August 10, 2015

“The Face of a Beautiful Monster” by Adam Gottfried (Part One)

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“The Face of a Beautiful Monster” by Adam Gottfried (Part One)

This is Part One of Adam’s Three-Part Tale. Come back next Monday, and the Monday after for more beautiful, monstrous mystery.  The door swung open with the smooth, silent urgency of a practiced hand. James Atherton, the Congdon butler swiftly took in the man who stood before him. Tall, wide-shouldered, he had a broad face decorated with a well-trimmed beard that was significantly out of vogue with modern sensibilities. His brown wool suit was crisp and clean, and his shirt was white, starched, and well-pressed. He wore a wide-brimmed hat that was also out of style, but it suited him in a rakish sort of way. He removed the cap and ran a large hand with scarred knuckles through his thick mane of dark blond hair, and then produced a calling card with his other….

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August 2, 2015

Poetry by Judith Manzoni Ward

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Poetry by Judith Manzoni Ward

  “Sunday Morning Dreamscape”   The silk umbrella that covered her head had a hole in its top, in case of rain. She was meeting her husband for a rendezvous outside a phone booth. Her daughter followed, six steps behind, reciting the only two definitions of sodomy that she knew. An elevated train on the left side of the road stopped; three men fell out onto a steel track below. The daughter ditched her at a fork in the highway, went on alone to the dock to meet an old lover who would take her away on a cruise. She had forgotten her ticket; he said she could share his: number 660266. He asked if she needed a baby sling; she predicted he would marry someone young.   “The Way She Gathered Stones”   She…

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June 30, 2015

“Diplomacy” by Jane Ward

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“Diplomacy” by Jane Ward

Editor’s Note: We welcome Jane Ward back to the FictionalCafé ‘zine pages with a new short story. Her first, “Balancing Act,” appeared in the June, 2014 issue. * “It’s not like that,” she said. They were sitting on the steps of the old house where Raynor had grown up, looking out at the moss-covered rocks on the front lawn, and trying to get the bottle caps to land on top of the biggest rock the way they had done when they were children. The house still reminded Tara of the house in Forrest Gump, the way its size was somehow mediated by its straightforward shape and layout, so that the place managed to appear unassuming. “It sounds pretty much ‘like that’ to me,” he told her, keeping his hand in the air after it let…

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June 1, 2015

“Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals” by Peggy McAloon

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Editor’s note: The following excerpt is from the young-adult novel Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals, by Peggy McAloon, published by Wheatmark.   Elle Burton stopped at Lake Menomin on her way to school. It was her birthday. A sudden splash shattered her reflection in the water. Her hands flew out to protect her face from whatever exploded upward and she felt . . . something. A butterfly’s wings? She cupped her hands together, lacing her fingers tightly. “Let me go!” Elle’s dark eyes widened in amazement, but she didn’t loosen her grip. “Let me go! I have to be there when he’s born.” “What are you talking about?” Elle whispered, afraid she might break the spell. “I can’t talk to you . . . it’s against the rules.” The creature was now trembling in…

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June 1, 2015

The Reaper’s Daughter by K. M. Randall

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The Reaper’s Daughter by K. M. Randall

Editor’s note: The following excerpt is from a newly published novel, The Reaper’s Daughter, by K. M. Randall. Be sure to watch her novel trailer here at Goodreads.   PROLOGUE Present The rolling green of her eyes was dimming fast, losing color and life to the quick click of time that beat out her days and nights, a perpetual circle that was now fading to a close. Light brown hair that had been recently styled into looping curls was limp against the black pillowcase―a metaphor for her wilted spirit, I mused, thinking offhandedly how proud my English professor would be at my thoughtful use of language. I sighed. I didn’t want to be here. When her eyes met mine, I knew she saw me for who I really was—what I really was. She reached out…

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November 3, 2014

“Jenny’s Revenge,” a Novel by James D. Best

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    Here is an excerpt from James D. Best’s fifth Steve Dancy novel, Jenny’s Revenge, which was published February 2, 2015.  Best’s westerns are written in the spirit of Zane Gray and, to quote Larry Winget, writing in True West Magazine, March, 2012,”The James Best books…are about the best new Western series to come along since Larry McMurtry.” All five Steve Dancy novels are available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.  — Editors     Introduction After securing a license to use Thomas Edison’s inventions for mining, Steve and his friends return to Denver to pick up belongings they left behind on their way to New York. Steve and Virginia plan to marry, and Captain McAllen retires from the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to start a horse ranch. Eager to begin new lives, everyone…

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November 2, 2014

The Sensuous Poetry of Michael Larrain

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  One of the beautiful things about artists is the unexpected ways in which we encounter them. I went to college in Sonoma County, California, and make an annual pilgrimage back there. I usually stay with my long-time friends, Larry and Laurie. Last year I came upon a man selling blissed-out flowers from the back of his Jeep about two blocks east of downtown Cotati. Well, this year he was there, in the same spot again, and we got to talking about life, the universe, and how everything and everybody is sometimes discernibly connected and as it went we suddenly discovered we’re both writers. Michael told me about his novel, Movies on the Sails, and I told him about mine, featuring a character named Flowers. I asked him to submit some of his poetry for Fictional Cafe, and here it…

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October 3, 2014

Daughter of Fire, a Novel by Dory Fiamingo

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Helen of Agralee is a fierce warrior who wants nothing to do with her family’s legacy of being the Guardian, protector of the people of Davosad. Trained since childhood in the fighting arts and the only woman in the country of Cruinn allowed to fight, Helen has grown arrogant and selfish. To remedy this her father, Kurel, the current Guardian, sends her to Tieton Abbey to learn humility. She rebels, but her desires matter little. Vulcan of Norlad quickly becomes her enemy while Galen, High Prince of Cruinn, and Brother Patrick, an ex-mercenary posing as a monk, become her allies. When Kurel is murdered by Demion, insect, bat, and wolf-like creatures led by Mallus, who seeks the Guardian’s sword, the power seeks out Helen. It burns its way through her body, forever changing her—and the…

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September 9, 2014

Portrait of Ignatius Jones, a Novel by Peter David Shapiro

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Editor’s Note: Herewith, Chapters 1 and 2 of Portrait of Ignatius Jones, Peter David Shapiro’s third novel, now published. Capitalizing on the late-19th-century fascination with psychics and confidence games, with a dash of The Picture of Dorian Gray, the novel takes the reader from Victorian Boston to the Peaceable Kingdom of Vermont, where things are not as peaceful as one might think. Chapter One September 12, 1896 Testimony of Mrs. Eugenia Stephenson concerning a Meeting at the Boston Spiritualist Lyceum I WAS SEATED AMONGST THIRTY others in the audience in a meeting hall of the Boston Spiritualist Lyceum on Tremont Street when Ignatius Jones entered, accompanied by Mr. William Price following several steps behind. Ignatius Jones sat behind a table at the front of the room. To be sure, I’d heard the whispers emanating from…

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September 9, 2014

“Carpe Diem,” A Poem by Catherine Dougherty

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  Watching the world go by; Seeing it pass before my eyes. Bearing witness to another day’s dawn, Preluding, yet, another day’s song. Funny, how it all seems to slip away; Nothing is ever meant to stay. * Still, I can remember, Ah yes, oh so well, Rising from what seemed like hell, Grasping the day and making it mine, Simply living my life And feeling so fine. * But, now I’m old, My time here almost gone. If my life was a battle, I would say that I’ve won. So I have no regrets of what’s come and passed, Always remembering, nothing’s meant to last. * I’m just watching the world go by; Savoring the moments before I die; Thankful and rich for what I’ve done, Where I’ve been, how far I’ve come. Knowing…

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