September 19, 2017

Introducing Natalie Rodriguez, Our Video Barista

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Introducing  Natalie Rodriguez, Our Video Barista

I’m very pleased to introduce Natalie Rodriguez, a Los Angeles-based video artist, who is joining us as our video barista. Natalie has contributed her work to the Fictional Café in the past. We were impressed not only with her passion for writing, directing and producing video and film works, but with her artistic expression in a social context. Natalie is committed to raising consciousness about issues of mental health, psychotherapy, and grieving. She is currently seeking financial support to make a documentary film entitled “The Extraordinary Ordinary,” focusing on the mental health issues of young people that affect one out of four, most of them college age. Her first contribution to FC was “The Scars of Our Lives,” a subject-themed trailer for this feature-length film. It can be viewed here. To me, Natalie’s work exemplifies the…

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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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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 1, 2017

Light in August: This Month’s New Work

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Light in August: This Month’s New Work

Please pardon us for snitching the title of William Faulkner’s momentous novel about race relations in the 1930s South, but it’s on our minds a lot as we continue to see ugly racism rampant in our country. Which, of course, begs the question posed in the gorgeous song, “Why Can’t We Live Together“, performed by Diana King and Kyle Eastwood. We hope you’ll find interesting and provocative aspects of what’s good about a diverse culture in our offerings this month. That’s about it, save for the more obvious metaphor of our contributors shedding some light into your own personal August with our bountiful creative offerings. Fiction. Sandor Blum has given us a short story about an American Jew who encounters latent – and perhaps blatant – discrimination in “My Last Night in Paris.” We also…

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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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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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