Your Baristas

Jason Brick

Jason is the Editorial Consultant to the Anthology Barista at the Fictional Café, helping select and publish works that have appeared in our virtual ‘zine in print book form. A professional writer, martial artist, travel addict, and dad whose work has been published across multiple genres and formats, he was co-editor on two previous anthologies, Baby Shoes and Flash!, each of which featured 100 original flash-fiction short stories written by 100 different authors. He lives in Oregon and is spending a sabbatical year in Greece with his family. We look forward to seeing some interesting dispatches from him.

Ruby Fink

Ruby Fink was born in California, the eldest of three. She has been the Audio Arts Barista for Fictional Cafe for a number of years now and loves interacting with the audio community. Her favorite activity as a barista is finding new audio productions to share with listeners. She is author of the award-winning book series, Mickie McKinney:Boy Detective,  and is currently finishing up the newest installment of the Mickie McKinney series as well as Chipsa, her first YA Romance. Ruby has also ghostwritten over a dozen books over the last two years, and is not planning to stop writing any time soon – unless she runs out of caffeine.

Derrick R. Lafayette

Derrick R. Lafayette has written four novels and over a dozen short stories, published in print and online. He was The Fictional Café’s 2021-2022 Writer-in-Residence. When he’s not working as an IT engineer or studying chess gambits on the astral plane, he’s reading or writing profusely. You can find more of his work on Amazon.

Melanie Marston

Melanie Marston is our Website Manager Barista, and has been almost since FC’s inception. But she is also a graphic artist and designer as well, and has applied that talent to designing this site and others with great success. She’s always willing to help us solve problems and keeps this big ol’ site running smoothly all the time. You’ll find more about Mel and her skills and talents at Marston Creative.

Caitlin M. Park

Caitlin is the co-founder of the Fictional Café. She is a graduate of California State University at Sonoma, where she majored in English and has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing in progress. When she isn’t working on her novel, she’s taking care of her toddler son, Damian. She says Dalton Trumbo, Margaret Atwood, and Paolo Bacigalupi are among her favorite authors.

Caitlin and Jack co-founded the Fictional Café April 15, 2013. It launched a month later.

Mike Mavilia Rochester

Mike is the Managing Editor, Operations, Marketing Barista and Editor of the Fictional Café Anthology. He is also a Vice President of the Independent Publishers of New England ( In his work as a freelance writer, he provides ghostwriting, editing, publishing and web design services for both fiction and nonfiction authors as well as businesses, helping them create a unique and marketable brand. Mike also serves on the board of directors for Independent Publishers of New England.

He also brings his management and networking skills from his many years of working in the nonprofit sector to the many tasks of coordinating FC’s online presence and social media.

Mike graduated from Bowdoin College and when he’s not buried in a book, he’s writing fiction, playing his guitar, or traveling. Contact him at or check out his Linktree.

Yong Takahashi

ong Takahashi is now Co-Managing Editor, with Malik White. She’s been our Poetry Barista for several years and is a prolific author of poetry and fiction as well. She was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest, The Writers’ Mastermind Short Story Contest, and The Sexton Prize for Poetry. Yong’s YA dystopian novel, Camp Detroit, will be published in 2025. She is currently working on a fantasy trilogy.

She’s equally adept at organizational and staffing tasks, so we’ve promoted her to Co-Management Barista, where she will work closely with Mike to oversee the many aspects of our coffee shop. See her books, stories, and merchandise at

Vera West

era West is our Poetry Barista. She’s been our Poetry Writer-in-Residence for the past two years and fell in love with Fictional Café, especially while working on the National Poetry Month 2023 submissions, and asked to remain involved. So, since Yong was leaving the Poetry Barista post to assume her new position as Co-Managing Editor, the Poetry Barista position was open and as of January 1, 2024, it becomes Vera’s!

Malik White

Malik White is Co-Managing Editor, with Yong Takahashi.  He began as our Submissions Barista and we’re very happy to promote him. It’s likely the most important position on our staff, and Malik took to it like a duck to water. In addition, he’s lent keen insights to our editorial evaluation process, and in several instances has shared his writing acumen with individual authors to help them get their work up to FC standards. Malik recently graduated from Full Sail University with a BFA in Creative Writing. Congratulations and a great big welcome, Malik!

Malik takes over for Victoria Orifice, so she can devote herself to her senior year’s studies at Emerson College. We hope to see her and her writing next year.

Jack B. Rochester

Jack is the Founding Barista and Editor-in-Chief at the Fictional Café. His career in publishing began as a book acquisitions editor; he published over 65 authors. His writing career was launched with the publication of the bestselling The Naked Computer, which he co-authored with John Gantz. A dozen books and twenty years later, he and John co-authored another hit book, Pirates of the Digital Millennium.

With 15 nonfiction books to his credit, Jack began his fiction-writing career in 2011 with Wild Blue Yonder, the first Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers novel, followed by Madrone and Anarchy. His most recent novel is Bridge Across the Ocean ( The fourth Nate Flowers novel, Thick of It, is underway.

Jack took his Master’s degree from Sonoma State College (now California State University at Sonoma). Of all the jobs he’s held in publishing over the years, he says working at the Fictional Café is the most gratifying. Contact him at or on LinkedIn.