Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 508: The Book That Wasn’t

The Book That Wasn’t

by Sally Sultzman

The school library is as close to a refuge as you get, but the librarian still looks at you like she knows there’s something off about you, and you hate that she might be right.

Then one day, the day, that day, that librarian is gone, replaced by a sub that looks…familiar. But not really, she’s definitely not the kind of person you’ve ever seen in your small town before. And she puts specific books into your hands. Very specific books. The kinds of books you could never ask about out loud, certainly not of the regular librarian because then she’d know she was right about you and tell your parents, and that–you don’t think you’d survive that.

But this librarian sub–old, tall, and imposing with wild white hair and a generous smile–just knows what books other kids also want, but those books are never as…personal as yours are. She gives you kind smiles and says things like, “You’re doing so well, just hold on a little bit longer,” as she gives you another book that you’re not allowed to read, not even allowed to know exists, and it… it helps. (Continue Reading…)

Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 377: This Is Not A Ghost Story (Banned Books Week)

This Is Not a Ghost Story

by V. Medina

In the darkness of her bedroom, after her mother has gone to bed and she’s supposed to have done the same, she tells stories to the ghosts. She would do more for them but they never ask for anything else and she doesn’t know what more to do. They listen, gentle whispers all around her, urging her to continue, begging her for a few more words, just a little more of her time. They crave the stories she has to offer them and even when she is young, she feels the pull of narrative against her bones.

The ghosts are kind in their need, not pushing or screaming but quietly pleading, and she was not raised to deny anyone. She is the quiet kid, the good girl, the sweetheart. She knows her role, and it doesn’t matter what she wants because everyone already knows who she is before she ever gets the chance to show them.

People look at her, see the way she moves, the white cane in her hand, the way she holds books so close to her face. They all think they know her story, even before she says a word. (Continue Reading…)

Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 198: The Authorized Biography (Part 2)

Show Notes

Show Notes

This week we present the conclusion of The Authorized Biography by Michael G. Ryan, narrated by Brian Rollins.

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


The Authorized Biography (Part 2)

By Michael G. Ryan

“My mom,” Betsy had written, “met Eugene Versace—no relation, it turns out—when she took our old dog Gator in to be put to sleep. Dad didn’t go that day. I was still in the hospital recovering from surgery, and at the age of four Jasper certainly could not have understood why our sixteen-year-old dog could not go on forever. So, Dad stayed with him at the house and kissed Gator goodbye in the driveway. So, Mom was alone with her grief when she met the veterinarian who would comfort her and then break up my parents’ marriage.”

“Fuck!” Toonby shouted, slamming the book closed. His eyes watered.

“Gator?” he called in a gentle voice. “Come here, boy.”

He could hear the golden retriever’s toenails on the hardwood floor in the hallway, and for the first time he imagined he could hear old age and world-weariness in that familiar sound. Gator poked his head around the corner, tongue wagging tiredly, and came to Toonby, pushing his head into Toonby’s open palm. Then he lay down at his feet as if the moment of affection were all he could endure. Toonby reached down, and the dog raised his head slowly into the touch. They stayed that way for some time.

“With a name like Eugene, he shouldn’t even be able to talk to a woman,” Toonby finally said, “let alone steal mine. For crying out loud, the man has his hands up cats’ asses all day long.”

Gator lowered his head again as if embarrassed at the thought.
(Continue Reading…)

Genres: ,

Cast of Wonders 197: The Authorized Biography (Part 1)

Show Notes

Galen Dara’s amazing print for Artemis Rising is available on Society6.

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

The Authorized Biography

by Michael G. Ryan

In the beginning, Tim Toonby was bewildered to find his biography. Bewildered and ultimately alarmed.

It appeared Saturday morning on his front porch in an unadorned metal box, the fireproof kind meant for legal documents. No key. Tim Toonby had just stepped outside to leave the full diaper pail liner for the service, and in the age of letter bombs, he hesitated when he saw the box on the steps. He looked around as if the deliverer would still be nearby, waiting for the detonation, but the neighborhood was typically quiet—prefabricated homes with lawns of sod, flower boxes along porch railings, stone lions at the end of driveways as affectations of the neighbors’ aspirations. Toonby had them, too. It was a street for dreamers, not killers.

When he picked up the box, the lid wasn’t latched—it fell open, and he was suddenly looking down at his own face on the cover of a book inside. His own face, thirty years older, hair gone to gray, the crow’s feet at his eyes deep and sad. The black-and-white photo looked posed in a cheap hotel room where the nightstand’s drawer was pulled open enough to reveal a book, a Gideon’s Bible. But when Tim Toonby squinted at the picture, he could see that wasn’t right. He could just make out the text on the cover: Barnabas’s Bible by Timothy Toonby.

This was the book he had started writing six months ago. His first book, his hope for the great American novel, his dream of fame and fortune. The one his agent said would make him a household name.

(Continue Reading…)