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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October 6, 2021

Independent Publishers of New England’s Virtual Conference

Independent Publishers of New England’s Virtual Conference

Dear Coffee Clubbers, The Fictional Café is excited to announce that the nonprofit publishing group Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) will be holding their annual conference virtually this year, so anyone, anywhere can join! Several of your baristas are members of the group and our founder, Jack, will even be presenting himself! Please join us for 2 days of education and networking at the 10th Annual (virtual) Independent Publishers and Authors conference November 5-6. WHO SHOULD ATTEND? · Independent Publishers · Author Publishers (Self-Publishers) · Partners of Publishers; Industry Suppliers · Writers and Others Who Dream of Being Happily Published! The conference will feature some big names in the publishing industry, including keynote speakers Paige Allen, director of IngramSpark, Cevin Breyerman, CEO of Publisher’s Weekly, and Jane Friedman, indie publishing guru. We’ll have speakers…

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September 26, 2021

September Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

September Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Jason’s Notes From the Lab… I’ve been gone for a few months, diving deep into the next stages of my publishing career. Most specifically I’ve been looking at companies to manage some advertising and publicity, so I can focus more on what I’m best at. There are dozens, probably hundreds of options and candidates. I won’t speak to any specific brands this time, but here are the most important things I’ve learned about this over the past months.  Fiverr is good for graphic design, but bad for managing advertising. Fiverr pro is better, but expensive enough you can hire a local for the same money most of the time.  Many publishing and advertising companies offer free webinars to gather leads. These webinars alone have enough information to up the game of most writers breaking into publicizing their own books.  If you’re not spending…

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September 14, 2021

“Camp Detroit,” Yong Takahashi’s Upcoming Book

“Camp Detroit,” Yong Takahashi’s Upcoming Book

Yong Takahashi’s dystopian young adult novel about family, friendship, and finding one’s inner strength will be published by Inkwell Publishing in 2022. https://inkwellpublishers.com Justin Grant is fourteen, living in the aftermath of a bankrupt Detroit, Michigan. Labeled as slow and a trouble-maker, he is given a government-sponsored intelligence test to determine if they can legally expel him from school. The results are not what anyone, including Justin and his mother, expect. Yong Takahashi is the author of Rising 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, and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. She was awarded Best Pitch at the Atlanta Writers Club Conference.  To read Yong’s other works, please visit: https://linktr.ee/yctwriter *** Yong Takahashi is the…

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June 27, 2021

June Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

June Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Jason’s Notes From the Lab… My YouTube channel has been growing, but I wanted to supercharge it with a promotions company. I tried two of them: Sprizzy and Social Growth Engine. They both work the same way. I give them money and a video. They promote the video. My channel gets views, which bumps things up in the algorithms and makes it perform better overall. Here’s my experience and opinion with them.  Sprizzy incorporates your video into ads they run on YouTube (and I think some other platforms), getting it in front of many eyes that are at least marginally interested in your content. You get to set your budget for each video, with a minimum effective spend of $40. Social Growth Engine has an army of minions. You give them a link, they tell their minions to go…

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