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Ten Years of Wonder – III


Continuing on from the previous post, here are our spotlight stories from the last five years of Cast of Wonders!

Year 6

Our back catalogue story for year 6 is one of my all time favourites, Mr Quacky in Space by Amanda Helms, narrated by Katherine Inskip. A sinister, demonic alien force possesses a mechanical… duck? In a space station amusement park? This story was a sheer delight to narrate, and it’s one I come back to time and time again.

Our editor’s pick is Blood and Water by Jason Kimble, narrated by Paul Cram. This is a gorgeous, gorgeous teen romance. Bring tissues for this one – it’s an absolute masterclass in grabbing the reader by “the feels”.

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Ten Years of Wonder – II


Over the last few days, our twitter account has been highlighting some of our favourite stories from the last ten years. If you’ve not read/listened back that far, they’re all well worth your time!

Year 1

Cast of Wonders’ very first story is A Suitable Pet , by Abigail Hilton, narrated by Summer Brooks. This tale of princesses, knights, and dragons is really all about cages. Some are more comfortable than others, but all kinds hold us back from our potential.

For each year, we’re also highlighting an editor’s choice story. From year one, To Be True (part 1) (part 2), by Jess Hyslop, narrated by Graeme Dunlop. Karima, the young protagonist of this story, learns some hard truths about her world but finds the courage inside herself to take a stand against corruption and dishonour.

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Open to Submissions – Young Authors!


Each summer, we have a special submissions window for young authors. If you are aged 19 or under, this submissions call is for you!

Our usual submissions guidelines still apply – please ensure your manuscript is fully anonymised, and that the content of the story is appropriate for Cast of Wonders. It’s easier on our readers if your story is in a standard manuscript format, but this is not essential. We love to receive stories that are meaningful to you. Write us something fun, magical, inspiring, terrifying, novel, exciting… whatever form of wonder speaks to you!

Don’t self reject! Our readers are waiting!

The stage doors will be open from July 18th through to August 18th.

 

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Ten Years of Wonder


Ten Years of Wonder: what wonder means to us.

Cast of Wonders is a pro-paying, SFWA qualifying market and part of the Escape Artists family of podcasts, but beyond that we are principally a Young Adult speculative fiction market. Generally speaking, we aim to produce stories that a 12-year-old reader would have no trouble following, but that a 17-year-old wouldn’t find childish. We hope adult readers would enjoy our stories, too.

Being a Young Adult, speculative fiction podcast means we want to receive stories that include the hallmarks of Young Adult fiction. One of the chief characteristics of the YA genre is that its stories generally contain a sense of “wonder”. It’s no coincidence that “Wonder” is in the title of our podcast. (Continue Reading…)

Banned Books Week 2021


Banned Books Week 2021

Books Unite Us; Censorship Divides Us

This year, CoW takes its theme for Banned Books Week from the American Library Association:

 https://bannedbooksweek.org/banned-books-week-2021-books-unite-us/

Have you ever made friends with someone who loved the same book you did? You started the conversation as strangers, but you feel so passionately about the ideas expressed in this book that you end as comrades in arms?

It’s a book that speaks to shared experience, shared pain—and therefore lights the way to shared learning, shared hope, and shared healing. Perhaps it’s powerful enough to make former enemies into allies, and you would defy an empire to protect this book.

It could be a history that’s been silenced, a book that propounds an outlawed ideal. It’s a book you teach your own children or anyone else you love, and they love it because you loved it.

It’s so dangerous a text that intergalactic armadas are launched to destroy it, or at least keep the book from spreading its readership, and mages would craft elaborate castles to safeguard.

Send us your stories of books that unite the geekiest con-goer, the most curmudgeonly asteroid-pirate, the steampunk bot that’s been asleep for a hundred years. Send us your stories of books that swordmasters would talk over with dragons. Send us tales of books that turn the unlikeliest beings into friends in speculative worlds. Send us tales of books that transcend time and space to gather the disparate into families.

We’re not quite looking for books as “macguffin” stories, but a demonstration into how a book could forge bonds with others. Therefore, the book should feature prominently in the story rather than be a prop, and we love yarns that hit us in the feels. A tale that makes us ugly cry while meaningfully addressing this theme of uniting is very likely to get accepted.

As an example, consider the Saga comic, how a novel featuring a wreather and a landfallian getting along peacefully inspires Alana and Marko to fall in love. Or if a lowly treach-bat teaches an eldritch terror how to read… would that not inspire a friendship? We would love to see how you, author, interpret this theme!

We do see how the dual nature of the theme “unite” and “divide” could be hard to do in one story. Feel free to focus on one of these two aspects.

Our sweet spot this sub window is under 5,000 words, with the absolute limit being 6,000 words.

Submissions will be accepted from June 13th to June 26th, through our Moksha portal.

We anticipate making final decisions on stories by the end of July.


If you’re still looking to submit, we are looking for HOLIDAY STORIES! Submissions for Holiday themed stories will open on June 27, 2021 and will close on July 3, 2021 (Do Not Send Holiday Stories During Banned Books Week Submissions!!!).

We already have our Halloween story picked out and can’t wait to show it to you!

But we are looking for

ONE WINTER STORY

And

ONE VALENTINE’S STORY

With respect to both these BBW and Holiday Stories calls:

Yes to LGBTQ+ stories. Yes to Ace/Aro stories. Yes to non-binary stories. Yes to BIPOC stories. Yes to stories featuring disability, neurodiversity, and all the previously mentioned groups in nuanced, sensitive, and authentic ways. We must be missing some groups, but please know WE WANT AND WELCOME ALL FACETS OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.

The 2020 Cast of Wonders Flash Fiction Contest is here!


With a whisper of magic, the portal begins to open. Travel through, fellow wanderers, and tell us of the stories you find.

Submissions for Cast of Wonders’ Flash Fiction Contest will run from August 15-August 31st, 2020 (12:00 am GMT), via Moksha.

To be a valid submission to the contest, each story must adhere to the following rules:

The story must be no more than 500 words long, not including its title. Do not use the title to skirt around the word count. Word count will be determined using MS Word.

The story must adhere to the general Cast of Wonders Submission Guidelines. Most importantly, it needs to evoke a sense of wonder and be appropriate for a YA audience. We aim for a 12-17 age range: that means sophisticated, non-condescending stories with wide appeal, and without explicit sex, violence or pervasive obscene language.

The story must be original and previously unpublished. Stories will be posted on a members-only portion of the Escape Artists forum, so first publication rights will not be spent if your story does not win.

The person submitting the story must be the story’s author (or acting for the author with express permission) and hold full publishing rights to the story. A story that is derived from a previously published work in another format (i.e. not a short story) may be fine, assuming doing so isn’t in violation of copyright, obviously. This is a grey area – a retelling of a classic tale, or popular culture references, are likely to be fine, but other forms of fanfiction would probably not be appropriate. If in doubt, please send an email to Karissa@escapeartists.net with the subject line “QUERY” and ask before submitting.

If you are not sure whether your story counts as published or not (for example, if an earlier version has appeared on your blog but nowhere else), please send an email to Karissa@escapeartists.net with the subject line “QUERY” and ask before submitting. Please do not submit stories that have been entries in a previous Escape Artists contest, or that are under submission elsewhere.
The story must be submitted in its final form, as the author intends it to be read by the voting public. We may or may not allow minor typo corrections if those slip in, but as a general rule, we will not allow authors to submit changes to stories, especially not after submissions are closed.

Each author may submit only ONE story.

Included in the body of the submission must be the title and the text. Any byline will be stripped when the stories are posted in the contest, and will be revealed when either the story fails to advance, or ultimately wins. Feel free to request a pseudonym for the byline, but we will need a legal name if you win for prize purposes. Please also be sure to include an email address!
Authors under 18 are very welcome and encouraged to submit their work. By submitting, any author under 18 asserts they have obtained the permission of a parent or guardian with whom Escape Artists, Inc. can enter into a contract on behalf of the author.

Winners will be paid $40, making this a pro sale of at least eight cents a word.

Please blog, share on Facebook, tweet, email, send owls, telephone, text, light smoke signals, and otherwise get the word out.

March 2020 Metacast


Transcript

(Alasdair) Hi everyone, Alasdair here.

We’re not going to ask how you are right now, because we have a pretty good idea. You’re fine. You’re FINE. You’re the same version of fine as everyone right now, the one Aerosmith sang about. The one where you’re alternately anxious, terrified, furious and calm.

We empathise. We’re the same. (Continue Reading…)

For Your Consideration 2020: original stories from Cast of Wonders in 2019


It’s that time of year again, so here are all the award eligible original stories that Cast of Wonders published in 2019.  All 34 of them!  You can hear more about which ones meant the most to the team as part of our Staff Picks episodes throughout January (and there were some rather rambunctious back-stage fights over who would get to pick some of them… oh, the drama!)

We’d also love to know which episode you’d pick as your favourite. Add your thoughts via the google form here (Continue Reading…)