December 5, 2014

10 Reasons Writing For a Living Kicks Ass

    As we close our first year of operation and look forward to 2015, we have to say it’s been a bumpy road. A lot of things went wrong. More things went right. In most ways, it’s been just like our careers as writers: tough, but worth it. Coming to the end of your writing year, you might be tempted to look at the “Con” column and think about giving it up. Here are ten reasons not to.   There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be a Writer Forget what some doomsayers like Scott Turow might tell you – the Internet has democratized distribution, simplified publicity and created massive demand. These changes might make Stephen Kings and J.K. Rowlings a bit less common, but it’s easier than ever to make your living…

Continue reading →

October 27, 2014

“War and Peace” Reading Group – You’re Invited!

Leo Tolstoy wrote one of the world’s greatest novels, War and Peace, between 1861-63. The backstory goes like this: He toyed with several versions [with pen and paper – remember, no computers back then!] until 1866. He began a massive revision he did not complete until 1869, when it was finally published. It is at once a story of an aristocratic family, the invasion of Russia by Napoleon, a romance, a tragedy, an attempt by a novelist to set history right. In short, it’s one of the world’s great stories, fiction or nonfiction. You love to read. We love to read. This is a great book, but one you might not tackle on your own. Let’s read it together. Just in case you’re on the fence about reading a novel over 1,200 pages in length, check…

Continue reading →

July 14, 2014

Kickstarting Your Next Book Advance with April Huneycutt

Once upon a time, the process for getting published worked like this:   Step One: Write a book Step Two: Beg an agent to represent that book Step Three: The agent begs a publisher to publish the book Step Four: Wait (a long time) Step Five: Publish   These days, self-publishing, e-publishing and independent publishing give lots of alternatives to the traditional path. For more authors every year, the DIY model of publishing is superior to the old ways. You get a higher commission. The lag between finishing your book and seeing it in print is shorter. You get more artistic control. On the other hand, new publishing has one serious disadvantage as compared to the traditional route: no advance. In fact, it usually requires you to put out some of your own money to hire a professional editor, get the…

Continue reading →

July 7, 2014

Innisfree Bookshop is the First to Stock "Madrone"

    Meredith, New Hampshire, July 7th, 2014: Madrone, Jack B. Rochester’s second novel about Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, joined Wild Blue Yonder on the shelves at Innisfree Bookshop today. Pictured beside Jack, Fictional Cafe’s Head Barista, is Kyla Goulet, an Innisfree bookseller and aspiring author in her own right. “There is no feeling to compare with seeing a book you wrote on the shelves in a bookstore,” said Jack. “I can’t wait to see mine there, too,” Kyla said, grinning. “You’re a gifted writer,” Jack replied, “and I’m certain that will happen.” All this quipping while Innisfree manager Beverly Newton snapped photos. “We can’t wait to have you do a reading,” she said. Wild Blue Yonder, published in 2012, is the first installment in the story of Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, a 1960s college dropout who joins the…

Continue reading →

July 4, 2014

Celebrating the Bicycle as The Tour de France Begins

Gregg Rochester is a very successful painter of large canvases depicting nature scenes that are an amalgam of reality and his imagination. People have bought his work in galleries from coast to coast. He lives in Wisconsin and like me, loves to cycle through the farm country where he lives. While out for a ride one afternoon, the idea of painting bicycles struck him. He began buying bicycle parts and building the bikes he would paint upon. The idea was a huge success, and before long he had enough bikes for a gallery showing: Gregg’s “Le Tour d’Art” was born and began exhibiting in a number of  Midwest galleries. He began painting canvases with bicycle themes, too. “My original concept was to encourage my patrons to use the painted bicycle as a sculptural piece, hanging it on the wall…

Continue reading →

July 3, 2014

What are you reading this summer?

To hear the book marketers, books and beaches go together. Never much thought so myself; lots more fun to people-watch and play in the water. Besides, it’s dangerous; I was reading a book on a beach in Puerto Rico – fell asleep and woke up with the worst sunburn I’ve ever had. But all that aside, we usually get a raft [sic] of new books for summer. I’m reading Joshua Ferris’ new epic, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. It’s not light reading, but the premise is interesting: someone is stalking a dentist by creating a phony website for him. What are you reading? Drop us a comment and let us know. Tell us a little of your reading experience with it. And grab a cuppa creativity while you’re here over in Member Writing.

Continue reading →

June 10, 2014

Fictional Cafe Members Wearing Their New FC Hats!

Here’s a photo of Atilla Vekony and Grael Norton at Wheatmark Publishing, sporting their new Fictional Café headgear! You can get one too! Be sure to Join the Fictional Café here to become eligible to win a FC baseball cap, then watch your email for our forthcoming contests and giveaways! Becoming a member also entitles you to submit your own creative work: poetry, short stories, novel excerpts and art.   P.S. Wheatmark is publishing my latest novel, Madrone. Stay tuned for news about it!  

Continue reading →

June 10, 2014

Google’s Street Art, Across the Universe

A few years ago, Shepard Fairy, a well-known street artist, was arrested in Boston by an overzealous, graffiti-art-hating cop, for postering a portrait of Obama named “Hope” on a public wall. That strikes me as arresting someone for self-publishing their writing. Now, Google has raised street art and its cousin [or are they the same?] to new heights in its growing art portfolio. There is some wonderful art being created by artists who can’t or won’t be seen in a formal art gallery. Visit here to see more wonderful art.  

Continue reading →

May 19, 2014

Bravery in a Windows 8 World

I don’t much care for television commercials. I mean, come on, “ask your doctor” if you need to take a placebo pill for your placebo-fantasy condition whose side effects will make you sick? But I don’t want to get started. Except my wife and I were watching “Big Bang Theory” and this Microsoft commercial comes on. Innocuous enough, but then at the end there’s some woman screeching something I cannot understand. It sounds like she’s having a bad-tattoo experience. Or maybe her phone just fell out of her back pocket and was run over by a truck. Or maybe it was a cry of frustration with trying to work a Windows 8 computer. I was curious enough to Google around to find out why she was in such pain. Turns out she’s singing something about being…

Continue reading →