December 23, 2019

Jim Best’s Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Jim Best’s Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Author James D. “Jim” Best is one of our favorite fans, and we’re one of his, too. Jim cares passionately about reading books, and offers these last-minute suggestions for people on your holiday gift-giving list. 18 Ideas for Gifting Books At times, friends and relatives can be hard to buy for. Some seem to have everything. Due to age or illness, others may be less mobile than in years past. Some don’t really want much. Families scatter across this huge country and selecting a gift, packaging, and shipping can be a chore.A book is a perfect gift … and a great way to avoid the crowds. Books provide a great entertainment value, delivering hour upon hour of pleasure. Reading fiction is like taking a mini vacation without leaving home. An engrossing story makes worries fade…

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December 23, 2019

“Professor of Death,” A Short Story by Dan Coleman

“Professor of Death,” A Short Story by Dan Coleman

Editor’s Note: This short story will take you through a few unexpected turns with each chapter. You may begin to think you are being treated to a horror/fiction story and then maybe it’s really about a romance. Or is it? In any case, we hope you enjoy each chapter. We present these three intriguing chapters of the short story “Professor of Death” – beginning tonight and continuing throughout the week. ** Things were getting a little too scary to suit Robert Fountain. He could feel the times changing around him, sense the movement of sinister winds, like the rolling in of a tidal wave, and he didn’t want to be standing on the beach when it got there. He was a man with two professions, one public, in which he was a respected authority of some…

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December 21, 2019

“American Child” – A Poem by M. Sullivan

“American Child” – A Poem by M. Sullivan

I walked along the maps of my home   around the bends of the Housatonic River   and up Mount Greylock hanging over Jamaica Plain        I’ve run my fingers over the shores of Nantucket   and felt the Mystic and run my gaze over  Watatic the high Wachusett   and felt the rumble of the Mattapan line and wandered the streets of Swampscott   and of Chappaquiddick        I remember the first bus I took to school   named the Cummaquid Chief and   how I thought as   I shook afraid that the bus would be driven by a head- dressed brown- skinned face- painted man with leather moccasins and fierce gaze        the names meant nothing to me   no  near mountain no great cove  nothing that lay in the midst of waters nor   far off among the waves there was no place I seek no place   of red rocks no…

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December 19, 2019

“Satiety,” and Other Poems by Brian Rihlmann

“Satiety,” and Other Poems by Brian Rihlmann

SATIETYthere used to be  a much longer delay  between hope  and disappointment     now, I pluck the fruit  and it withers  in my hand    I know it’s bitter  before my tongue does    soon I’ll leave the fruit  and nourish myself   on emptiness    I’ll chew the blue of the sky  I’ll taste the black of the night  and be filled  ** REBORN   and when the pain finally goes as inexplicably as it came we grab its arm to drag it back  through the door like a spurned lover saying  “please stay… I didn’t mean it”  we believe if we let it go then it has no more meaning than a passing cloud a brief summer storm a dead leaf blowing down the street in the wake of a truck   it must mean something more than that we think—  we think so and thus it is reborn to scream at us through all our days and nights   ** QUIT WEARING OTHER…

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December 16, 2019

“The Man in the Iron Hat,” a Short Story by Audrey Kalman

“The Man in the Iron Hat,” a Short Story by Audrey Kalman

The hat was a marvel, like a chastity belt or a grate over an abandoned and dangerous well. The wide curve of its bowl fit the man’s head perfectly. The thick brim jutted over his eyes, hiding everything above the horizontal plane of his vision and much to either side. It was astonishing that something intended to be worn could be fashioned of a material so ancient, so dense and pebbly and so, well, iron age. Yet the hat seemed to him the most natural thing in the world.  He didn’t wear it with pride but he didn’t resent it either. It simply was. He put it on every morning. It sat on his head through breakfast with his wife and children, through the tedious search for his briefcase, the train ride to the city, the day in the office, the ride home, drinks, dinner, TV, lovemaking—three times a week—until, just before he laid his head on the pillow,…

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December 13, 2019

Revisiting “The Maltese Falcon” – A Special Podcast Performance by Fake Radio

Revisiting “The Maltese Falcon” – A Special Podcast Performance by Fake Radio

This week we feature a very special story and private-eye noir mystery: “The Maltese Falcon,” performed by the cast of Fake Radio with guest Lynne Stewart! While most podcasts and audio productions posted on Fictional Café have scripted and edited content, Fake Radio is one of the brave – and few – that insist on recording all their productions LIVE! The Maltese Falcon is Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 novel featuring his hard-boiled private eye, Sam Spade. In “old-time radio” plays, actors often were given a script and expected to put on the show for their listeners with very little rehearsal time, often having to improvise their way out of any mistakes. “The Maltese Falcon” has been made into a motion picture four times and several radio and audio adaptations as well. The Fake Radio version is…

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December 10, 2019

“Acquaintance,” Flash Fiction by Ramisa Alam

“Acquaintance,” Flash Fiction by Ramisa Alam

“Would you like to see the menu?” the waiter couldn’t help himself from approaching Lisa.   “No thank you. I’m waiting for someone.”  She has been waiting for quite a while. She doesn’t mind waiting in such a nice place. Smooth jazz playing and she has her phone to keep her company.     Lisa prefers this eatery to other ones nearby. This is the only place that has enough space to fit her laptop, papers and coffee mug on a table for one. Some days she plugs in the headphones, gets into the new assignment and hours goes by without her noticing. When it comes to meeting someone for the first time, this place is tops at cordiality.  She looks down at her phone to check the time.  It’s 4:54  What’s taking Nina so long?  Nina has a habit of being late, Lisa knows that. Nina must have gotten into those hairstyle tutorial videos and lost the track of time. Classic Nina!  Despite never meeting her…

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December 8, 2019

A Short Story, “Judgment Day,” by Philip Sherman Mygatt

A Short Story, “Judgment Day,” by Philip Sherman Mygatt

On a cold, rainy April day, I put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. It wasn’t the way I wanted to die, but I had no choice, especially after losing my wife, whom I loved so dearly. It wasn’t a random act; I had carefully planned it as I spiraled downward into the depths of insanity and deep depression. It wasn’t pretty, but I was finally out of my misery, or so I thought at the time.   I had always wondered what it was like to die; perhaps it was like getting anesthesia before an operation, or perhaps it was like just closing your eyes and going to sleep, however it turned out to be quite different. Even now as I send this message across that invisible barrier separating life from death, it’s…

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December 6, 2019

“Temporary Graciousness,” a Short Story & the Eclectic Poetry of KJ Hannah Greenberg

“Temporary Graciousness,” a Short Story & the Eclectic Poetry of KJ Hannah Greenberg

Editor’s Note: We welcome Channie Greenberg back to the Cafe today with new poetry and fiction. Channie never fails to surprise us with the interesting directions her art takes – nor to delight us. My Etsy Site  My Etsy site’s full of objects made from century eggs, sannakji, and puffin hearts,   But not fugu, or hákarl, especially not shark meat served alongside surströmming.  See, I couldn’t, hereafter, entirely disconnect all of my offerings of fins and tails,  Give up completely trucking with evil, especially lads revealed to be key criminals.  No lack of midwifery of unhealthy scions insures my partners keep their beds clean;  Outlandish creatures show up in my life, regularly, despite my doughty efforts.  What’s more, since I’m temporarily ineligible for base jumping, given my gestation,  I dusted off my teacup collection. I like porcelain, locally sourced,…

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December 4, 2019

New England Writers & Book Enthusiasts, Join Us!

New England Writers & Book Enthusiasts, Join Us!

Calling all New England writers and book enthusiasts! This Saturday, December 7th, the Association of Rhode Island Authors is holding its annual writer’s conference: the Rhode Island Author Expo. This will be the third year the Fictional Café will be attending the ARIA Expo. Stop by our table and chat with Jack, Mike and Honorah. Tell us about your creative work, your book interests or your favorite coffee brews. We always love meeting our members in person! You can enter to win one of our giveaways while you’re there. We’ll even have copies of our hot-off-the-presses Anthology for sale. At this all-day event, you’ll find writing workshops, tables with local authors and resource groups for writers. Come talk shop with other writers, get tips on crafting engaging dialogue or simply pick up a few holiday…

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