October 13, 2021

“The Life of a Private Eye,” by Michael Larrain

“The Life of a Private Eye,” by Michael Larrain

The Life of a Private Eye, Part 4, Zounds! Once there was a man who didn’t flirt with his nurse.Once there was a wife who let her husband slide.Once there was a day when nothing bad happened to anyone,a day that had slipped god’s mind. It might have gone unnoticed,had not the Creator of the Universe hired me to look into it.I figured god could afford it, so I charged twice my usual rates,plus expenses. I began with a vague recollection ofbelieving all would be well on the day in question, the feelingthat I was on a roll, even as I was sitting still. It had fallen onmy mother’s birthday. I couldn’t call her. She had departed when I was a boy.So I settled for laughing at how she’d loved telling risqué jokes and stories.Then…

Continue reading →

October 11, 2021

“Artemis 7,” A Short Story by Zachary Lattman

“Artemis 7,” A Short Story by Zachary Lattman

The world watched as a cool, confident man took his place at the podium. “Good afternoon,” he said with a booming voice that filled the room. “I am Administrator Devin Cernan, and I want to thank you all for being here.” He looked down at his feet, and sighed. “Today is both a hard day, and an exciting day for NASA. In a few moments, Artemis 7 will touch down on the lunar surface, bringing NASA, the United States, and the world, back to the moon for the first time in nearly 50 years. That is a tremendous accomplishment, and it belongs to thousands of men and women, who have worked for decades to bring the Artemis program to fruition. However, today is bittersweet, as the highest priority for the Artemis 7 crew will be…

Continue reading →

October 7, 2021

“The Place Where the Chiefs Meet,” by Frank Diamond

“The Place Where the Chiefs Meet,” by Frank Diamond

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to announce the return of Frank Diamond to the Café. His latest short story, presented here, is accompanied by the song “To Live Again” by singer/songwriter Camille Peruto, and a reading of the story by actress Maggie Peruto. The Place Where the Chiefs Meet I am 26 and it’s the night my father died. My mother insists that I had nothing to do with it. My siblings don’t play; they curse me over the phone. They’ll be in tomorrow. At one point, I slump at the kitchen table, crying and sick from withdrawal. Crystal tugs my arm: “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” I shake loose and run out.   I should head to my apartment, but I don’t want to be alone. Dizzy’s not there. He’s heard about Antonio and decides to visit friends “in Jersey.” That’s…

Continue reading →

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…

Continue reading →

October 5, 2021

“Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens,” by Katy Scrogin

“Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens,” by Katy Scrogin

Architeuthis Considers the Sapiens      Before, we could believe in their innocence  when they’d only seen us dead,  another limp tendril of sea-culled debris  delivered to dry land  in those in-between hours  when it was understood that nothing happened or arrived  outside the boundaries of their serene dreams    They had eons to build legends  upon our pale still limbs  to fill their need for fable  with splayed gray membranes  growing stale and sacred on the sand    But now their truth-seekers know  the cold-tingling thrill of penetration  into deep-dwelling realms        of untethered motion        volition  the stinging grasp of unstoried life.  What now, my unarmed soul,  now that they know?      * It wasn’t until 2006 that humans finally saw a living Architeuthis dux, or giant squid. Until that point, the dead specimens…

Continue reading →

September 30, 2021

Barbara Potter — Musician Photographer

Barbara Potter — Musician Photographer

Artist’s Statement: Photographed on a local lake front. I wanted to try a wide-angle lens before purchasing it. I rented a 14-24mm and it did not disappoint! It allowed me to get very close to my subject, so you hopefully feel like you are right there listening to them play like I did! Eight images were used from this session for the vinyl record album and cd cover insert but this image was not chosen by the record label. It was my favorite from the session. My client was taking a break when I noticed the two reflections in the mirrors and got this shot. This image was shot in my client’s den . . . a very small den, which made it extremely challenging. The original portrait was very colorful. Purple velvet jacket, burgundy chair and peach color…

Continue reading →

September 28, 2021

“The Templar Reprisals,” An Excerpt by James D. Best

“The Templar Reprisals,” An Excerpt by James D. Best

Editor’s Note: James D. Best is a prolific author, perhaps best known for his Steve Dancy Westerns, which have sold over 100,000 copies. Jim’s tagline for the seven novels (and one short story collection) is “Honest Westerns. Full of Dishonest Characters.” But like many successful popular fiction authors such as Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Lisa Gardner and John Sandford (to name a few of my favorites), Jim has written some excellent works beyond the Dancy series: Deluge, The Shut Mouth Society, and now The Templar Reprisals. I’m a big fan of his work, not only because he’s a darned good writer but he also writes excellent, intriguing stories. He lives up a hundred percent to my favorite aphorism, “A good story, well told.” Herewith, the first four chapters of “Templar.” If you like what you…

Continue reading →

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…

Continue reading →

September 23, 2021

“Souls of Their Feet,” A Short Story by John E. Caulton

“Souls of Their Feet,” A Short Story by John E.  Caulton

So as not to be overheard, I stoop a little and whisper into the youth’s ear, “What’s with the mucky feet again, eh? It’s all right depicting the hoi polloi in such a way, I suppose, but the Virgin? I mean, c’mon!” The youth, not feeling the need to lower his own voice, is not very forthcoming. Half smiling, half sneering, he curtly replies, “With respect sir, my master already explained it to you, on your last visit, if you remember.” Indeed, he had, and rather bluntly too. In fact, I almost wish I hadn’t asked at all, but I simply needed to know about the feet business. We all did. I change tack. “Has he forgiven me, yet?” I ask the youth. He answers, “For asking too many questions, maybe. But for the figurine,…

Continue reading →

September 21, 2021

“The Awakening of Artemis,” An Excerpt by John Calia

“The Awakening of Artemis,” An Excerpt by John Calia

The missile hit just as she was activating her ground control station. Drone pilot Diana Gutierrez-Adams was about to fly her first combat mission when she was thrown across the room. Dizzy from the blow to her head, she stumbled to her feet. Points of light prickled in her eyes. The pain she should have felt was overcome by the rush of adrenaline. Looking around, she realized the east end of the building had collapsed, destroying several stations and likely killing the drone pilots. She swung around toward Gabrielle’s station. Like Diana, she had been thrown to the floor but, unlike Diana, she was unconscious.  “Gabrielle!” she yelled as she took a step toward her friend. Her head spinning, she tripped forward breaking her fall with her elbows. She crawled across the room and knelt down next to…

Continue reading →