August 18, 2017

Diego Velez – A Colombian Perspective

2
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…

Continue reading →

July 25, 2017

Understanding Reading Biases and My Mission to Fix Them

3
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…

Continue reading →

July 1, 2017

Endless Summer – July Submissions

1
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….

Continue reading →

June 22, 2017

Our Literary Friends at “Dead Darlings”

1
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…

Continue reading →

June 18, 2017

Belle Brett – Multiple Media Art Installment

3
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…

Continue reading →

June 2, 2017

“Legends of the Treasure” Novel Excerpt by Mike Squatrito

2
“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…

Continue reading →

June 1, 2017

Freedom – June Submissions

2
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…

Continue reading →

May 5, 2017

Wally Berger’s Beautiful Wood Sculptures

1
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…

Continue reading →

April 30, 2017

The Merriest Month – May Submissions

3
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…

Continue reading →

April 6, 2017

“Fractured” by Lorie Adair

3
“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…

Continue reading →