August 12, 2014

A Dancing Bear, a Novel by David Free

 Editors Note: Herewith we introduce David Free, our first contributor from Australia. This submission is another first for Fictional Cafe: the premier chapter from his novel appears in two formats, type and podcast. You can begin reading, or scroll to the end of the excerpt and listen to the author in his inimitable Down Under accent read aloud to you. In either – or both – we hope you will find A Dancing Bear as delightful as we did. Please click on the arrow below to listen to the podcast of Chapter 1: Chapter 1 You lunatics, Fenton Bland pretended to think, while taking a fiery glance at his watch. What the hell am I doing here? In truth, he knew perfectly well what he was doing there. He had, moreover, no genuine urge to know the…

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August 11, 2014

The Photography of Paula Park

Artist’s Statement: If my photos have a mission, it is this: to capture common scenes and environments and present them in an interesting way. It may be underneath a highway overpass or the dark interior of an abandoned building. Whatever the locale, these images present the viewer with a unique view of the commonplace. Please click on each image for a larger view. In Armstrong Grove Armstrong Grove, Guerneville, Sonoma County *** Lily in the Woods Armstrong Grove, Sonoma County *** The Laguna Laguna Wetlands Preserve, Sonoma County *** March Madness *** onthewaytojenner *** Underneath the 101 “Underneath the 101, Sonoma County. I love to photograph the benign and show you what I see. This is underneath an overpass at night. When lit up by car headlights, it looks like a cathedral to me.” *** Abandonedtothedarkness California Packing Company’s Plant No….

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August 7, 2014

Peter Pan Kitsune, a Novel by Kyla Goulet

Editors Note: We’re very proud to introduce a talented new writer, Kyla Goulet. At seventeen, she is also our youngest contributor. We asked how she came up with the idea of Peter Pan as a Kitsune, the mythological Japanese creature. She wrote: “Some powers of Kitsune are that they’re immortal and can fly, so…bingo. Peter Pan as a Kitsune? Telling his backstory and a life full of adventure, the ups and downs of being this mythical being? It sounded absolutely brilliant in my eyes.” Her writing is absolutely brilliant in our eyes. Here is the Preface and Chapter One from her novel-in-progress, Peter Pan Kitsune. *       *       * Preface The strain had just been too difficult, as if pins and needles were purposely launching themselves into his skin. He winced, and—by the looks of it—his stomach…

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July 24, 2014

Willamette Writers Conference Just A Week Away!

  One of the leading writing conferences in the country, the Willamette Writers Conference convenes next Friday, August 1, and runs through Sunday, August 3. Launched in 1969, in recent years attendance has topped 1,000 writing and publishing mavens from around the world. If you’re anywhere close to Portland, Oregon, or would like to see what Portlandia is really like, I hope you’ll attend. There are over 60 workshops and special events. I’m particularly flattered to be presenting three workshops in the Master’s Series in Business Writing: Your Professional Writing Career, Writing Your First Book, and Ghostwriting. But more than that, I’m excited to have the chance to meet so many fellow (male and female)  writers and presenters. I thought you might like to meet a few of them yourself. My colleague Jason Brick, who has worked…

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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…

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July 11, 2014

Alice’s Bar and Grill by Col. Jon D. Marsh

“And just WHAT the hell do you think you’re lookin at?” Eddy doesn’t answer. He doesn’t say a word. Eddy knows what is going to happen next and it doesn’t matter if he speaks or not. It wouldn’t matter if he were the world’s greatest orator and philosopher since Forrest Gump. This blowhard is out to impress upon the world that he’s important and hell-bent on doing it as physically as possible to anyone who can’t get out of the way fast enough. “Hey asshole, I’m talking to YOU! You ooglin’ Brenda?” Eddy finishes his water with lime and lays another buck on the bar as a goodnight tip to Brenda. He knows she is going to have to put up with this stupid drunk until his buddies convince him to leave or until he’s…

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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…

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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…

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July 3, 2014

Three Things I Learned Last Summer, by Jason Brick

I learned three things last summer. The first thing I learned was: don’t get drunk on margaritas with your best friend’s wife when it’s just the two of you alone on the deck looking out at a once-in-a-lifetime drop-dead perfect June sunset and the air is warm and clean with a caressing wind coming in off the desert with the scent of spice and the promise of your heart’s desire. It wasn’t as if we hadn’t been drunk together before. Or alone together. Or even drunk together all alone. When it’s your best friend’s wife, and she’s been married to him eight years, you wind up doing most things together at one time or another. The four of us had gotten hammered together with fair regularity, and to say we were comfortable with one another…

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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.

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