Posts Tagged ‘Dani Daly’


Cast of Wonders 219: Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure (Dinovember!)

Show Notes

A special thank you to Preston Stone for his generous permission in using this week’s episode artwork!

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

Read along with the text of the story.

Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure

by Rachael K. Jones

Mom had hands like dinosaur bones: fragile at a glance, but old and strong, hardened by time and pressure. Fossils endure. My mother had endured 80 years already, through disease and bereavement, through a long career ended in humiliation and disgrace, and now this final insult: her own daughter demanding she leave it all behind, the house and farm and everything in it.

“I’ve worked hard for this house. I worked for everything I ever had.” Her voice was a tight, tense warble. Fossil-hard fingers bent around a mug painted with a cowgirl on a lavender T-rex, lasso roping round the handle.

It wasn’t just the house, not really. Primrose Farms Poultry had forced her from her life’s work as an industrial engineer, and thanks to an intellectual property clause, Mom hadn’t even kept the rights to her own inventions.

“No one’s trying to take away your stuff,” I told her gently. “We’re just worried about you, alone out here and with the animals, and the house like this.” The farm was expensive, too. The upkeep outstripped its worth.

“I can take care of it myself. I’ll clean it up. I just need time.”

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Cast of Wonders 210: Little Wonders 8 – Embracing Change

The There-It-Is Store

By Adam Gaylord

The bell over the door jingled and Claire hastily tucked her book under the counter. It was one of her favorites and she’d just gotten to the best part. She didn’t want a customer to come in and claim it.

An older man, probably twice Claire’s age, entered the store. Actually, he really more danced his way in. The man turned this way and that, his eyes trained on the ground, all the while patting his pants, alternating front pockets and then back. Claire suppressed a giggle at the sight of his search dance – as it was fittingly known in the trade. The man gave up the floor and scanned the shelves by the door, muttering to himself while patting his breast pockets. “I swear I just had ’em. I was walking out the door…” He passed over boxes of buttons, jars full of jewelry, several large sacks stuffed with socks, and a pail packed with pocket watches before stopping in front of a particularly large crate nearly overflowing with keys. He gave a low whistle, eyeing the huge box with trepidation.

“Good morning Mr. Crowhurst,” Clair interrupted his search.

“Hm? Oh, yes. Hello.” Mr. Crowhurst wandered up to the counter, still patting. “I really hope you can help me. Do you happen to know where…” He trailed off, his eyes drifting to the shelves behind her. Claire felt the tingle of the there-it-is magic and the man’s patting finally stopped, his face lighting up. “There they are!”

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Announcing assistant editors Dani Daly and Katherine Inskip!

Hello everyone! Things have been quieter than I’d like lately at Cast of Wonders. Part of that has been some behind the scenes changes. Our good friend Jeff Hite has stepped away from the show to spend more time with his family and his own writing career, and we wish him all the best.

In addition, I am thrilled to announce that two long time and hard working members of the team will be stepping up into assistant editor roles. A giant hug and welcome to Dani Daly and Katherine Inskip!

Dani DalyDani has been involved with Cast of Wonders in various roles since it’s inception in 2011. In fact, she’s the only member of the team who predates me!

She narrates stories, reads slush, is the community manager on our forum and now is overwhelmingly proud to take on the role of co-assistant editor.

Dani says fiction, especially fantasy, science fiction and weird stories, has been important in her life since she was a child. So while she works with numbers all day to keep the lights on at home, it’s always been words and reading that kept the light on in her heart and mind. She also narrates audiobooks through ACX.

Katherine InskipKatherine teaches astrophysics and spends her (infrequent) spare time populating the universe with worlds of her own. She is a mother to two delightful boys, narrates for a variety of podcasts, and says she wishes she’d started slush reading decades ago.

You can full bios, and Twitter links, for both Dani and Katherine on the About Us page.



Cast of Wonders 203: The Universe Dress

The Universe Dress

by Laura-Marie Steele

I’ve never been the biggest fan of weddings. Some women plan weddings from childhood. They draw pictures of the dress they’d like to wear and collect magazine cuttings of flowers or venues, but not me. I’d never even thought about it before. I’d always seen myself as the adventurous type, trekking off alone across the world. Maybe that was why I felt strange, staring at myself in the mirror, on the day of my own wedding.

“You look beautiful.” Mum wiped her eyes with the corner of her bathrobe.

“The lips,” Aunt Julia said, with a twist of her own, “can’t we make them a bit darker?”

My two cousins, Emily and Amelia, began to rummage in the suitcase of cosmetics they’d brought with them. They’d already attacked me with all sorts of colours and turned me into a doll with pink-spotted cheeks.

Aunt Julia took charge of the curling tongs, scooping and pulling up my hair. Lipsticks were passed around, tiaras were polished, hairbrushes were located, dress fit was discussed. Everyone struggled to get ready in the small space that had been my bedroom for the past nineteen years, and I sat in the middle, calm and silent, like the eye of the storm.

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Cast of Wonders 188: Above Decks (Staff Pick 2015)

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 slush reader and community manager Dani Daly’s favorite story from 2015, Above Decks by Terry Ibele and narrated by Phil Lunt. The story originally aired August 23, 2015 as Cast of Wonders 175.

Above Decks

by Tery Ibele

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

It felt like I had been here forever. A punishment for a crime I didn’t commit. Still, it was necessary just to save a few coins to buy a measly meal. Every day was grueling and today was worse. The muscles in my arms felt like they were going to snap. My shovel dropped to the floor with a clang. Sweat dripped into my eyes as I dared a quick break. The other boys kept shovelling. The huge furnace bulged as it was fed. Hot red steam billowed out of its pipes and clouded the air. Pulling off my shoes, I sat in a lump of coal and rubbed my aching feet.

“What are you doing?” whispered the boy next to me. “You’ll get us-“ The door burst open with a violent bang that sent a shiver up my spine. A large figure filled the doorway, blurred by the steamy air. It was the Coal Master. He was a black silhouette against the light pouring in from the deck. The dirty wooden floorboards shook as he stomped in. My heart beat so fast it nearly flew out of my chest.

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Cast of Wonders 149: Bricks and Sunlight

Bricks and Sunlight

by M. K. Hutchins

“Should I run and tell mother now that you’re not getting married today, Ara?”

Ara groaned and rolled off her mat onto the cool, mud-brick floor.  “Good morning to you, too, Esha.”

Esha, her younger sister, stared at her with large, expectant eyes.  Despite the early hour, her black hair was already plaited in a lovely crown.  Esha always looked perfect.

“Will you help me dress?”  Ara ran her hands through her own ratty hair.  If today ended in shambles, she might as well look half-decent when it did.

Esha wrinkled her nose.  “Why bother? You’re not getting married.  I know you don’t love him — the goddess’ gift will protect you from this wedding.”

That’s what she was afraid of.  She wanted this marriage.
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Cast of Wonders 107: The Surfacing

The Surfacing

by Kurt Newton

Eight-year-old Ellie Fortier exited the back door of her lakeside home into a clear moonlit night.  She was careful not to let the screen door slam shut. She didn’t want to wake her grandfather, who was babysitting her for the night but had fallen asleep in his favorite chair.  Her mom was at the hospital. Her dad — well, she didn’t want to think about her dad right now. What was more important was what she had to do.

Dressed in a light windbreaker, jeans and sneakers, she tiptoed down the back porch steps and hurried along the gravel path that led to the long wooden dock that pointed like a finger toward the center of the lake.  Lake Ochabee. When she reached the end of the dock, she hesitated.

She stared out into the open water.  She could feel its coldness and depth.  But she trusted it. If there was a God, she hoped he lay at the bottom of all that cold, dark water.

To her left, moored to the dock’s side, her father’s motorboat sat.  Alongside it, like a child close to its parent’s side, rested the small skiff Ellie’s father let her paddle around in.  As her small hands worked to untie the knotted rope, Ellie’s lips moved silently, repeating a chant she had begun fifteen minutes earlier after the phone call came informing her grandpa that there was still no change in her father’s condition. Daddy will be all right… Daddy will be all right… Oaky will fix it… Oaky will make it better…

Her fingers finally loosened the damp knot and she climbed down into the small boat. Without wasting any more time, she picked up the oars and began to row.
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Cast of Wonders 80: Small Magics

Small Magics

by Alethea Kontis

Minna tried to stand still in front of the mirror, but it wasn’t working. Effie jerked Minna’s hips from side to side, trying to adjust the bustle of her sateen French cream walking dress. Minna stared at the print of the Luck etching she held, then closed her eyes and pressed it to her breast, wishing with all her might for the magic she had given it to seep back into her.

“Would you like some glue?” Minna’s eyes snapped open as her friend’s voice sounded in her ear, dark and exotic as the Greek gypsy girl herself.

“See, now,” said Minna, pointing at their reflections, “your head looks better on this dress than mine does.” Minna folded the Luck etching and tucked it inside her sleeve, desperate for its closeness.

Effie noticed. “Luck doesn’t always mean the good kind.”
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Cast of Wonders 64: The Gloaming (Part 2)

Show Notes

Today we present Part 2 of The Gloaming by M E Garber. Be sure to check out Part 1, first, if you haven’t already.

The Gloaming

by M E Garber

At this time I knew the Rules One through Five. They were easy, almost ridiculously so. Except for the “Asking” part, which I found hard.

Rule One: What you truly believe will become real. What you truly disbelieve will fade.

Rule Two: Pride brings unwelcome notice, and testing by the true fey. Guard well against Pride.

Rule Three: The Question must be asked. A lore-tender may only divulge rules once his or her charge has asked after each of them. Some leading is permissible, but pure telling is not possible.

Rule Four: Names prove important in strange, unpredictable ways. Always be careful when Naming if you have the power of fey.

Rule Five: Protect your purity. Loss of that innocence, of purity in your thoughts and deeds, will result in loss of your fey abilities.

My own corollary to Rule Five: It’s well-known that unicorns only associate with pure fey innocents. So, to stay with Azim al-Liajli, I stayed as far from human boys as possible. Easy.
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Cast of Wonders 63: The Gloaming (Part 1)

The Gloaming, Part 1

by M E Garber

I forgot Rule Number 1.

I imagined the evil hordes, and they became real.

I did it. I believed in them, gave them their power and forms. They merely fed my fear and my inattention, directed my fertile imagination into the darkness of isolation. I followed, as blind as I could be.
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Cast of Wonders 44: Lizzy Viscera and the Quest for the Perfect Sandwich

Show Notes

Today we present Lizzy Viscera and the Quest for the Perfect Sandwich by Spencer Koelle. Spencer tell us, “This is the first story I wrote at Susquehanna University. I’d transferred into the college as a creative writing major, and when I found out I hadn’t been registered for any creative writing classes, I pledged to make up for that deficit by writing at least two new short stories that term.

You can find out more about Spencer here.

Your narrator is is our own regular reader, Danielle Daly. Welcome back Dani!

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

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Cast of Wonders 31: Inksucker

Show Notes

Today we present Inksucker by Aidan Doyle. Aidan is an Australian writer and computer programmer who loves travelling and has visited more than 70 countries. His experiences include teaching English in Japan, interviewing ninjas in Bolivia and going ten-pin bowling in North Korea. The majority of Inksucker was written during a 51-hour ferry ride from Osaka to Shanghai; it was originally published in the Worlds Next Door anthology and was shortlisted for the prestigious Aurealis Award. Aidan is currently working on a zombie novel set in Japan. You can find out more about him online.

Your narrator is Danielle Daly, who last read for us in Episode 27, My Boogie Man.

Due to our website crash in April 2014, we are in the process of reconstructing our back catalog. Please enjoy listening to the episode – we’ll have the show notes up as soon as we can!

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


by Aidan Doyle

If you’re a monster, stop reading this right now!

I’ve hidden lots of traps in these words. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

My name is Zoe and I’m 14 years old. I know how dangerous words can be. My family owns the best bookshop in all of Melbourne. There are thousands and thousands of books and the shelves stretch as far as you can see. The further you walk from the shop’s entrance, the older the books get. If you keep walking in a straight line for more than a few hours you can find books thousands of years old.
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