January 27, 2017

Podcast: Improbable Fortunes,” Part 3

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Podcast: Improbable Fortunes,” Part 3

OK, here’s the third and last enticement for you to listen to Jeffrey Price’s hysterically funny Audible novelmovie, “Improbable Fortunes.” Now, I just want you to consider that title. Improbable. Fortunes. Do you get a little twinge of Horatio Alger? Well, if you do, Price’s Horatio is young Buster McCaffrey, an archetypal orphan who seems like a sweet cowboy but who cuts quite a swath through the lives of the people of Vanadium, Colorado. I’ve nearly finished listening to the entire novel and can’t count the number of times I’ve LOL’d. I mean, really Laughed Out Loud. If you’re seeing this post for the first time, please go back and listen to Part One and Part Two. You’ll be glad you did. Please click on the arrow below to listen to the first excerpt from “Improbable Fortunes.”

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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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January 24, 2017

Taiwan: A Photo Essay

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I recently returned from my fifth trip to Taiwan. I like this small island republic for its interesting and dignified people, its relaxed pace of life, its emphasis on personal physical well-being, and of course its food. I recently finished writing a novel entitled Bridge Across the Ocean, which is about bicycling and love and business intelligence espionage, which takes place among characters from both New England and Taiwan. I enjoyed writing about Taiwan and on my last trip, I took hundred and hundreds of photos and shot a lot of video for the novel. This time, I just took pictures of people, places and things that caught my interest, in no particular order, all with my new iPhone 7 Plus. I hope you enjoy them. Captions appear below photos. Click on a photo to see an enlargement….

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January 20, 2017

Podcast: Part 2 of “Improbable Fortunes” by Jeffrey Price

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Podcast: Part 2 of “Improbable Fortunes” by Jeffrey Price

We continue with the second installment of the podcast of ‘Improbable Fortunes” by Jeffrey Price, read by Jonathan Davis. It’s from Price’s (first) novel of the same name and excerpted here from the Audible version. Note: on either of these Amazon links, a Kindle version and an MP3 download are also available. You might not recognize the name Jeffrey Price, but he’s the Hollywood scriptwriter of hit movies such as the screamingly hilariously snarky “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and “Shrek the Third.” The narrator may or may not be the Jonathan Davis of Korn. In any case, “Improbable Fortunes” is a ribald western movie leaking out around its edges: Owen Wilson as Buster McCaffrey, Margot Robbie as the unfaithful wife [and Buster’s lover] of Marvin Mallomar, the now-dead richest men in America,…

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January 15, 2017

Podcast: “Improbable Fortunes” by Jeffrey Price

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Podcast: “Improbable Fortunes” by Jeffrey Price

January’s podcast is ‘Improbable Fortunes” by Jeffrey Price, read by Jonathan Davis. It’s from Price’s (first) novel of the same name and excerpted here from the Audible version. Note: on either of these Amazon links that a Kindle version and an MP3 download are also available. You might not recognize the name Jeffrey Price, but he’s the Hollywood scriptwriter of hit movies such as the screamingly hilariously snarky “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and “Shrek the Third.” The narrator may or may not be the Jonathan Davis of Korn. In any case, “Improbable Fortunes” is a ribald western that might claim to be “like” “Blazing Saddles” or Kinky Friedman meets Carl Hiasson meets Tom Robbins meets The Firesign Theater. As is our practice, two more excerpts follow on the next two Fridays…

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December 27, 2016

Dante: Our “Sister” Coffee Shop in Taiwan

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Dante: Our “Sister” Coffee Shop in Taiwan

When visiting Taiwan, you might think it is a country noted more for tea than coffee. But you would be mistaken. There are small storefronts that roast and grind the beans to brew your espresso a cup at a time. There are Starbucks and Mr. Brown’s coffee shops. A modest but solidly superior choice to all of them is Dante. It was because it was named after the great Dante Aligheri (author of The Divine Comedy; 1265-1321) that Dante first caught my attention. I knew I was in coffee heaven the first time I ordered a cup. First because it’s served in a real mug if you choose to sit inside. The nice big mug is heated with hot, steaming water before the coffee is poured in. Even if you opt for a takeout cup, it’s sturdy and of high quality. Last but…

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December 11, 2016

Walk On, Walking Crow

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Walk On, Walking Crow

Walking Crow, one of my finest, closest friends, no longer walks among us. He now walks the paths of Summerland, far away in space and time from the cold, bleak New Hampshire winter lands. At 2PM on December 9, 2016, Walking Crow, nee Stephen Croft, took his last breaths. Stevie, as I often called him, had been my friend – indeed, more like a brother than those bound to me by blood – for the past decade. He was dying of cancer, and I was on my way from Massachusetts to see him. His other best friend, Stormi, was at his bedside and held his hand as he took the Last Great Walk. I didn’t make it in time. Stevie and I lived on the same dirt road in Holderness, New Hampshire, overlooking Big Squam…

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November 28, 2016

Book Review: “Barkskins” by Annie Proulx

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Book Review: “Barkskins” by Annie Proulx

From The Shipping News to Accordion Crimes to “Brokeback Mountain,” Annie Proulx hasn’t written a novel or short story I didn’t enjoy. Proulx is a storyteller with a great depth of understanding for not just people, but environments both physical and emotional. One of my particular favorites is “On the Antler” from Heart Songs and Other Stories. It’s the story of a feud between two emotionally primitive men who live in the woods and have few means of expression, but seek revenge upon each other for crimes both real and imagined. A novel which lingers in my thoughts for its engaging thematic thread is Accordion Crimes. The musical instrument travels from hand to hand, place to place over a century, sometimes in danger and sometimes cherished, but never revealing its secret. Although Proulx’s works linger…

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November 25, 2016

Podcast: Madrone is now an Audible Book!

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Podcast: Madrone is now an Audible Book!

You not only listened to Jack’s first novel, Wild Blue Yonder, here first, but now you can listen to Madrone, its sequel, here in the Audible version as well! Amazon’s done something pretty cool with books in Kindle and Audible formats: You can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $1.99 when you buy the Kindle book. But I wouldn’t ask you to buy without giving you a sample, so here’s Chapter 1. The recording begins with the brilliant poem, “Mr. Robinson Jeffers Contemplates the Pacific,” by J. E. Shepard, and as before, it is read by my friend and colleague Len Mailloux.  

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