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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November 22, 2016

Notes on Surrealistic Poetry by Michael Larrain

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Notes on Surrealistic Poetry by Michael Larrain

Our frequent contributor and friend Michael Larrain is, first and foremost, a poet. And, in some of his verse, he is  a surrealist poet. Thus it’s quite natural for him to comment on surrealistic poetry. We found this short article very interesting and hope you will, too. Notes on Surrealistic Poetry by Michael Larrain To do any kind of serious writing work, you need—simultaneously—to sink both into yourself, your own torments and obsessions, and the world’s multifarious irresistible corruptions, to learn the savor and cost of every vice and the weight of every disappointment, and at the same time to rise up in great joy, to rise and rise always like bubbles in a glass of beer. The tension between the sinking and the rising holds you in place, listening to your own mind, overhearing…

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November 18, 2016

Podcast: Wild Blue Yonder is now an Audible Book

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Podcast: Wild Blue Yonder is now an Audible Book

You listened to it here first, Jack’s first novel, Wild Blue Yonder: A Novel of the 1960s. Or maybe you didn’t, because it was hard to keep up with 24 consecutive weekly podcast episodes. Well, now you can hear the entire novel, which is Part 1 of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers trilogy, in one fell swoop by getting the Audible version from Amazon. Amazon’s done something pretty cool with books that are 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.  

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November 15, 2016

Rattlesnakes, Fictional and Real

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Rattlesnakes, Fictional and Real

(Photo Credit: Audubon Society) A number of years ago, while visiting the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, I was struck by the fact that many science fiction authors had envisioned the future in their novels, then watched as their vision become reality. Well, guess what? It’s happened at the Fictional Café, too! We recently published a short story by Kathryn Holzman entitled “Rattlesnakes.” It concerned a group of people demonstrating against creating a sanctuary on an island in a Massachusetts reservoir for…yep, rattlesnakes. Oooo, I thought, that’s a creepy idea! But I liked the story a lot, especially the dream-like ending. So it was with some surprise that I read this article by Jan Gardner in the Boston Globe a few months later: “Tale of the timber rattler” “After a public outcry, the state of Massachusetts earlier this…

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November 11, 2016

Podcast: “Improbable Fortunes” by Jeffrey Price

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Podcast: “Improbable Fortunes” by Jeffrey Price

In an interview posted on his LinkedIn page, Jeffrey Price, perhaps unknown to most but renowned for co-authoring the script of the animated movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” says of  his latest work: “Improbable Fortunes is my Funny Valentine to the land I love and the craziness that is not so different from America at large. I should also say that women readers have told me that they found the book romantic.” Improbable Fortunes is a novel in print, Kindle and Audible formats on Amazon. Set in a small fictional town in Colorado, it’s the story of the adventures of one Butch McCaffrey. It’s a terrific satire on the New West with a main character who embodies literature’s greatest picaresque “heroes,” from Don Quixote to Ignatius J. Reilly. The Prolouge, a half-hour long excerpt, will give you…

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November 8, 2016

Reflections on Reading Literature in a Foreign Language

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Reflections on Reading Literature in a Foreign Language

By Simran P. Gupta The author Jhumpa Lahiri is an inspiration to me, particularly with her latest memoir, In Other Words. In this work, she chronicles her journey with learning to write exclusively (as well as read and speak) in Italian. As a South Asian learning a language that is not from that subcontinent, her thoughts resonated strongly with me, and led to some reflection of my own. I am not by any means embarking on a mission to write exclusively in French yet, but thanks to my French major I have been reading more and more French and Francophone literature. I have quickly realized that this literature is not the same beast as the film or literature I study for my English major. French literature takes me almost twice as long to read, is…

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November 4, 2016

Sophie Vincent’s Winsome Ceramics

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Sophie Vincent’s Winsome Ceramics

In the French village of Dourdan, the sculptor Sophie Vincent carries on a tradition of making ceramics which dates back to the first century BCE, a period when France was known as Gaul and part of the Roman Empire. It was a time when clay kitchen and tableware changed from being purely utilitarian to becoming more expressive and decorative shapes and figurines – in a word, art. And thus Sophie, working in her studio in Dourdan, just south of Paris, brings this ancient Dourdan tradition into the twenty-first century. Here is a sampling of her work, with titles in their original French. Please click on the images for a gallery view.             * Sophie says, “After four years of training and nice meetings with other artists, I opened my own ceramics studio in Dourdan. Since then, I spend most of my…

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November 1, 2016

Three Poems by Nina Brav

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Three Poems by Nina Brav

Silly or Young How silly I was then, Or maybe too young To see that the darkness on the wall Was just myself Reflected.   The wooden night-light That carved the image of a withered tree Standing, still in moonlight That’s what made it bigger   That’s why I was afraid.   So I cowered under covers, Silly to think my blanket Could shield me from my monster Too young to know I’d never really Escape it. ***   The Nights Are the Hardest  “The nights are the hardest,” she’d said. She was right. Night came. So did total destruction. Dark winds howled, pushed me, dragged me off my perch, down with a thud. Clay skin cracked, pieces of me spread across cold cement floors. Then came the winged creatures. They tore at me, scratching…

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October 30, 2016

Podcast: Radio Stories for Halloween

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Podcast: Radio Stories for Halloween

Happy? Creepy? Horrific? Halloween! Take your pick, All Hallow’s Eve is for all of us and different for all of us, especially in these days when it’s moved around to accommodate marketing promotions and convenient times to trick ‘n’ treat. But no such concerns here: You can listen to these great old-time radio Halloween stories any time you like! Here we present three for your listening – ah – pleasure. They’re really old, from the 1940s and 1950s, and yet they’re ageless as well. Our first ghoulish tale is Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Black Cat,” starring one of the greatest actors of the horror genre, Peter Lorre, who was also host of  Mystery in the Air. Lorre’s German accent gave his characterizations an intense dash of the macabre. Please click the arrow below to listen.  …

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October 30, 2016

Little Red Riding Hood’s Halloween

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Little Red Riding Hood’s Halloween

The folk tale of Little Red Riding Hood has a long and varied history in its telling, which does nothing to diminish the charm of the following photographs, which have a distinctive mood and charm all their own. Thanks to our friend J. Stirling for sharing these images. Enjoy.   Please click on the images to enlarge them.    If you go off to the woods… Be sure you take some lunch with you…   My apple was delicious! I’m so glad I brought some along.  The woods are a wonderful place for memories and secrets…   But now it’s growing dark. Time to go home before the Big Bad Wolf finds me. Besides, I’m getting tired and I miss mommy and daddy!    

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