February 9, 2021

“The Girl on the Train,” A Review by Jennifer Green

“The Girl on the Train,” A Review by Jennifer Green

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins To be totally transparent, this 2015 psychological thriller is not one I would have picked up or sought out on my own. However, as I’m always looking for new books to read and making a conscious effort to expand the genres on my shelf, when a colleague mentioned this page-turner in a recent Zoom meeting, I picked up a copy and dug in. It’s a quick read, and the premise is interesting: struggling alcoholic rides a train into London every day and muses about the inhabitants of the houses along the tracks, two of whom are her ex-husband and his new wife. When she observes suspicious behavior just before a young woman goes missing, the tension rises. However, it’s the narrative perspective that really gives the novel its…

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January 14, 2021

“The Color of Jadeite,” by Eric D. Goodman: A Review

“The Color of Jadeite,” by Eric D. Goodman: A Review

Editor’s Note: Being in the publishing industry, I’m fortunate to regularly meet talented writers and artists. It is sometimes an instant connection and other times a bit of serendipity. In the case of Eric D. Goodman, it was the latter. A year ago, we published a novel excerpt by Eric, called “Traffic Report,” from Setting the Family Free about a horde of animals unleashed on an Ohio town. A few months later, we published a collection of poems by Charles Rammelkamp and I got to chatting with Charles. While looking up his forthcoming novel, Catastroika, I noticed a familiar name. It seems that Eric had written a blurb for a review of Catastroika. Intrigued, I reached out to both authors and found out that they were actually longtime friends from Baltimore! What’s even more interesting…

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December 31, 2020

Derrick R. Lafayette Is Our First Writer-in-Residence

Derrick R. Lafayette Is Our First Writer-in-Residence

Announcing the newest position on The Fictional Café: the Writer-in-Residence. Our Editorial Team has awarded this role to longtime FC contributor Derrick R. Lafayette. Following a wonderful year of our first Poet-in-Residence, awarded to Mbizo Chirasha, we decided to expand upon this idea by adding a prose writer. Each Residency lasts two years. This staggering allows our members to greet a new face each year and allows us two full years of sharing each Resident’s work. As our Writer-in-Residence for 2021-2022, we will be publishing some of Derrick’s short stories, novel excerpts and perhaps some essays as well. He’s been featured on our site several times over the last three years. Each time, we’ve been impressed by his growth as well as his ability to create engrossing tales using both unique storylines and moments from…

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December 23, 2020

December Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

December Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Greetings all! As many of you know, I run a weekly newsletter of useful, fun, or amusing pieces of writing industry news called The Break From HOKAIC (Hands on Keyboard, Ass in Chair). As writers and lovers of writing yourselves, Fictional Cafe thought you’d enjoy some highlights for your information and entertainment: Finding a writing routine that works A video of writing advice from successful authors Writing Advice From Cats The shifting shape of writing and publishing Ultimate Guide to Book Distribution Nature slaps scientists in the face If you’d like more, delivered each week, consider subscribing to the newsletter itself. It comes every Monday. Thanks for reading. See you next month!

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December 6, 2020

“Brevity,” A Flash Nonfiction Anthology Book Review

“Brevity,” A Flash Nonfiction Anthology Book Review

When Rose Metal Press asked if I would consider writing a review of a forthcoming book entitled The Best of Brevity, I thought, Why not? I favor brevity. After all, that famous line, “Forgive me for writing you such a long letter, for I didn’t have the time to write a short one,” is one of my favorite [mis]quotations, even if we’re not exactly sure who first wrote it. Was it Montaigne? Cicero? Machiavelli? Pascal? Wilde? Twain? Mencken? Does it matter? So the book arrived and I noted the cover read, “Twenty groundbreaking years of flash nonfiction.” I was intrigued; having written flash fiction for years and years, I was embarrassed to admit I knew little about this genre. But flash nonfiction? Now I wondered, Hmmm, this might be boring. Then I began flipping pages,…

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