April 20, 2019

Our Barista Sarah Kersey Debuts in The Atlantic

Our Barista Sarah Kersey Debuts in The Atlantic

Fictional Café Baristas are not only editors but writers as well, a message you will hear from us often through both word and action. So we’re very proud to announce that Sarah P. Kersey, our Associate Editor, has a work published in this month’s Atlantic Monthly magazine. What do you, reader, think of as the greatest act of courage? We would like to know. Please send yours to us at submissions@fictionalcafe.com. Type “Courage” in the subject line. Be courageous and give us your name and a quickie bio if you’d like; we’ll only include your name and will publish everyone’s thoughts in a forthcoming Fictional Café post. Thanks for being a Coffee Club member, and we hope to hear from you very soon! ~ Jack

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April 17, 2019

The Ghostly Art of Stephen Pavlovic

The Ghostly Art of Stephen Pavlovic

Artist’s Statement: My work explores my anxieties. I work to externalize those anxieties in a visually interesting way. The image of a Hungry Ghost (in Buddhism, a person doomed to wander the earth, unable to satisfy their overwhelming desires) has always been a recurrent theme in my work, but in the last two years it has taken a more central role. Who knew there were so many of them? I find the image of the Hungry Ghost useful in explaining to myself the current political state of things and at the same time externalizing my emotions to reduce the angst I feel. In some Buddhist cosmology, a person can be reborn as either a human being, into the realm of the Gods, or as a Hungry Ghost; Hungry Ghost being the worst rebirth. I find…

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April 16, 2019

FC Anthology in Production

FC Anthology in Production

Hello everyone, we are excited to update you all on the forthcoming FC Anthology – our first print edition! We’ve begun book production, including layout, cover design and printing sources. For those of you familiar with self-publishing, you understand it’s a lot of work (and learning). This anthology will include the baristas’ handpicked “best of” from 2013 until 2017: the first five years of our existence. We’ll include short stories, novel excerpts, poetry and visual art from over 50 members! I’m happy to report that we are moving along with the manuscript layout thanks to friend and fellow member of IPNE, Eddie Vincent of Encircle Publications. He has been working in book production and design for over 30 years! This will be the second Fictional Café Press book. We published the first, Where Are the…

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April 10, 2019

“Eye Contact” Part II

“Eye Contact” Part II

By Ann Davis Editor’s note: Here is Part II of Ann Davis’ experimental fiction, guaranteed to open your eyes. The featured image, “Collapse of the Mind,” is courtesy Steve Sangapore, our Fine Arts Baristas. But . . . before you begin reading, listen: Morris could not remember the last morning the sunlight had looked so golden, or when he had had such a refreshing sleep. Woke up entirely on his own too, before his alarm even, a whole hour before he usually did. Especially surprising was that he felt perfectly awake, with no urge to lie back down whatsoever. Must be from his long nap during the insertion the other day. Oh yes, the insertion! Suddenly driven by an urge to check the mirror, Morris darted out of bed and straight for the looking glass…

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April 9, 2019

“Eye Contact” by Ann Davis

“Eye Contact” by Ann Davis

Editor’s note: We met Ann Davis at a writers conference in December, 2018. She wanted to know more about the Fictional Cafe and then told us the writer’s lament: her hard drive had crashed and she’d lost all her writing. Well, a year passes and we’re back at the same writing conference again when Ann walks up to the Fictional Cafe booth with a two-inch stack of printout in her hands. She had recovered her work! We told her we were entertaining manuscripts that were a little, ah, different for 2019, and she tugged this one out from her stack. We read it, liked it, and accepted it. Of course it had to go through the submissions process as a Word file, but here it is. We’re calling it “experimental fiction.” Due to its length…

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April 6, 2019

“The Maltese Goddess”

“The Maltese Goddess”

Third and Final Episode Here we are folks, as promised, at the same time and same station, headphones poised to listen to the last episode of our mystery-adventure in 3-D sound from our friends and fortunately frequent contributors at ZBS. I do want to give them a great big fist bump from Fictional Café and a nudge for you to go check out their site, because it is full to overflowing with great stories and tales for listening. You’ll recall that “‘The Maltese Goddess’ is “a detective story set in the 1930s, with voodoo, mobsters, goddess worshippers, a snake cult, and an ancient, priceless, statue from Malta.” And, as you remember, it won first prize in the Prix Italia audio arts contest a few years ago (you’ll hear about this again in the Introduction). It’s…

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April 3, 2019

“Chronicles of Cambodia”

“Chronicles of Cambodia”

Creative Nonfiction by Vlad Linder Translated from the Russian by Marika Marina One can travel in different ways: observe the surroundings comfortably through a car window, or blend into the local people’s lives, experiencing and going through their pain and joy, troubles and concerns, just as the author of ‘The Chronicles of Cambodia” did. Vlad Linder describes in detail his journey to the land of The Khmer Rouge, which took place in April 2012 . . .. Part I A week after my arrival in Sihanoukville, I was rather tired of the predictable life of a settled tourist. Staying at a snug little house right on the shore of the Gulf of Siam, I kept feeling I was looking at the world through a well-polished, barely visible glass. I set off to a place, where…

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March 31, 2019

“A Mayan Love”

“A Mayan Love”

A Novel in Ten 140-Word Tweets by John Gantz We’ve intentionally chosen today, April First – AKA All Fool’s Day – to publish this wise, witty, sex-and-death novel. We leave it to you to discern exactly what this Mayan love story means. You may want to re-read it a few times. Oh, and figure out why we’re publishing it today. 1. The body lay at his feet, desiccated, looking up. He nudged it. Another one, he mumbled. Time is short. 2.  What is it she asked, hookah smoke curling around her head? ’’’Nother roach. I thought they could survive an A-bomb.” 3. TS Elliot was wrong. It wouldn’t end with a whimper, OR a bang, but a cloud, a cloud of alien germs bathing the earth. 4.  Come here, she said, opening her blouse. He…

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March 26, 2019

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt, Part 2

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt, Part 2

By James Osborne Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we published Part I of this two-part excerpt. If you haven’t read it, you can scroll back on the home page slider to read it. When they arrived at the school, the three national elders were waiting. With them were Namusat’s current chief and the local council, and another local elder. When everyone was introduced and seated, Chief John Boisvert turned to Paul and said brusquely, “Why have you come?” Paul heard a sharp edge in Chief Boisvert’s voice, but he could see his eyes were not angry or aggressive. They bore a look of elegance and kindness… and much sadness. “I have not come with handouts nor have I come with any promises,” Paul replied. “I came to listen, perhaps to learn from you, and with your help…

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March 25, 2019

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt

“Secret Shepherd” – A Novel Excerpt

By James Osborne Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this excerpt from James Osborne’s new novel, we are presenting it in two parts, today and tomorrow. Namusat, Quebec, Canada November 1994 “Another two just last night!” Dan Stonechild said, his voice breaking. “That’s four suicides here in three weeks, Paul. Oh my… four! Four little kids!” Paul Winston embraced his friend awkwardly. Both wore knee-length parkas against the 30 below zero cold, their hands thrust deep in double-layered mittens, their feet clad in fur mukluks. Paul had just arrived on a chartered plane in the remote First Nations community of Namusat in northern Canada, after a long flight from his ranch near Colorado Springs, Co. As they walked toward the tiny village, Paul could see Dan was struggling with his composure. “Are you sure…

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