November 14, 2017

An Art Show from French Painter Anne-Marie Guilleman

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An Art Show from French Painter Anne-Marie Guilleman

If you just happen to be in the city of Brest, France this week, you’ll want to visit Galerie ZonZon, at 50 rue Emile Zola. You’ll be greeted by the gallery’s lovely owner, Daniele Maguet, and shown the work of Anne-Marie Guilleman hanging on the gallery walls. Although Anne-Marie’s paintings tend to depict subjects near or on the water – after all, she calls Normandy, on the northern coast of France, home – there is a je ne sais quoi about her expression, not only in the scenes but also in the people she depicts. She calls this, “marines nocturnes.” Here is a sampling. Please click on the work for a full-screen view. A St. Petersburg wharf   (in the city of) Brest and beyond   Brest: rue Siam trolley tracks   Evening lights under…

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September 28, 2017

Inside an Amazon Bookstore: Rachael Allen, Our Intrepid Correspondent, Reports

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Inside an Amazon Bookstore: Rachael Allen, Our Intrepid Correspondent, Reports

A Summer at Amazon Books by Rachael Allen You walk into a bookstore. Something is different, you think. You pay for a cold brew from Peet’s Coffee & Tea, located in the rear of the store, then walk around, assessing. Perhaps it’s the orientation of the books: they all face out, squared shoulders, as if presenting their best selves to a potential new owner. Perhaps it’s the black review cards tacked below each book, giving you booklover22’s opinion on why All the Light We Cannot See was so moving. Perhaps it’s the devices zone in the middle of the store. A couple pokes at a tablet, while a little boy dances to Ed Sheeran, whose music is now spouting from the voice-activated speaker, per his request. Perhaps, too, it’s your awareness of the store name…

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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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May 30, 2017

Party Tonight! Join us at the Virtual Celebration of the Mickie McKinney Podcast!

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Party Tonight! Join us at the Virtual Celebration of the Mickie McKinney Podcast!

Please join us in wishing a happy first anniversary to Ruby Fink and the “Mickie McKinney, Boy Detective” podcast series on Faux Fiction Audio. We were fortunate enough to publish the whole Mickie serial here at FC, and upon learning the franchise has been renewed for another year, anxiously await the first episode of Season 2, which we’re told is due any day. In the meantime, you’re welcome to join in congratulating Ruby, the creator and producer,  and her performers–Sam, Hannah, Lucas, Lyndsey and who knows who else will show up–tonight [Tuesday] for Mickie’s birthday/anniversary party! It will stream live tonight on Facebook, beginning at 5:00PM PST. You may even bump into one or two of us FC baristas there–virtually, of course. In the meantime, here’s what Ruby wrote about her experiences writing and producing Mickie:…

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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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March 20, 2017

“Journaling Abroad” by Rachael Allen

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“Journaling Abroad” by Rachael Allen

I’ve been studying in Italy for over two months, and have become a journaler. I’ve become a dedicated one too, sitting down to write for almost an hour each day in these flexible canvas-covered, orange-detailed notebooks I purchase from a bookstore off Bologna’s main street. In these journals, I recap my day. I write about the food I ate. I spiral into analyzing my emotions, then pick myself up with a second-person pep talk, occasionally feeling strongly enough to address myself by name. I am glad my Italian roommates don’t understand English well nor know the spot in the second drawer of my bedside table where I stack the journals, beside a jar of Skippy peanut butter from home and my monthly food allowance. What are these journals worth, really? Are they worth all the…

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March 14, 2017

Our Intrepid Barista in Paris

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Our Intrepid Barista in Paris

Simran P. Gupta, our newest Barista and a student at Simmons College in Boston, is doing her study abroad semester in Paris. For her, it’s Literary Paris, and we’re delighted to share her impressions, feelings, and experiences with you. Stumbling Through Paris: On Settling In During My First Five Weeks As I write this, I am sitting in Shakespeare and Company’s bookstore café, situated right on Rue de la Bûcherie with a view of the Seine and the Notre Dame de Paris. The winter weather is temperate, which means I can often sit at the tables outside this and other cafes, under a heated terrace with a blanket over my lap while I sip my chocolat chaud or café au lait. I often joke that I have “moved in” to Shakespeare and Co. It’s my…

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March 2, 2017

Guest Blogger Kathy Parker – Creativity Matters: Jumping Without A Parachute

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Guest Blogger Kathy Parker – Creativity Matters: Jumping Without A Parachute

Editor’s Note: Kathy Parker is a Fictional Café member, poet and Instagram All-Star. She wrote this piece about her work in the writing field on her blog. We loved her honesty, courage and hope she inspires to fellow creative folks so much, we asked if she would share it with our community. We hope you enjoy her piece. * * * Creativity Matters: Jumping Without A Parachute With the year still fresh and shiny I’ve been thinking lately about my goals and direction for the coming 12 months. After much thought, I have decided I will no longer continue to write for Elephant Journal. While having that kind of exposure can be of benefit, I can simply no longer advocate an organisation who do not pay their writers, yet still demand exclusive ownership and rights…

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January 27, 2017

A Fun Survey for Creative People

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A Fun Survey for Creative People

Our friend and publishing colleague, Michael Boezi at Control Mouse Media, has offered Fictional Cafe members an interesting opportunity to help you focus your creative efforts, the results of which he is going to share with us. Michael and Jack know each other from book publishing days and reconnected at the recent Independent Publishers of New England conference, where Michael gave an outstanding, SRO presentation. Here, in his words, is his enticement for you to take the short survey. If you’re interested, please jump right on this. Hi Fictional Cafe Members, Creatives have unique challenges when trying to market and sell their art. Over the years, I’ve seen many writers, musicians, and visual artists struggle to build a business – even if they produce great work.   In my experience, the issue always seems to boil…

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October 18, 2016

When Trouble Is Truly Worth It: Two YA Book Reviews

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When Trouble Is Truly Worth It: Two YA Book Reviews

Note: We welcome contributor Simran P. Gupta back to the Café with reviews of two new young adult [YA] novels. She’s not only a thoughtful literary critic and skilled essayist, but she’s opening an avenue into a literary genre which we haven’t given the attention it deserves. When Trouble Is Truly Worth It: Two Essential YA Novels To Help Ring in the School Year By Simran P. Gupta             The title of YA novelist Tony Wallach’s second book, Thanks for the Trouble, may have a sarcastic echo to it upon a first read. Upon reading the book, however, a wry and heartfelt tone emerges. The “trouble,” after all, is what forces the development of protagonist Parker Santé. Wallach’s story starts out as an enigma, through sullen, introverted Parker’s POV. A mute who prefers to spend…

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