Posts Tagged ‘CoW Originals’

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Cast of Wonders 331: Radio Free Heartland


Radio Free Heartland

by Corey Mallonee

When the car was just a distant cloud of dust above the corn fields I turned to Smoke and told him, “You ought to know I shot someone.”

“We all do things we regret,” he said, without looking up from the circle he was drawing in the dirt. His radio sat in the middle of the circle, tuned to nothing, just a hiss of static. It was made of something he called Bakelite, which I guess is a fancy kind of old plastic. It was brown like it was supposed to look like wood.

“I didn’t say I regret it,” I said.

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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.

After all, pretty is as pretty does, my father used to say. He didn’t say much else and I’m not sure if he meant it as a compliment or an insult. I’ve never really understood the phrase anyway. Are we predisposed to act in certain ways? If so, it would be a relief. My actions turned midnight-moon-macabre some time ago and I’d hate to think it’s all my own failing of character.

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Cast of Wonders 328: Ava Paints the Horses


Ava Paints the Horses

by Ville Meriläinen

It’s late into morning on a Friday, and Ava paints the horses. Her feet are bare despite the season, and she has buried them in a pile of leaves that rustles as she curls her toes in rhythm with her strokes. The scent of hot cocoa wafts up from the mug between her knees, mixing with the smell of summer grass that escapes her painting.

She sits on the porch of her home and sinks herself into her work, so she wouldn’t have to hear how close Mom is to tears when her parents argue about money. It’s a school day in September, but she hasn’t been to class for days. Everyone is understanding of her troubles at home, but no one asks where she would rather be.

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Cast of Wonders 325: The Librarian (Banned Books Week)

Show Notes

Check out The Drabblecast Reborn!


The Librarian

by Maria Haskins

The library hadn’t been there the day before, Ella was sure of it. That patch of dirt beside the rusting piles of spaceship debris outside the refugee camp had been bare, with nothing but weeds and rocks on it. Now, there was a library there. She knew it was a library because it said LIBRARY right on it, painted in glittery letters. The word was spelled out in the twelve most commonly spoken languages and dialects in the camp. Ella recognized them all from school, even if she could only read and understand five of them. .

The building was small and rectangular. It looked like a brightly painted version of one of the metal shipping containers Ella would see at the spaceport when she went there with her friends to scavenge for leavings. Of course, you weren’t supposed to go scavenging there, but everyone did anyway. You could find anything there – scraps of metal and junky electronics for the trader, even food, if you were lucky.

Ella squinted at the library’s sign. She was supposed to come straight home after school, but school had ended early since the power went out, and Pappa wouldn’t notice she was gone until later. And who had ever heard of anyone offering books around here? Better take the chance when it was offered.

Ella opened the door and stepped inside.
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Cast of Wonders 324: The Sound of Her Voice (Banned Books Week)


The Sound of Her Voice

by Jennifer Hykes

I saw her van as I turned the corner by the convenience store.  It was exactly as I remembered it: the coat of green paint cracked and faded now, but the logo unmistakable.  It was burned into my memory like a brand.

I moved before I even realized my old instincts were kicking in, pressing myself against the brick wall and slowing my breathing so the sound would not give me away.

Every nerve in my body tingled.  I watched. I waited.
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Cast of Wonders 322: Your Words There for the World to See (Banned Books Week)


Your Words There for the World to See

by Aimee Ogden

The school library doesn’t have the book you want. No surprise there. There are a few dozen volumes on its shelves; plenty of other books are out there in the cloud, but the part of the cloud with your book is partitioned off too. It’s in the Premium Access tier and a Title X school in Ass-Nowhere, Wisconsin is not exactly Premium Access quality. The librarian apologizes for that, but apologies don’t put the words in your hands.
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The 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 September 1-30, 2018, via Submittable.

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 Google Docs.
  • 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 katherine@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 katherine@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 $30, making this a pro sale of at least six cents a word.
  • Please blog, share on Facebook, tweet, email, send owls, telephone, text, light smoke signals, and otherwise get the word out.

    Artemis Rising 5


    In March 2019, Escape Artists will bring you ARTEMIS RISING for a fifth year. This special month-long event, across all four Escape Artists podcasts, is a celebration of stories written by women, in the broadest definition of the word. This year, Cast of Wonders is excited to introduce guest editors Amy Brennan and Karissa Sluss, with assistant editors Katherine Inskip and Alexis Goble.

    ARTEMIS RISING specifically highlights women in genre fiction, a demographic that has been underrepresented until recent years. This showcase helps to address that historical imbalance and correct the impression, which continues to persist in some social circles, that women cannot write excellent genre fiction.

    Who Can Submit

    Submissions are open to anyone who identifies as a woman to any degree.

    In past years, we have specifically included the term “non-binary” in our Artemis Rising submission calls — you may notice it is missing this year.

    English is flawed in its ability to accurately represent the breadth of human genders, and as such the language we use is always evolving. We respect the feedback that we’ve received regarding our use of “non-binary” as a catch-all: that it erroneously tilts the perception of non-binary people in a feminine direction.

    In a continuing effort to support diversity and inclusivity, we’re changing the language of our ARTEMIS RISING call. Non-binary authors who identify as women are welcome to submit. Your gender is for you to determine, and we support you and take you at your word. If you feel you have a story that helps cast light on the multitudinal existence that is womanness, please don’t self-reject.

    Please note we’re talking about author identity here, not pen names. We fully respect the right of authors to use whatever pen names they like. However, as we note in our Legalese, we require information in the submission form be accurate and truthful.

    As always, we strongly encourage submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional speculative fiction, including, but not limited to, people of color, LGBTQ authors, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States. Our goal is to publish fiction that reflects the diversity of the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these and any other under-represented groups.

    What to Submit

    Send in your best speculative fiction between 1,500–6,000 words. Original fiction as well as reprints are welcome this year. Payment will be USD $0.06 per word for original fiction, $100 for reprints, and a $20 flat rate for flash fiction reprints (stories below 1,500 words).

    You can send in one submission for ARTEMIS RISING to each of our podcasts (Escape Pod for science fiction, PseudoPod for horror, PodCastle for fantasy, and Cast of Wonders for young adult), but please don’t send the same story to more than one podcast at a time.

    If you have another story under consideration already in the general submissions queue, you are welcome to submit an additional story for ARTEMIS RISING. One submission per portal for a total of two under consideration.

    Multiple and/or simultaneous submissions are not accepted.

    While we’ll be accepting a limited number of stories for ARTEMIS RISING, all stories will also be considered as general submissions as well, in the event that we simply have too much awesome to contain in one month.

    What We’re Looking For

    Amy and Karissa are particularly interested in stories with protagonists in non-traditional female roles, disabled protagonists and relationships between women (mentorship of a younger protagonist by an elder woman, asexual and aromantic relationships, etc.). As with all submissions we are also looking for the deep emotional resonance and that critical spark of wonder that defines all Cast of Wonders stories.

    How to Submit

    Start writing now! A special ARTEMIS RISING Submittable portal will open September 1. Submissions will be open for the month of September 2018. Stories will air in March 2019.

    Thanks, and we look forward to reading your stories!
    Amy Brennan, Karissa Sluss, Katherine Inskip, Alexis Goble,
    and the entire Cast of Wonders team

    Artemis Rising 5 Guest Editors


    We’re thrilled to announce that this year’s guest editors for Artemis Rising will be Amy Brennan and Karissa Sluss, with assistant editors Alexis Goble and Katherine Inskip.

    Amy Brennan is a huge fan of all manner of fiction and non fiction writing, music, art, basically anything even mildly creative. A geologist by training, holding a masters in Geoscience from Keele Unversity she used to make mud pies for a living. It is a job that is both enjoyably challenging and at times mind-numbingly repetitive. She devoured audiobooks at a rate of knots to get her through the day – until she discovered podcasts and hasn’t looked back since.  She lives in Cambridgeshire with her partner, and three floofs of the cat and rabbit type. She occasionally blogs, and you can follow her on Twitter.

    Karissa Sluss lives with in North Carolina with her family and a hairy husky named Bonnie. Her favorite things are coffee, dark chocolate, Star Wars, and Princess Bride. By day she wrangles cases and hearing schedules for a small administrative court. At night, after cooking dinner, checking homework, and walking the dog, she writes and reads as much as possible. You can find out more about her writing online at karissalaurel.com, and she loves making friends on Twitter @karissalaurel.

    Full details of the submission guidelines will follow.

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    Cast of Wonders 313: Desert Dogs


    Desert Dogs

    by Drea Silvertooth and Lian Rose

    The vast desert sprawled before Kei, burnt sienna beneath the rising sun. In the distance, derelict buildings of the Old Cities defined the horizon, their dark and splintered silhouettes pointing like daggers at the sky.

    Behind her, the city gate clanged shut with a heavy sense of finality. The outer sentries ignored her as she shouldered her supplies—food, water, and the exact number of bullets allowed for intercity travel—and walked toward the stables. Her red cloak dragged in the sand, leaving a path in her wake like a winding snake.

    A half-mile out stood a small, hunched figure waiting for her. The faded blue fabric of his robes was drawn up over his face to protect from the stinging wind.

    “My driving student,” he said warmly, extending his hand as she approached. “Mister Zhang?”

    “Miss,” Kei corrected, taking his hand.
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    Cast of Wonders 311: And Flights of Skuhwiggle


    And Flights of Skuhwiggle

    by Charles Lee McDaniel

    “Hello, children. Quiet down and give me your attention. We have a super-duper treat for you this morning.”

    Geez, Nurse Janina was laying it on thick. Jimmy’s hand tightened around the tall stool he held, and his stomach shrank to the size of a raisin.

    Why are you worried? the familiar voice inside his head asked.

    Because I’ve never done this before, Jimmy thought back.

    Excuse me? The gooey green alien perched on Jimmy’s shoulder puffed out its rubbery chest and it squinted its almost-human eyes at him. Have you forgotten how we wowed the crowd at the school talent show? It was only a couple of weeks ago. I know you humans can’t compete with Astrofarians when it comes to memory, but even so…

    It’s not that. Jimmy peeked past the curtain hiding him and Skuhwiggle from the rest of the ward. Twenty or so kids looked up at Nurse Janina, drinking in her tale of how Jimmy had supposedly met his alien friend.

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    Cast of Wonders 310: Little Wonders 18: Transformation


    A Cradle of Vines

    by Jennifer Mace

    There’s a plant in the hedgerow whose berries glimmer like starlight. Gyn passes it every morning on her way to school. Its leaves are waxy beneath her hands, small as the new baby’s fingernails and greener than grass stains on knees. They leave her skin smelling of peppermint.

    The berries are blacker than midnight, blacker than her new father’s hair, and Gyn first notices them as her mother stops noticing her. They like to hide under hawthorn leaves or in the joints of holly bushes, but their silver shine in the winter sun gives them away. She’s smarter than the blackbirds and the robins. She understands hidden things.

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