Iowa. Though born and bred in Boston, Massachusetts, his adventures have lead him a seven year sojourn in Philadelphia, Pa where he received his B.F.A. in Painting/Drawing and minor in Art History from…

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September 2, 2017

A Hope in the Unseen – September Submissions

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A Hope in the Unseen – September Submissions

This month’s issue is about hope for the future. Wherever you are, whatever is going on, two things are certain: there will be strife and amidst that strife there will be hope. We can’t always see it right away, but it comes in many forms. We think this month’s member work will fuel some hope for a better tomorrow, whatever that may look like for you. Whether it is the wide-eyed optimism of a child’s writing, the reflective joy of a long-time love affair, the realism of a budding artist,  the coming-of-age perceptiveness of a young writer or the commitment to servitude that one’s work can inspire within one’s own community, we believe these works of creative expression can give our members a little hope in the unseen. Fiction A big welcome to our youngest…

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August 18, 2017

Diego Velez – A Colombian Perspective

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Diego Velez – A Colombian Perspective

Editor’s Note: Diego Velez tells stories through his paintings. I got a chance to talk with him about his perspectives on art and life recently. He told me that being an artist is something that keeps him humble and grateful of what he has. There is so much beauty in the process of creating that he does not even need to drink when he’s working; the painting quenches his thirst. He believes an artist spiritually ingests coals made from different trees to get the essence of these different colors and after creating, the art is a way to let people experience these images for years to come. But his passion goes beyond art, as he tells me his thoughts on the universe and humanity, “The earth doesn’t ask permission to reshape itself.” We present to…

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July 25, 2017

Understanding Reading Biases and My Mission to Fix Them

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Understanding Reading Biases and My Mission to Fix Them

I still have all my summer reading lists from high school. The eternal optimist in me thought that someday I’d run down that list and read each one. Years later, I still haven’t read more than a few of those books, but that collection spawned a very important way of thinking for me. As a student, I treated these reading lists like they were the word of God – that to be a writer or English major in college, these were the texts I should be reading. Still, there was a quietly blasphemous part of me that questioned that belief and as I grew older, I realized that even these holy lists were imperfect. Fast forward to last year, when I was studying my Goodreads “to read” and “previously read” lists. I noticed biases reflected…

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July 1, 2017

Endless Summer – July Submissions

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Endless Summer – July Submissions

It’s a busy time at the Fictional Café, but what else is new? Even though summer is only a few weeks old for us, here in the northern hemisphere, it already seems like it’s been an endless summer. No not that kind. We’re pumping out so much Fresh Java, we can hardly keep up! We hope you can, though. In addition to our European Penpals series, we’re sharing the great work of some folks in the industry at Dead Darlings and Authors Publish (stay tuned for this one).  We are even celebrating the genesis of our first ever Fictional Café Print Edition! We’re so excited to get our members’ work in people’s actual hands this winter. Of course, in addition to all this Café fare, we have the monthly work of our amazing creative members….

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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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