March 14, 2015

About the Podcasts

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We think podcasts of books are the audio format of the future. Last year, we presented our founding barista’s novel, Wild Blue Yonder, and some other fictional works and old-time radio dramas in downloadable audio files. Jack’s been a DJ and media nut most of his life, so you never know what he’s gonna podcast next. OUR NEW PODCAST This week, we begin the new podcast series of Jack’s second novel, Madrone. It’s the second volume in the Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers story, and it’s received rave reviews from readers. Now you can listen to it here. We’ll publish one chapter a week for the next 24 weeks. The podcast is read by Leonard Mailloux, a lifelong radio broadcaster and broadcast writing practitioner. Len is Senior Faculty in the Communications Department at Simmons College. Sound engineering by Walking…

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January 4, 2018

New Year’s Poetry by Chimezie Ihekuna

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New Year’s Poetry by Chimezie Ihekuna

Editor’s Note: Please see Simran’s review of  Chimezie’s – “Mr. Ben’s” – collected works in the Reviews section. Be Inspired When you’re down, you tend to be close to your feet and consequently, close to defeat. But for the sake of success, please rise to your feet. That’s the feat!                                          Succeeding The Race Success is the race, So, you should to move at your pace  After all, it’s your lane So don’t let your strength wane It’s about completing your journey Don’t let anyone take you funny There are no competitions Because you know your onions Reaching the finish line is its own accomplishment Then you will appreciate the beauty of your commitment   Talking Thoughts Talking can be cheap But its consequence might be difficult to keep Its seeds can be weak…

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January 4, 2018

Chimezie Ihekuna’s “Poured Out Thoughts” – A Poetry Chapbook Review by Simran P. Gupta

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Chimezie Ihekuna’s “Poured Out Thoughts” –  A Poetry Chapbook Review by Simran P. Gupta

The Fictional Café has recently been treated to a drop of sunshine in the form of Chimezie Ihekuna’s poetry collection, “Poured Out Thoughts.” We happened upon news of his forthcoming chapbook of collected poems as a happy accident, through corresponding about his submission to our virtual ‘zine. Affectionately known as Mr. Ben, he is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and is a poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, speaker, and voice-over artist. He says his “love for humanity has inspired him to thirst for knowledge towards its advancement.” Though this review is centered on his upcoming book, you can get a taste for his work through the five poems published here on the Fictional Café. Mr. Ben’s poetry collection is titled “The P.O.T.- Poured Out Thoughts.” His poems are organized around themes that anyone, regardless of background, with…

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December 23, 2017

Just In Time For Christmas, A New Podcast!

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Just In Time For Christmas, A New Podcast!

You know you’re often going to be surprised by our creative offerings, and this month’s podcast is no exception. It’s a Christmas story, but likely not one you might be thinking of. If you ever enjoyed Mystery Science Theater 3000, you’re going to enjoy the heck out of this. Many thanks to Anthony, Garrett and Bobby, our new friends and colleagues at The Story Cauldron, for this offering. The Story Cauldron is a weekly podcast that finds the folktales, fables, and philosophies behind your favorite films. Join us every Wednesday as we dive into what Tolkien called the “Cauldron of Story” or the final result of imagination + art, to see where our movies come from. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night! Please click on the link below to listen to the podcast. https://www.thestorycauldron.com/listen/diehard…

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December 20, 2017

Reimagining Kristen Roupenian’s Short Story, “Cat Person”

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Reimagining Kristen Roupenian’s Short Story, “Cat Person”

Editor’s Note: From time to time, fiction and real life converge like a solar eclipse. The “ME TOO” movement and a short story by Kristen Roupenian entitled “Cat Person,” published recently in The New Yorker, have crossed paths and set the world on its ear. It’s a timely story, to be sure, but it’s also something of a literary fete: the author’s first short story, controversial as hell, accepted by the country’s most prestigious magazine (and one of the few still publishing fiction), which immediately landed Roupenian a book contract with Scout Press, reports the New York Times. Like Roupenian, Rachael Allen is a college student who found herself able to relate to the short story and draw some shared experiences into a complex skein of perception, emotion and experience that reaches out beyond the…

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December 19, 2017

“Once Pink Youth” – Poetry by Hope Bolinger

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“Once Pink Youth” – Poetry by Hope Bolinger

Drip Castles Teardrops of North Carolina sand bite into Pure pink skin, The color of raw sunsets—of a conch’s innards—of a teething child’s gums.   A sunburnt fist Plunges into a wan Bucket full Of sludgy sand.   The Atlantic water on top of the Sunken soil sloshes like Stomach acid.   Fistfuls of sopping slush Form spires of mire, tilt(yards) of silt, ditches of grit—graves of gravel.   Alas, pure pink castles of Muddied fancies Disappear   In a wave Of briny ocean breakers Dissolving into a stump of once-pink youth.   Snow Questions Spring Yellowed school books say Spring makes all fair beings grow, do ashen teachers see sun’s rays—sickles, shred Snow? Sharp grass blades impale, sting? No frail child, browning slush, murky backwash from tires muddied your thoughts. Infant soft moss Spring…

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December 17, 2017

“Etiquette,” A Short Story by William Masters

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“Etiquette,” A Short Story by William Masters

I RIDE ELEVATORS.   To reach my office in downtown San Francisco I take the escalator from the ground floor to the mezzanine. From the mezzanine I ride an elevator from elevator bank A to the 21st floor. From the 21st floor I switch to elevator bank B and ride to the 33rd floor on which my office is located. If I arrive in the building between 8:30 and 9:00AM, multiple stops at various floors extend my ride by six to ten minutes.   I rely on gearless traction electrical thrust to deliver me to work.   In order to arrive on time I must also add elevator travel time to my bus commute. Eighteen minutes plus twelve minutes equal thirty minutes. Of course, I still add an additional six to ten minute wait for…

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December 14, 2017

Five Micropoems by Akshat Shukla

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Five Micropoems by Akshat Shukla

Fusion A light Sinks into lethargy, Dying for A fusion with darkness.   Sunlight The sunlight Bathing in a river; Bubbles of frolic Dancing on the shifting surface.   Commotion The strings of commotion Stretched Beyond time and space Binding the universe In a bundle Of knotted ciphers.   Thoughts Thoughts Scamper across The mind, Colliding, Falling over each other — Stampede.   A Bumblebee Drunk on nectar, A bumblebee Whirrs around, Soaking in The sunshine, Zigzagging Along the hedge, Amazed at the beauty Of the morn. ***   Akshat Shukla is a research scholar at CSJM University, Kanpur, India. He is working on Ecocriticism for his research thesis. Apart from research writing, he writes poetry and fiction, in which he became interested  when he was introduced to romantic poetry. His poems and stories have…

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December 12, 2017

“The Oddity of Jo Bobby and the Seven Doors” – A Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

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“The Oddity of Jo Bobby and the Seven Doors” – A Story by Derrick R. Lafayette

Editor’s Note: This story is a bit longer than our usual fare, but we’re publishing it nonetheless because it’s an unusually entertaining work: a western and a mystery and even a bit of a supernatural thriller, set in the early days of America. Enjoy! “You Bobby-Jo?” “I’m Jo Bobby.” A gunshot blast rang through the wraparound porch of a colonial-style blue and white house that morning in Wormwood, Tennessee. August 9th, 1830, the hottest day Wormwood had ever seen. A gunshot blast so loud that the nearby sheriff, prune-skinned with a handlebar white mustache, woke up in his bed. The gun holster, cupping his gleaming silver pride and joy, was hanging lazily off his bedpost, adjacent to a snoring whale of a woman who wasn’t his wife. The sheriff gripped both sides of his coarse…

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December 3, 2017

Charlotte Madézo’s Paintings: Flights of Fancy

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Charlotte Madézo’s Paintings: Flights of Fancy

Galerie ZonZon is featuring Charlotte Madézo’s paintings this month. Charlotte’s work portrays everyday scenes tinged with  delightful surrealism. These paintings portray flights of fancy – or, perhaps, fantasy if you prefer – elegantly embodied by the lanky characters which give her work at once a sense of humor and poetry. Each one is like a mischievous children’s tale where the artist creates the magic that makes her paintings so special. Artist’s statement: “My luminous universe evolves between sea and garden in an incessant search for harmony and balance. Invention of an imaginary and colorful world nourished by Mediterranean stopovers where fantastic characters come alive, even surrealistic, playing on curves, reliefs and various collages. Colors, shapes and materials, treated in unexpected shortcuts, propose a world free from the constraints that we usually impose on the weight of being, jostling our…

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December 3, 2017

Natalie Rodriguez, Our Web Video Barista, is Making News in Hollywood!

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Natalie Rodriguez, Our Web Video Barista, is Making News in Hollywood!

With all the icky news coming out of Hollywood [and elsewhere] these days, here is a bright, shining blogsite with good news, embodied in its title: Women and Hollywood. Hop over to this link and see the story about our newest, fabulously interesting and creative, barista, Natalie Rodriguez! Today’s the last day you can help crowdfund Natalie’s forthcoming movie, “The Extraordinary Ordinary.” Take a look at the benefits – and swag – you can get by making a donation, large or small. Happy Holidays! Your Baristas

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