January 27, 2016

Book Review: Safe Inside the Violence

Book Review: Safe Inside the Violence

Safe Inside the Violence is 13 short stories about the everyday conflicts that push the common man to act in ways he never thought he would. I must admit, this is the kind of writing that I personally enjoy the most. First off, it is character-driven. Irvin knows the importance of building well-defined, realistic characters, as his stories all share this trait. Second, the situations are right out of everyday life: a man walking to the grocery store in a snow storm, a confrontation with noisy neighbors, a garbage man finding something valuable in the trash. Irvin digs through modern-day life to uncover an engaging story each time. Now, I enjoy a spell-casting adventure as much as the next person, but for me it doesn’t get any better than when a writer really captures the…

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January 10, 2016

Jasmine Stirling’s Continent-Hopping Photography

Jasmine Stirling’s Continent-Hopping Photography

Editor’s Note: Recently, we were contacted by Jasmine Stirling with an invitation to view her new photography website. We loved what we saw – in particular her use of space, light, color and social commentary. There’s shadow-play from above, a shoeless shoe-peddler, some Hitchcockian birds, striking facades, bold tones and a tongue-in-cheek wind sock. Please enjoy these photographs, taken from coast to coast and across the globe. * * * The first six photos are from the “Order” series, the next four are from the “Color” series and the final photo is from the “Take a Bite” series. Our featured image is from the “Africa” series.   * * * Jasmine Stirling has been an obsessive photographer since she was a kid shooting blurry shots of the woods, her feet, and a stranger’s dog with…

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January 5, 2016

January Submissions

January Submissions

Welcome to 2016 at the Fictional Café! Thanks for sipping along with us into our third year of operation. We’d also like to thank our friend Lloyd Prentice for his Christmas fiction last month. It’s great to hear from our Featured Writers, Poets, Artists and Photographers, whether it’s for an interview, a fun little snippet of what they do, an invitation to a reading or an exhibition they’re in or for a guest blog. We are ringing in the new year with some great creative work, so let’s get right to it. First up, is our January Featured Writer John Martinson. His novella Who Done Me In? is part sci-fi, part detective story. He creates a whole new world and invites you and your imagination to come along for the ride on this five-parter story. Next,…

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December 29, 2015

To All Our Loyal Fans

To All Our Loyal Fans

From all of us baristas at the Fictional Café, we would like to thank all of you – our readers, writers, artists, photographers and fans – for your continued support of our site. We simply would not exist without you! Thank you for your submissions, for your subscriptions, for your comments and emails, for your “likes” and friendships, retweets and follows, for your invitations to readings, exhibitions or cups of real coffee. But most importantly, thank you for being a part of our community. We hope that you have found some inspiration for your own life on these pages this past year, as we bid a fond farewell to 2015. We are so excited for next year and the offerings we have in store for you all – some familiar, others novel (no pun intended)….

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December 12, 2015

Hank Keneally’s “Diffusion Portraits” Series

Hank Keneally’s “Diffusion Portraits” Series

Editor’s Note: Hank Keneally’s “Diffusion Portraits” series captures real life images and presents them in a blur of color that toes the line between dream and apparition. Read on to hear what he has to say about his “a-ha moment” with this series and how he achieved his effects in his photographs. Click on any image to see a larger version. Click your browser’s Back button to return to this page. * * * A Moment Of Discovery: The “Cosmic Download” During a class I was teaching for Brio Fine Arts Center one of my students got a call on her cell phone. She headed for the door to answer the call so as not to disturb the class. As she opened the door I got my “Cosmic Download”: Hank! You Should Photograph The Entire…

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December 9, 2015

The Poetry of Multi-Talented Maria Termini

The Poetry of Multi-Talented Maria Termini

Editor’s Note: There are two kinds of creative people: the kind that create art and the kind that live it and could know no other way. I met Maria Termini at a quiet little poetry reading in my neighborhood. Within five minutes of knowing her, I could tell she was that latter type of creative person. Before the end of the night, I’d heard about her poetry and her collection of memoirs, and I left the reading with one of her CDs (on which she sings songs in both Italian and Spanish). And as it turns out, she’s also trained artist. Here’s a sampling of her poetry that hints at the stories she’s got to tell from her worldly adventures.   * * *   Star Struck When I was seven, I would shake out…

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December 1, 2015

“Carmichael” by Lloyd Prentice

“Carmichael” by Lloyd Prentice

Editor’s Note: I met Lloyd Prentice at a publishing conference earlier this year. For a room full of writers, there was little talking going on. Lloyd and I struck up a conversation about, what else, writing. He mentioned that he belonged to an informal writing group that would get together and write on the fly. A character he’d created without much personal fanfare one day in the group turned out to be a crowd favorite. That character’s name was Carmichael. I made a mental note. We exchanged business cards. Lloyd and I connected via email shortly after the conference and I read over some of his work. When I came across this chapter from his novel, The Gospel of Ashes, I knew we had to have it up on the Fictional Café. As far as…

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November 30, 2015

Winter’s First Breath: December Submissions

Winter’s First Breath: December Submissions

If summer seems far away already to you, you’re not alone. Much of the country has donned its winter coats and woolen sweaters, like the gals in our cover photo, a floating art installment by Hilary Zelson called “Who Wears Wool,” a tribute to the wool industry of yesteryear in Fort Point, Boston. The sculpture eerily reminds me of a Trojan Horse – a wolf in sheep’s clothing or in this case perhaps a shark in sheep’s clothing – floating toward an unsuspecting city. Speaking of sharks and sheep, consumers this holiday season may be interested in this new invention to prepare for the winter ahead. But I digress… Here are our December Submissions to celebrate the solstice. This month’s fiction comes from Lloyd Prentice, a novelist whose gritty crime fiction caught our attention in…

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November 28, 2015

Interview with Artist Erica Nazzaro

Interview with Artist Erica Nazzaro

Editor’s Note: Earlier this month, I caught up with Erica Nazzaro – our featured artist this month – to talk about her art and the business of being an artist. For those of you following along with our blogs and on social media, you’ll notice a theme this month. We are highlighting the challenges and triumphs of the modern day creative person. Not only must they be exceptional at their trade, but they must also be a savvy business person. When Jack and I met Erica Nazzaro at an art show earlier this year, we were instantly struck by her personality. She was excited to talk with us, forthcoming with information when we asked her questions and followed up with us after taking our business cards. She also asked us to join her mailing list, which…

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November 23, 2015

UFORGE Gallery “Abstracted” Opening

UFORGE Gallery “Abstracted” Opening

I step into the din that is opening night of “Abstracted” at UFORGE Gallery, and am instantly struck by the energy of the small space on Centre St. in the artsy Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. The brightly lit white walls scream hospital sterile, yet the patrons paint the room vibrantly colorful. This is not the pearl-adorned SoWa crowd of those warm, careless summer days. No, the crowd here is salt-of-the-earth artists and art admirers, chatting away about process and inspiration as much as about personal interests and weekend plans. The sheer volume of artwork strikes me. Thirty artists are featured in this exhibit with one to three pieces each, making the walls close in a little and the people stand nearly shoulder to shoulder throughout the room. As I make my first pass through,…

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