September 20, 2022

The Strong Stuff Volume 2 Coming Soon!

The Strong Stuff Volume 2 Coming Soon!

Good day café patrons! We’re hard at work putting together the second volume of The Fictional Café anthology, The Strong Stuff: The Best of The Fictional Café. The response from our first book was so positive, we had to brew another. While the first covered the first five years of our best work, this one will cover three years, from 2018-2020. Our second volume of The Strong Stuff will feature about 80 contributors of short stories, novel excerpts, poetry and art. It’s going to be a beautiful coffee table book and we hope you will check it out. Stay tuned for updates on how you can get your hands on a copy, piping hot off the presses! To check out our first volume, visit our Anthology page. — Your Baristas

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June 16, 2022

New Writing by Barista Lorraine Martindale!

New Writing by Barista Lorraine Martindale!

Lorraine Martindale, The Fictional Café’s editor-at-large, has published new work which explores ideas of how one tells stories, and how the process often leads to new discoveries. “A Magical Stumble Back in Time” muses on how collage artist Joseph Cornell’s work creates visual stories, in Raft Magazine. In Shift: A Journal of Literary Oddities, “A Lemon and Almond Tart for Manny Eggertsville” reveals how a character changed when the sister’s story became more interesting, using an old, found recipe. And in “Beverages, San Francisco” an imagined conversation plays out among a certain set in Sazeracs, Smoky Ink. *** Lorraine Martindale is our Editor-at-Large. She is a freelance writer and editor who loves to read and talk about books. She has an MFA from the New School in New York, and is at work on a…

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May 4, 2022

“Sometimes We Fall,” Yong’s New Book!

“Sometimes We Fall,” Yong’s New Book!

SOMETIMES WE FALL takes readers into the lives of people searching for self, sense of belonging, and their version of truth: A son protects a secret that could destroy his family’s reputation and fortune. A daughter searches for the truth as her mother descends into dementia. A mother asks an unexpected friend to look after the baby she plans to abandon. Their paths are not easy and inevitably they fall. Some pick themselves up and some can’t or won’t as they struggle to find the reason for their failures. Yong Takahashi is the author of Observations Through Yellow Glasses, Rising, Sometimes We Fall, and The Escape to Candyland. She was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest, The Writers’ Mastermind Short…

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February 1, 2022

Let’s Celebrate Valentine’s Day Together!

It isn’t a contest, but you can be one of the winners Dear Fictional Cafe Coffee Club members,Valentine’s Day is just two short weeks away and what the world needs now is love, more love. How would you like your flash fiction, short story or poem on the theme of love to be chosen for our Valentine’s Day blog post? If you’re interested, please send your manuscript, following our usual FC submission guidelines here to me personally at jack@fictionalcafe.com. Your story will be reviewed by three FC baristas and the ones we choose will be our Valentine’s Day gift of love to all the world (really! FC is read in 67 countries!). Please get your entry in ASAP – the deadline is Feb. 12. I can’t wait to read your poems and stories! Jack Jack B….

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January 19, 2022

“Observations Through Yellow Glasses,” Yong’s New Book!

“Observations Through Yellow Glasses,”  Yong’s New Book!

Yong Takahashi moved to The United States with her parents when she was three years old. She grew up in a traditional household where her Korean and American worlds pulled her in opposite directions. Shortlisted for The Sexton Prize for Poetry, Observations Through Yellow Glasses: A Memoir Through Poems invites you to follow her journey as she learns life’s bitter lessons, longs for love, and attempts to heal the wounds she collects along the way. A few words from Yong: “I set out to write a memoir by my fiftieth birthday. Several people asked me not to use their names. I tried to figure out how I could tell my story without pointing fingers so I decided to write about snippets of my life through poetry. Each poem highlights a snapshot of a feeling or…

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December 16, 2021

Founder Jack’s New Novel and a Great Offer

Founder Jack’s New Novel and a Great Offer

Get a book and a chance to do some good at no extra cost! Fictional Cafe Members: Enjoy a great read and support cycling safety too! If you ride a bike, as I do, you might be interested to know we ride one of the most innovative machines in world history. Bikes became popular in the 1800s because of a shortage of horses caused by –  whoa! would you believe a volcano eruption? – and henceforth were called “hobby horses!” Before they made the first airplane fly at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers had a bicycle shop where they sold (doh) bikes named “Van Cleve” and “St. Clair.” Mark Twain wrote a ludicrously humorous article about his experience riding – and falling again and again – from a “penny farthing” bicycle, pictured here. I got…

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December 15, 2021

Vera West Is Our 2022-2023 Poet-in-Residence!

Vera West Is Our 2022-2023 Poet-in-Residence!

Editor’s Note:We are excited to announce our second Poet-in-Residence, Vera West! Earlier this year, we were introduced to Vera through our all-star Poetry Barista, Yong Takahashi. Michael and Jennifer were throwing around the idea of doing a “potpourri post” of poetry. The timing worked out for it to fall on National Poetry Week, so we organized a lineup of poets for the post. I reached out to Yong to ask if she knew any poets who would want to contribute a poem and she replied with an enthusiastic request to include Vera. (You can see that National Poetry Month post here.) Over the summer, us baristas were discussing who we wanted to nominate for the next Poet-in-Residence position and again Yong came back with Vera’s name. We perused her portfolio and had a delightful Zoom…

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December 14, 2021

Announcing an FC Cento Poem Contest!

Announcing an FC Cento Poem Contest!

We’d like to announce a fun challenge for all you poets at the Café. We’re doing a Cento Poetry Challenge! For those who have never heard of centos, they are poems crafted from words and phrases found in others’ works and pasted together to form your new, unique thoughts. The best poems will be featured on FC’s site. The deadline is 12/31. To enter, email mike@fictionalcafe.com For more information on cento poems and how to create them, check out The New York Times‘ post.

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December 6, 2021

Announcing Our First Ever Pushcart Prize Nominees!

Announcing Our First Ever Pushcart Prize Nominees!

Hello Coffee Clubbers! We are excited to announce that, for the first time, The Fictional Café has nominated a handful of our members for a Pushcart Prize. For those who are unfamiliar with Pushcart, they publish an anthology of short stories, essays and poetry from small presses and literary magazines each year—they’ve been doing it since 1976! Small presses and literary magazines can nominate works they’ve published over the course of that given year. The idea to nominate FC members came to us in early 2020. With the pandemic bearing down on the writing world, we wanted to offer something else to our talented, creative members. Ruth Simon, Michael Piekny and I were throwing around ideas and this one stood out as a perfect way to show just how much we value the work we…

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October 25, 2021

Wanna NaNoWriMo With Me?

Wanna NaNoWriMo With Me?

An invitation to join me in a great month of novel-writing Several years ago I was working on a novel about this same time of year. I’d begun it quite a few months earlier at my home in Boston, but at the time I was happily—if not somewhat chilled—writing from a 150-year-old farmhouse in rural France. My fingers, clad in fingerless knitted gloves, flew over the keyboard, pausing occasionally to sip from my café au lait or tea for warmth. I was having a best-of-times. An email came through cyberspace from a best friend and writing colleague who lives in Oregon. I stopped writing to see what he had to say; several years earlier, again while lodging at this same Finistere stone maison, he had done me a great service by buying and shipping me a…

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