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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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 16, 2017

The FC Writing Contest: Live Today!

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The FC Writing Contest: Live Today!

As we announced earlier this week, our writing contest opens today! You can click here for the long version of the rules, but here’s the short version. Use the link above to submit your story Unless it’s poetry, art, or flash fiction your tale should be from 2k to 8k words It costs $10 to submit Submissions close on Friday, July 14 Starting Monday, July 17 we run head-to-head elections to see who wins each genre category Winners of 1st through 3rd place go in a print anthology. They win glory, honor, and two free copies! Any questions? Write me here! Get to writing!   Editor’s note: The Fictional Cafe Writing Contest is the brain child of Jason Brick, FC’s Anthology Barista. An accomplished author of fiction and nonfiction, Jason is also a heck of an…

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June 13, 2017

Our Writing Contest Goes Live On Friday!

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Our Writing Contest Goes Live On Friday!

Greetings Fictional Café Readers, Writers, Artists and Members! It is our pleasure to announce the First annual Fictional Café Writing Contest. In celebration of our fourth year of bringing you the best fiction we can offer, we’re expanding our programs to include a print/ebook publication curated by you, our members. Here’s how it works. Part One: Submission Beginning at the end of this week, submissions open. You enter your best piece of fiction via our one-of-a-kind submission form (link will be visible in our official Opening post this coming Friday). Submissions should be between 2,000 and 8,000 words and fit in one of the following categories: Literary Humorous Poetry (word count requirement suspended) Speculative Mystery/Thriller/Crime Western/Historical Flash (word count <1,000 words) Art (photos, drawings, and paintings, no word count requirement) You can submit as many times…

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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 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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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 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 7, 2017

Introducing Our New Barista, Artist Gary Marchesano

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Introducing Our New Barista, Artist Gary Marchesano

  The Fictional Café is a growing, changing artist’s coffee house. What began as a desire to publish other writers has grown into a place where not only fiction-writers and poets but artists, photographers and yes, even podcasters, are delighted to share their creativity with you, our loyal FC members. We are also growing and changing  from the inside as we welcome new baristas to help us with the ever-growing number of submissions, as well as introducing us to increasingly wider audiences. That’s why it’s such a distinct pleasure to introduce Gary Marchesano, as an artist and our newest barista. He’s a very thoughtful, discriminating, and cool guy who gets to live in a garden spot in Florida where he can watch Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 rocket launches, go fishing not even a mile from his door,…

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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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