Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

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Cast of Wonders 329: Widow Bones Makes Her Rounds

Widow Bones Makes Her Rounds

by Gretchen Tessmer

“Brom Bones too, who shortly after his rival’s disappearance conducted the blooming Katrina to the altar, was observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin, which led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell.”

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,
by Washington Irving


With everything that happened, I don’t know that I would describe myself as blooming. Willing, I suppose, and certainly compliant. But a flower doesn’t need to bloom to be plucked. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 277: Little Wonders 15 – Monster Mayhem!

Show Notes

The Little Wonders theme “Neversus” is by Alexye Nov, available from Promo DJ or his Facebook page.

Brothers in Stitches

by Dantzel Cherry

I’m sorry to say Master lay charred and inert on the laboratory floor for a good quarter hour before I noticed he was dead. I regret pulling the wrong lever, resulting in an overflow of electricity from the storm, the brunt of which Master received, resulting in his death and a ruined experiment. I’m even sorrier to admit I then ate all his internal organs before I remembered to offer any to Harry the moaning subject chained to the metal chair in the middle of the room or to the rest of my brothers-in-stitches in the downstairs dungeon.

(Continue Reading…)

Episode 217: Boys’ Night by Rebecca Birch

• Narrated by Dave Thompson
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• A Cast of Wonders original!
• Discuss this story on our forum
• For a list of all our stories, authors and narrators, visit our Wikia page
• Come visit us on Facebook and Twitter

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

rebecca-birchRebecca Birch is a science fiction and fantasy writer based in Seattle, Washington. She’s a classically trained soprano, holds a deputy black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and enjoys spending time in the company of trees. Her fiction has appeared in markets including Nature, Cricket, and Flash Fiction Online. She is also a two-time finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. Check our her website, Words of Birch, or Twitter.




dave-thompsonDave Thompson is a teacher who lives in Southern California with his wife, three children, and eight chickens. He is an author, narrator, and sometimes Escape Artist who keeps getting pulled back in for one last job. (Actually, he always hopes it’s never the last job.) He’s lost NaNoWriMo twice and is the former editor of PodCastle. He doesn’t like to talk about himself in the third person, but he finds he is totally okay writing about himself in that way. Check out his website, follow him on Facebook or Twitter.



Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at

Read along with the text of the story.

Episode 178: Home Isn’t by Kelly Sandoval

Narrated by Katherine Inskip
Audio production by Jeremy Carter
Originally published in Flash Fiction Online.

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Halloween is here and what better time for a scary story. And much like the sweets and chocolates soon to grace the pumpkin buckets and pillow cases of eager trick o treaters, we have a fun-size story for you this week. We’ll leave it to you to decide if you want to check it first for pins and needles.

Kelly SandovalKelly Sandoval is a speculative fiction author, Seattleite, and Clarion West graduate. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Asimov’s, Shimmer, and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015. She’s currently writing Unveiled, a novel about the aftermath of the faerie apocalypse. You can find her online and on Twitter.

The story is narrated for you by our own Katherine Inskip. Katherine teaches astrophysics for a living and spends her spare time populating the universe with worlds of her own, which you can read at her blog, Trisigmatic. She’s on Twitter as well.

Hungry for more horror flash fiction? Then head to the Pseudopod forums where this very moment yours could be the deciding vote in the “two stories enter, one story leaves” ritual that is the flash fiction contest. The three winners will be purchased and run in a special Flash on the Borderlands. For those who comment on the stories, Pseudopod will randomly select a few lucky winners to receive copies of the excellent Women Destroy Horror by Nightmare Magazine. Horror stories and the chance of even MORE horror stories and commentary by participating in a thriving horror fiction community? The only thing more sure is that somehow, some way, your trick or treat candy will contain at least one of those strange honey nougat things…

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at

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Episode 143: Dagon by H. P. Lovecraft

Narrated by Alasdair Stuart

Listen above or download here.


Show Notes

For horror fans, the initials HPL bring an instant chill to the spine. The man’s work hardly needs introduction. His Cthulhu mythos and its denizens have appeared in and influenced the entire artistic spectrum, from film and television, to poetry, dramatic productions, plush toys and even an excellent series of tiki mugs. An argument could be made that Lovecraft is to the macabre and strange what Shelley is to epistolary horror and Shakespeare is to modern romantic comedy.

The man himself, well, that’s more complicated. It would be easy to dismiss Lovecraft’s neuroses and prejudices as products of his time, but that’s an argument that, if you’ll pardon the pun, doesn’t hold water. It’s difficult to find something new to say about a man whos short life has been subject to as much study as his work, so instead I’ll direct you to my favorite source for all things HPL – the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society. And while you’re there, check out their EXCELLENT radio dramas.

Dagon was once of Lovecraft’s first short stories and was published in 1919 in The Vagrant.

And who more fitting for the narration of a classic tale of apocalyptic horror, than Pseudopod’s own keeper of the dark tower Alasdair Stuart. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a freelance culture journalist, comic book aficionado, amateur food blogger, and author in his own right. And he makes the best evening pick-me-up cup of tea this side of R’yleah. He’s most frequently found on Twitter or his website.

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at

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Episode 142: Marrow by Mav Skye

Narrated by Barry J. Northern

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

This week’s installment in our annual horror story collection is Marrow by Mav Skye. Mav believes scarecrows have souls. They are rebels on poles, waiting their time to rise up as one and take over the world. In her spare time, Mav writes scary tales up in the attic of her hundred year old home. The stories are usually for adults, because adults like to be scared too! But this tale isn’t written for adults. This one is just for you, dear listener, and especially for Thor, Moses and Helena. Mav is the author of Supergirls, The Undistilled Sky, and a forthcoming horror novel, Wanted: Single Rose. You can find her online at her website, or on Twitter.

The story is read for you, at special request from Mav, by our very own artist and producer Barry J. Northern.

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at

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Episode 141: Reading Time and A House in the Forest

Authors: Beth Cato and Shawn Bailey
Narrators: Dave Thompson and Lizzie

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

This week we bring you another pair of stories about endings, starting with Reading Time by Beth Cato. Beth is the author of The Clockwork Dagger, a steampunk fantasy novel just released from Harper Voyager. Her short fiction can be found in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, and EscapePod ran her excellent Red Dust and Dancing Horses last week. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Her website is, and from there you can find links to her presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

The story is read for you by one of the cornerstones of fiction podcasting, the Easter Werewolf himself Dave Thompson, the host and co-editor of PodCastle. He’s narrated stories there, as well as EscapePod, Drabblecast, and here at Cast of Wonders. He’s also narrated Tim Pratt’s novel Briarpatch and Greg van Eekhout’s Norse Code, on sale at Audible. His stories have been published at EscapePod, Pseudopod, Drabblecast, and other cool places. He lives in Southern California with his lovely wife and three children, one of which I’m secretly convinced is Dave’s experiment in cloning technology.

Our final story this episode is A House in the Forest by Shawn Bailey. He sent me a pair of biographies to work from, for as he says like Hannibal, he’s incapable of turning that gaze inward. Shawn longs to change the world, but doesn’t want to interact with it in any way. He is also the leading spokesman behind a campaign against advertising, which he cannot seem to get off the ground. Shawn keeps a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg underneath his pillow to ward off the evil entities known as the hunger spirits. He is nomadic for eight months out of the year, and lives in the attics of unsuspecting home owners. The other four months, he is feral. His Novella Sorry Charlie is available on Amazon, and he’s working on a trilogy, the first volume of which is called The Village. You can check in on him at his website.

The story is narrated for you by Lizzie. She works in data visualisation, and her work hours are consumed with thinking about data, how it fits together and how to visualise it in a simple manner for others. To escape this she is a keen gamer, writer and reader vanishing off into fantasy worlds for hours at a time. She currently lives with her husband and dreams of a time when they might have space to own a cat or a dog.

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at

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Reading Time

A House in the Forest

Episode 140: Of Pumpkin Soup and Other Demons and The Ghost of Grammy Goneril

Authors: Natalia Theodoridou and Austin H. Gilkeson
Narrators: Katherine Inskip and Christiana Ellis

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

It’s October, everyone. That means it’s time for our annual Halloween special. This year we’ve gone for a theme, presenting a collection of horror stories about endings, both figurative and literal. The dead and the undying. Spirits sea monsters. Apocalypses writ both large and small. Welcome to The End of the World.

We’ll start things off on the lighter side with two flash offerings. How about a nice warm bowl of soup to fortify yourself for the days ahead, with Of Pumpkin Soup and Other Demons, by Natalia Theodoridou. Natalia is a media and cultural studies scholar currently based in Portsmouth, UK. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Crossed Genres, and elsewhere. She is a Rhysling award nominee. She’s also a first reader for Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi, and next month the Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women will include her story The Eleven Holy Numbers of the Mechanical Soul. You can find her online as well as Twitter.

Pumpkin Soup is narrated for you by Katherine Inskip, another of my new friends from LonCon. Katherine weighs galaxies for a living, and builds worlds in her spare time. She is addicted to chocolate and Japanese logic puzzles. She’s not entirely new to podcasting and narrating fiction, but doesn’t have any projects to share. Yet…

The Ghost of Grammy Goneril is written by Austin H. Gilkeson. Austin is a Japanese government bureaucrat by day and a writer by night (and sometimes by lunch). His stories have appeared in Underneath the Juniper Tree and Spellbound. This story was originally published in the Halloween 2013 edition of Underneath the Juniper Tree. It was inspired by the Japanese Obon festival, and his memories of eating disgusting candy given to him by his otherwise loving grandparents. He is currently revising a novel-in-stories about the story’s main character, the wicked witch Mab Ipswich, and hopes to submit it soon. He lives in Chicago with his wife and son. You can find him on his blog and on Twitter as @osutein.

Your narrator is the wonderful Christiana Ellis, our own Nurse Withers from Camp Myth. Christiana is a writer and podcaster living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her comedic science fiction audiodrama, Space Casey, recently completed its second season, and her novel Nina Kimberly the Merciless is available in print, ebook, and as a free podcast audiobook. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+, and find everything she does at her website.

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at

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Of Pumpkin Soup and Other Demons

The Ghosts of Grammy Goneril

Episode 102: The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

Narrated by Ian Stuart

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

Today we present Edgar Allan Poe’s classic, The Tell-Tale Heart. Edgar Allan Poe needs little introduction. He was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre. Born in January 1809, he was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story. His works influenced literature around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography.

Though best remembered for horror, Poe also wrote satires, humor tales, and hoaxes. For comic effect, he used irony and ludicrous extravagance, often in an attempt to liberate the reader from cultural conformity. Poe also dabbled in science fiction, responding in his writing to emerging technologies such as hot air balloons in The Balloon-Hoax.

He died at age 40 in October 1849. The cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, amongst other things.

Your narrator for this iconic story is the fabulous Ian Stuart. Ian is a writer-performer living and working in York in the UK. In the past he has worked for BBC local radio in Manchester, the Isle of Man and York. As well as providing voice tracks for hotels, businesses and foreign language courses, he is a tourist guide for The Ghost Trail of York. He is has been a resident voice artist for Pseudopod for some years. You can read more about his poetry and his dog, Digby, on his blog, The Top Banana, or follow him on Twitter.

Theme music is “Appeal To Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at

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Click here to read the text of the story

Episode 99: Little Wonders 3 – Scary Stories

Authors: Beth Hull, Ian Rose, and J. A. Ironside
Narrators: Alasdair Stuart, Barry J. Northern, and Ian Stuart

Listen above or download here.

Show Notes

You’re listening to Little Wonders, our collection episodes featuring flash fiction and poetry centered around a theme. And since it’s Halloween, that means it’s time for scaaaaaary stories!

Our first story is Come To Me, by Beth Hull. Beth lives in Northern California with her artist/scientist husband, their two children, and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. Beth writes young adult novels and the occasional short story. To learn more about Beth, her work, and the things that annoy her (windy days, ticking clocks), and scare her (black widow spiders lurking in the mailbox), you can visit her website or find her on Twitter.

Come to Me is narrated for you by podcasting’s Dark Overlord, Alasdair Stuart. Alasdair is the host of Pseudopod, the weekly horror fiction podcast by Escape Artists. He also co-hosts Escape Pod, their weekly science fiction show. He blogs about lots of things for lots of people, including himself, his website. You can listen to him talk about cooking things, reading things, watching things or training in things like martial arts and baking on Twitter.

When most people thing of young adult fiction, they think of fantasy with a heavy sprinkling of science fiction. Horror doesn’t seem to be a popular genre, and I can understand why: thinking about younger people in frightening or dangerous situations isn’t very comforting. When you think of Harry Potter, you probably think of the fun times Harry, Ron and Herminoe have, and you glaze over the very real danger they were in.

But growing up can be scary, with or without the presence of the supernatural. And unlike a book, you can’t put your life down and come back to it later. Learning how to deal with an ugly reality is an important skill.

Which brings us to our second story, Piper by Ian Rose. Ian is a web developer and former field biologist living in Portland, Oregon. He loves oceans and mountains and rain, and is very pleased to have found a place that offers him all of these, though he does have to visit his native east coast every year to fill up on bagels, pizza, and other bread products that Oregon just can’t seem to get quite right. He blogs here and can be found on Twitter. Ian also has a story about to be published by New Myths.

Your narrator is our very own Barry J. Northern. Barry is a game developer based in Bournemouth, England making freemium games for clients such LEGO and the BBC. His latest game is breaking all records on iOS, not surprising with a title like “LEGO Star Wars Yoda Chronicles”. It’s for younger kids, but if you fancy blasting alien brains check out LEGO Hero Factory Brain Attack. All this game developing has meant Barry hasn’t been as active in the podcasting and fiction world as he used to be, but he still works behind the scenes at Cast of Wonders. He also guest narrates on occasion at The Drabblecast and StarShip Sofa.

Ian told us the inspiration for Piper was, that in of all the fables and fairy tales I was read as a child, the pied piper was the only one that ever really scared him. Not only the power that the Piper, over both the rats and the children, but the willingness to use it was terrifying. He was a sort of avatar for all the threats and dangers in the world that Ian didn’t yet understand but still knew to be afraid of.

And speaking of things you should be afraid of, how about cowled figures rowing tiny boats on dark rivers late at night? Should you ever find yourself in need of such, maybe you shouldn’t pick the one with the skeletal face…

For our final scary short, we bring you The Boatman by JA Ironside. Jules Anne Ironside started writing as a child. She grew up in Dorset in a house full of books, fed on a diet of myths, legends and spooky tales. She particularly likes to take well known myths and turn them on their heads. Jules is a keen martial artist having taught karate for fifteen years now. In her free time she likes to read and add to her collection of dead or little use languages. She has had several other short stories published in the anthologies Reading is Magic and Stories for Homes both available from Amazon. Her next published story will appear in the A Chimerical world; Unseelie anthology. You can follow her on Twitter.

To complete our trio of narrators, The Boatman is read for you by the very talented Ian Stuart. Ian Stuart is a writer, poet and performer living and working in York. In the past he has worked for BBC local radio in Manchester and the Isle of Man, where he taught English. As well as providing voice tracks for hotels, businesses and foreign language courses, he is a tourist guide for The Ghost Trail of York. (I’ve been on his tour, you don’t want to miss it!) And Ian has been a resident voice artist for Pseudopod for some years. You can read more about his poetry and his dog, Digby, on his blog, The Top Banana, or follow him on Twitter.

The Little Wonders theme, “Neversus” is by Alexye Nov, available at

Read Along

Come With Me: Click here to read the text of the story

Piper: Click here to read the text of the story

The Boatman: Click here to read the text of the story