Posts Tagged ‘romance’

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Cast of Wonders 365: Blame it on the Bees


Blame it on the Bees

by Rachel Menard

I can’t find it. Digging through my drawer, shoving aside patchy band shirts and pilled hoodies, I feel for the soft fabric of one, very important Sex Pistols tank top. My fingers hit the base of the drawer. No shirt.

Maybe it’s in my bed.

For the first few weeks, I slept with it wrapped around my pillow, cheek pressed to the chipping paint on the logo. That was when it still smelled like Haley, like strawberries and her baby powder deodorant. When I closed my eyes, I could see her in it, the way the soft cotton hugged her body. She’d left it here because we’d gotten caught in the rain on the way home from the skate park. I’d slid it off her wet skin, around her draping curls of strawberry blonde hair, and kissed the lingering rain drops on her shoulders. She tasted like salt and cool rain.

A pain hits me in the gut. I need that shirt. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 342: Staff Picks 2018 – An American Refugee

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders highlights some of our favorite episodes from the previous year. It’s a great chance for us to take a bit of a breather, and let you, our listeners, catch up on any missed back episodes with new commentary from a different member of the crew.

Today’s episode is hosted by associate editor Emma Smailes.


An American Refugee

by Tiah Marie Beautement

I first spot the surfer as I run down the path that cuts below the lighthouse. I can’t believe it. The Point is full of holiday campers, so motors are banned on the water until eight a.m. and it is only six-thirty. I run down the steps; reaching the bottom of the peninsula, I find that the few souls that are awake are calm and content. Strange. But when I reach the part of the path that curves at the base of Inner Pool I realize why.

No sound. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 295: Artemis Rising 4 – An American Refugee

Show Notes

Cast of Wonders is proud to present the fourth annual Artemis Rising event through March 2018! We have four original stories for you this year, guest-edited by assistant editor Katherine Inskip and associate editor Alexis Goble. This year’s artwork by Geneva Barton.

Artemis Rising is an annual month-long event across all four Escape Artists podcasts, celebrating the voices of women, non-binary, trans, and marginalized gendered authors in genre fiction. The resulting lineup is an incredible collection that celebrates the strength, ingenuity, and brilliance of the artists, the characters they create, and the performers that bring these stories to life. It also features the hosting, editing and production talents of a rotating cast. Part of the project’s mission is to give opportunities and experience in these publication roles traditionally held by men.

Don’t miss the full month of Artemis Rising stories across the Escape Artists podcasts!


An American Refugee

by Tiah Marie Beautement

I first spot the surfer as I run down the path that cuts below the lighthouse. I can’t believe it. The Point is full of holiday campers, so motors are banned on the water until eight a.m. and it is only six-thirty. I run down the steps; reaching the bottom of the peninsula, I find that the few souls that are awake are calm and content. Strange. But when I reach the part of the path that curves at the base of Inner Pool I realize why.

No sound. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 291: If Only Kissing Made it So

Show Notes

PodCastle wants you to nominate your favs! We’re asking fans and frequent listeners of the podcast to nominate up to five of your favorite-ever PodCastle episodes. These nominations will be used to create a “Best of PodCastle” ballot so everyone can vote for their favorites in the final round, starting on February 14th. The top five PodCastle episodes, as voted by fans, will be featured in a special later this year!

Nominations will close at 11:59 p.m. PST on February 13. What are you waiting for? Get nominating!


The Hugo Awards have these things they call nominations tallys but they are commonly referred to as The Long Lists. These include the top fifteen nominees, and show who just missed making the finals. For example, Escape Pod, PodCastle, and Mothership Zeta all made the long list last year for Semiprozine.

One of the great values of these long lists is that it allows readers even more excellent works to add to their “to read” pile. David Steffen has worked to make mining those lists significantly more convenient for you. For the third year in a row, David has published a volume of The Long List Anthology. In this most recent version are included works from names familiar to fans of Escape Artists. Lavie Tidhar, Ursula Vernon, Caroline M. Yoachim, and Ken Liu, among a host of amazing others.

Want to know what sort of story makes it to this anthology? Go listen to episode 607 of Escape Pod and catch Red in Tooth and Cog by Cat Rambo. Been procrastinating picking up Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw or Run Time by Escape Pod’s S.B. Divya? This anthology will assuage your guilt. You can find The Long List Anthology Volume 3 at all the usual purveyors of books. If you’re already the proud owner of this book, become a subscribing supporter of Diabolical Plots which is also edited by David Steffen. Subscribing there puts you in line early for not only the ebooks of the original stories published in Diabolical Plots, but also gets you in line early for The Long List Anthology Volume 4. Go support this fantastically creative human being.


If Only Kissing Made It So

by Jason Kimble

This afternoon, the boy I’ve had a crush on for years told me two things: he loves me, and he’s a time traveler. I’m not sure if I feel crazier believing the first or the second.


If I’d known Lucas Medina had rung the doorbell, I would have thrown on a good shirt. At the very least, I would have dumped my snack in the garbage. Instead, I opened the door wearing a stained Atari T and sucking on a bright green ring pop, and instantly wanted a do over. (Continue Reading…)

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Episode 209: A Real Stand-Up Guy by Daniel and Mary E. Lowd


A Real Stand-Up Guy

by Daniel and Mary E. Lowd

 

Topher checked his watch and peeked out around the dusky red stage curtain.  There was a full house in the bar tonight. If he played them right he could get all the tips he needed, and tonight could be the greatest night of his life.  He put a paw to his face, pulled down on his tawny-furred jowls, and drew a deep breath. “Okay,” he said, softly to himself. “Let’s go.”

The spotlight hit Topher before he reached the mike, but he was used to that bright glare in his eyes.  He straightened his jacket and stared the audience down before he began, giving them his best tough guy look.  He had the mug for it, if not the build. “I don’t get no respect,” Topher barked at the audience. “It’s because I’m short.  Curse of my breed, you know?”

(Continue Reading…)

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Episode 195: Staff Pick 2015 – The Tale of the White Tiger by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

Show Notes

Every year in January, Cast of Wonders takes the month off to recharge our batteries, plan the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes. As part of joining the Escape Artists family, this year we’re pulling out all the stops. We’re running 10 staff pick episodes over the month, each one hosted by a different member of the Cast of Wonders crew.

We hope you enjoy editor and host Marguerite Kenner’s favorite story from 2015, The Tale of the White Tiger by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt and narrated by Tracey Yuen. The story originally aired July 5, 2015 as Episode 168.


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


The Tale of the White Tiger

by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

 

Blind Li Xiao surveyed the marketplace. The sensor net embedded in his storyteller’s robes fed signals directly to his brain. The citizenship transponders exactly matched the number of heat signatures. A world firmly loyal to the Empire, then. Or one too afraid to act otherwise.

A passive scan showed at least two peacekeepers in the market. Probably more secret police. He would have to be careful in his story selection. Something from one of the official chronicles. Something he could use for his own purposes.

He beat his staff on the ground three times. The bells at the head chimed out their message. Be still and hearken. Blind Li Xiao is about to begin his tale. He chanted the introductory poem in his clear, high voice:

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 168: The Tale of the White Tiger by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt


The Tale of the White Tiger

by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

Blind Li Xiao surveyed the marketplace. The sensor net embedded in his storyteller’s robes fed signals directly to his brain. The citizenship transponders exactly matched the number of heat signatures. A world firmly loyal to the Empire, then. Or one too afraid to act otherwise.

A passive scan showed at least two peacekeepers in the market. Probably more secret police. He would have to be careful in his story selection. Something from one of the official chronicles. Something he could use for his own purposes.

He beat his staff on the ground three times. The bells at the head chimed out their message. Be still and hearken. Blind Li Xiao is about to begin his tale. He chanted the introductory poem in his clear, high voice:

“When wicked ministers subvert the good,

“The Systems lose the beautiful and true.

“On Heaven’s River vast, White Tiger sails,

“Her course set by the pirate Madam Hu.”

An audience gathered in front of Blind Li Xiao. Children pressed close, their grandparents behind them. The young women and men stood at the edge, feigning disinterest or fearing entrapment. Blind Li Xiao swept the head of his staff in a broad arc as he spoke.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 165: Into The Forever Place by Luke Thomas

Show Notes

Our story this week is a special re-broadcast of Into the Forever Place by Luke Thomas. This story originally ran in July of last year, but the recording suffered from a technical failure that meant we took it down almost as soon as it went up, so we’ve decided to re-release it for your listening pleasure.


Into the Forever Place

by Luke Thomas

I fasten the last braid about Jad’s shoulder and step back. My belly flutters as I look him over, which isn’t normal. Jad’s my best friend. I’m never more comfortable with anyone than with him. Today, though, he is to be venerated, and he looks the part. I knew the dyes used for this sash were precious, but only now do I understand what that means.

We both examine his reflection in the slab of mirrored glass leaning against the wall. The mirror’s old tain yellows everything—the wood and mortar walls, my pale skin and Jad’s dark—it’s all yellowed except the braids of the sash. They wind around Jad’s lanky torso in blues and greens more vivid than life. I know a veneration ceremony is about the clan, not about Jad, but we can both see he looks splendid. His chest swells. I can’t help but laugh. “Jad…you’re preening.”

He blinks, realizes how puffed up he is, and laughs. This doesn’t last long though; Jad recovers himself more quickly than I can manage. He’s a trained storykeeper, after all, and can isolate the rhythm of his breathing and trim the laughter right out of it. I’ve no such control.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 157: The Seal King (Part 2) by Jennifer Noelle Welch


The Seal King (Part 2)

by Jennifer Noelle Welch

Rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle…

Lou’s forehead hurts where it rests, mashed against the keel, and tracing the source of the sound, her brain awakens with a pinch. The coat is wrapped around her shoulders, and somewhere a steel cleat is vibrating. Raising her head, she remembers. The skiff, the size of a tiny teacup, spinning lazily towards the horizon. Are those really the first stars? had been her last thought, before her eyes swam and the darkness swallowed all.

In the stern, the seal king hugs his curled legs, shuddering uncontrollably, his eyes locked on her face.

“You did it,” she whispers. “How did you…”

Forming the words, he seizes, his voice fluttering into her head instead. S-swam. I had t-trouble pulling you back in. I’m s-sorry. He nods at her side, and Lou finds a bleeding scrape above her hip.

(Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 156: The Seal King (Part 1) by Jennifer Noelle Welch


The Seal King (Part 1)

by Jennifer Noelle Welch

The girl with apricot-colored hair sits on a dock the color of driftwood, her back against a stone wall retaining the land against the push and pull of the sea. Buoys bob and clang. On this small peninsula on the shoulder of the Atlantic, close-set fishermen’s cottages cluster together for comfort. When the wind rakes the swells into whitecaps, yellow foul-weather waders lift on the clotheslines.

It is early September, and the saline haze of summer still hangs ripe and full over the harbor. Louellen, or Lou, as she is called, pulls the frayed cuffs of her father’s coat farther over her hands and presses her spine against the afternoon of too-busy family and heckling high-school classmates. The splashing kids have cleared the dock platform and small swimming beach for another season, leaving her mind to dance with everything and nothing.

(Continue Reading…)