November 29, 2020

“Memories Like Scars,” Poetry by Topper Barnes

“Memories Like Scars,” Poetry by Topper Barnes

Memories like Scars    There is a 22-year-old somewhere   Buried beneath the layers of abuse  Curled up like a starving street cat  Its fur caked with grime, oil, and feces   Those star speckled marble eyes  Bulging from the frail skull   And the shy stomach purring   While the confident takes its milk  With a trowel she can be found  A bit of digging and smoothing over  With time  Her blistered lips that have been  Bitten by glass roses  Will heal  The gory craters dotting her face  Torn open during 4am battles  With invisible insects  Will recover  Her skeleton will grow a new coat  Night by night  Day by day  Meal by meal   A shape will appear where a spike  Once stood  And those tear tracks dipped  In mascara   Running down her cheeks  Simply vanished  With a…

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November 27, 2020

“Temujin: An Audio Drama” Adaptation

“Temujin: An Audio Drama” Adaptation

TEMUJIN: AN AUDIO DRAMA is an audio-only historical drama adaptation launched in 2020 adapting the Central Asian epic The Secret History of the Mongols. This epic follows the rise of Temujin – who would become Genghis Khan – and the fall of Jamukha – the Gur Khan, his most bitter rival and dearest friend. Told from Jamukha’s perspective on what seems like the last night of his life, TEMUJIN reveals a rarely-told moment that shaped human history: the ill-fated bond shared between two young warlords caught between rivalry and friendship, empire-building and tender brotherhood. Click here for Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Written and directed by Roshan Singh Sambhi, with Sound Design and Composition by Nathaniel Mah, this amazing multi-cultural audio production has been nominated 16 times across all 9 eligible categories of the Audio…

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November 26, 2020

Holiday Gift Ideas for Bookish Friends and Family

Holiday Gift Ideas for Bookish Friends and Family

The holidays are upon us! What better way to celebrate than with books and book-based products? I know, I’m biased. BUT there are many of us out there and we can be tricky to shop for. Here are some gift ideas for the bookivores in your life with a special offer from us at the Café at the end. I got my first Kindle recently! I finally caved because I was getting more than a stray submission to The Fictional Café as an e-book. I begrudgingly used it, hoping my REAL books wouldn’t scoff at me. Yet, I found myself loving this portable bookshelf for vacations or reading on the subway. Hey Jack, can I count this as a business expense for reimbursement? All kidding aside, here is a gift idea for readers that I…

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November 25, 2020

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

“Nothing Against Ms. Johnson, But . . .” by Patricia Callahan

Nothing against Ms. Johnson, but when she read aloud to us, her head wobbled on her long neck. And she licked her thumb to turn pages. Nobody ever checked out a book she had read aloud during Library Hour.  The day she tried to read us The Mouse and the Motorcycle, her thumb had just smudged page one when Evan stood on a library stool and threw the recess kickball at her. It smacked her in the face. The chapter book dropped to the floor, its pages fanning out before us as Ms. Johnson let out a high “Oh!” of surprise. Then a smaller “Oh.” Of realization. She brought her knuckles to her nose. Nobody breathed. “Tissue,” she said through her hand, and brought her other hand to the blotch of pink swelling on her cheek. “Please.” The kickball, bumping across the carpet, tapped against the picture books lining a bottom shelf and dribbled to a stop. Then Evan wound up and toe-balled…

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November 24, 2020

November Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

November Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

We’d like to welcome back our new monthly feature by-writer and writing coach, and longtime FC friend Jason Brick. He brings us news from around the writing world. Here’s his November Edition of The Break from HOKAIC (Hands on Keyboard, Ass in Chair). Greetings all! As many of you know, I run a weekly newsletter of useful, fun, or amusing pieces of writing industry news called The Break From HOKAIC. As writers and lovers of writing yourselves, The Fictional Café thought you’d enjoy some highlights for your information and entertainment: Does Twitter pitching work? Four common pieces of writing advice that don’t go far enough A guide to influencer marketing for authors Alan Dean Foster and Disney are fussing over something important Some fabulous writing quotes you should know 8 Must-read self publishing blogs If you’d like more, delivered…

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November 22, 2020

“Letters” and Other Poems by Morgan Bazilian

“Letters” and Other Poems by Morgan Bazilian

LETTERS    The economists argue  about the shape of letters.    They consider  V and U and even W.    The letters, though  have their own ideas    about their shapes, and futures  and destinies.     The experts try to force them  to fit a mold    or a pre-conceived notion  related to time and space.     Ultimately, the letters  dance    across the graphs, unencumbered and  uncaring of the constraints    placed on them by nearly everyone.   ** DAYS    A day transitions  under its own  volition,     without heralding   anything  of consequence.     And then, two more  or three  in an un-syncopated beat.     Boundaries do not exist,  even circadian rhythms  are not respected.     This time has no empathy,   no forgiveness  as the fourth dimension.     ** The LAWN    The grass is blooming.   It looks haphazard  and unkempt.    The sun is mixing with the rain  and producing poppies  and dandelions.    Weeds…

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November 19, 2020

“The Blind and the Seeing Are Not Equal” by Ikjot Kaur

“The Blind and the Seeing Are Not Equal” by Ikjot Kaur

Before I stopped seeing, I started dreaming a lot more. The dreams, if they can be called that, gradually increased in frequency and intensity. The whimsical visions of my dreams spilled over into my waking life, the line between the two states smudged. In the unravelling, I discovered a senseless, feral urge to read.   Books multiplied on the shelves overnight, in the dark, while I was asleep. I wandered into used bookstores and rifled through the pages with a hunger for ink. I pored over the manuscripts in my office, the paper rustling under my fingers. Boxes filled with paperbacks arrived at my doorstep. I cracked open their spines. Words crept under my front door, slid over the carpets, climbed into my bed. I read passages out loud, swirling the syllables around my mouth like sips…

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November 17, 2020

“Your Rising Moon,” Poetry and Photos by Jon Meyer

“Your Rising Moon,” Poetry and Photos by Jon Meyer

Editor’s Note: We present the poetry and photos of Jon Meyer, paired together as he has done in his book, Love Poems from New England: reflections on states of mind and states of heart. *** Jon Meyer‘s previous book “LOVE POEMS FROM VERMONT: reflections on an inner and outer state” has won these awards: Reader Views Choice: Best National Poetry Book 2019/2020 Best Regional Book 2019/2020 Best Northeast Book 2019/2020 2nd Place Travel/ Nature 2019/2020 Next Generation  International Indie Book Awards: Finalist: Poetry 2019/2020 Finalist: Gift/ Specialty 2019/2020  This is his first feature on The Fictional Café.

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November 13, 2020

11th Hour Audio Productions by Owen McCuen

11th Hour Audio Productions   by Owen McCuen

  From the twisted and dark audio files of 11th Hour Audio Productions, comes a little belated Halloween Horror. But first, a little about this collaborative company: October, 2011, producers, actors and designers from FinalRune productions and Aural Stage Studios gathered in a mill in Biddeford, Maine to record, post-produce and release a horror production for Transcontinental Terror. The result was James Comtois’ Ogle Award-winning “Intensive Care.” Alex wakes in a run-down New England hospital with foggy memories of a car accident. He asks nurses about his missing girlfriend, Elizabeth, but can’t seem to get any answers. In fact, he can’t seem to get anything straight from anyone. And – was that a scream in the distance? Sometime back in September 2015 they decided they wanted to produce a quick horror audio drama, just for fun. In Intensive Care fashion,…

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November 11, 2020

“Teddy Levine,” Poems by Robert Cooperman

“Teddy Levine,” Poems by Robert Cooperman

Teddy Levine, on Line to Buy Girl Scout Cookies, Outside the Wild Weed Dispensary:  Denver    “The Girl Scouts of Colorado have decided it’s now cool to peddle their baked goods    outside marijuana dispensaries.” —The Denver Post    Jesus-freakin’-Christ,  this woman’s taking all day,  can’t make up her mind,  so she’s demanding free   samples of every variety.    The girls behind the table  roll their eyes, but afraid   to tell her to screw off,  so the scout leader informs her,   with a smile tight as a dolphin’s   rear end in a rip tide,    “I’m so sorry; we can’t   break open boxes.”  Madam Entitled stalks off  as if a butcher had tried   to pass off gristle for T-bone.    Finally, it’s my turn!  But I forget what I want,  the kids snickering  like I’m already stoned,  which, I confess, I am, a little.    I point, while the ounce   in my pocket gets hot   as a fired .45 on old TV westerns,  when cowboys rode off  into the sunset, free as mustangs,   and schoolmarms waved goodbye  and tried not…

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