Tag Archives: Podcastle

In My End Is My Beginning

Big news! My short story “Makeisha In Time”, first published at Crossed Genres in August 2014, appeared yesterday in audio at PodCastle with an outstanding narration by K. Tempest Bradford (seriously, it’s one of those incredible, blood-stirring narrations that makes you want to go have adventures RIGHT NOW!).

Even more than that, this PodCastle episode marks the announcement that Dave Thompson and Anna Schwind are stepping down as coeditors after 5 years at the helm. You can read more about it on Dave’s blog.

As a longtime PodCastle fan, I have a lot of strong feelings about this. I’ve been listening longer than I’ve been writing. Getting into short fiction podcasts is in many ways responsible for the fact I’m writing at all now. There’s something unreal about seeing anything I wrote become a full episode in turn. And it’s even more surreal, knowing it’s the first and last time Dave and Anna will host a full story of mine. In my beginning is their end.

It’s the mark of the very best stories that you never want them to end. I think I can speak for all PodCastle fans when I say that Dave and Anna’s editorial stint was one of those stories. I would’ve loved another sequel. Hell, another page or two. But nothing can go on forever, and anyway, nothing good is truly lost.

Truly fantastic editing is an underappreciated art form, especially from the outside. Over the years, Dave and Anna created a unique space through their story curation and hosting: a place of escapism and great stories, where their listeners–especially those who belonged to marginalized groups–always felt safe, important, and relevant. They treated all of us with dignity and love. When they thought about their audience, ALL of us were included in that picture. Women. People of color. LGBTQIA people. People from around the world. People with disabilities. The neuro-atypical. Survivors of violence and assault. None of us irrelevant. All of us deserving a safe space, if Anna and Dave had anything to say about it.

So I’d like to encourage everyone who’s enjoyed Dave and Anna’s run on PodCastle to take a moment and let them know what their work has meant to you. Consider dropping them some proper fan mail at their Escape Artists email (dave {at} escapeartists {dot} net and anna {at} escapeartists {dot} net). I’ve already done so myself. I know they’d love to hear from you, too. Let’s flood them with love.

Dave, Anna: go chase those dreams. We’ll all be here for you, cheering you along. ūüôā

As the weeks turn to months to years, it all runs into one smooth stream, and amid the worst there was still good, because we did it all together. We got through it with our greatswords and glaives, and with kind words and clever plans. We learned not to worship Agani. We learned to see ghosts in the gallery, and little gods in the cinnamon.

We met angels in the shower. We balanced tiny assassins on our fingertips and fed them our blood. We held hearts in hands and pumped them, lub-dub, the lives of our friends resting in our palms, and at night we slept and dreamed. We called down foxes and furious suns. We caught paper tigers which were letters from our dead mothers. We were sorcerous puppets and apprentice dragons and we did not speak of our dreams. Our memories bled away into wind, and we got drunk in the human fashion with dead Jane Austens. Our brothers were bad gods. Our sisters spoke to crickets. On Easter, we became werewolves and on Christmas, Tim Pratt. All of us slept with Karnun Nameless Dae.

In our end is our beginning.

Awards Eligible Stories for 2014

With a just week left in the year, my last original stories for 2014 have hit the presses. That means it’s time to make my first-ever awards eligibility list!

As a new author, writing this list was full of good memories: of the writing buddies who critted these stories, the editors and publishers who took a chance on me and improved the stories further during copyediting, and most of all the readers who took the time to enjoy the end product. To all of you, I want to thank you for sharing this journey with me.

I’m currently reading for the short story category of the Nebulas and Hugos. If you’re an author, which short story of yours from 2014 should I be sure to catch? If you’re a reader, what caught your eye? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll add it to my reading list.

If you’d like to consider some of my work for an award, I’ve listed my awards-eligible stories below. This is also my first year of Campbell Award eligibility. If you are voting this year, please feel free to contact me for a review copy of anything not freely available online. And if your time is limited, I might suggest you check out “Makeisha In Time” and “The Mercy of Theseus” as a starting point.

Original Short Stories Published in 2014:

Coffee is Hospitality: The Art of Friendship on the Internet

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to mention it on my blog, but last Friday, the Drabblecast featured one of my stories on Episode# 299 – “The Revelations of Morgan Stern”. For those of you who are regular readers, it was my story Dear John, a little tale framed around themes of loss and hospitality. The production of my story absolutely blew me away, and I was especially moved to have this one picked because of the story behind it, which you can read about in the original post.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been blown away by a series of loosely connected events that have left me moved and humbled by the kindness, thoughtfulness, and love of people I’ve only ever met online. It took me by surprise; to a degree I’ve always carried the unspoken assumption that there’s a clear and obvious distinction between the people you deal with face-to-face and those you deal with on the internet. As if the one is more “real” or counts for more than the other.

And while nothing will ever replace my friends and family, I think I’m wrong to undervalue the extended network of friendships made possible through the power of technology. We’re something like pen pals, many of us separated by half the world, and yet brought together by common interests. We celebrate each other’s triumphs. We feel one another’s pain. And sometimes we push each other to levels of courage that would be impossible normally.

After all, hospitality is coffee. Sometimes you invite people into your home and share a cup together. But other times, you invite them in from afar. You – yes, you – have joined me in my living room on many an evening to swap stories and jokes over a beer. Other times, we’ve sat at the kitchen table while I poured out my frustrations, fears, and sadness. Right now, we’re sitting in the student lounge together at my college as I finally recognize what a good friend you’ve been to me all along.

I’ve been lucky enough to go for a run with those of you involved in the production of the podcasts I listen to. Together we braved the heat, rain, and cold, set records, jumped over snakes, waved to neighbors, high-fived children, and snarked at catcallers and other rude folks.

All of this was in my head when I listened to a recent metacast from the folks at Escape Artists (behind the podcast magazines Escape Pod, Podcastle, and Pseudopod). The gist is that these podcasts are endangered species because of high readership but low support. You can read a partial transcript here and a summary here.

Coffee is hospitality. We mark our friendships through such rituals, through a mutual give-and-take where we loan support when the other needs it most. Sometimes this support is emotional. You’re both broke, and the best you can do is commiserate. Other times, you have the luxury of being able to extend a hand when needed.

I think the biggest difference between internet friends my face-to-face friends is that I’ve always found it easy and natural to practice hospitality towards people who are physically there. Online, there’s just enough distance that you forget to offer the coffee. You forget that you can. I mean, I can’t pour caffeine into my keyboard and expect it to come out on your end, but there are other ways of extending hospitality all the same.

Anyway, I’m changing that. Since I’m not completely broke, I’ve decided to repay both Escape Artists and the Drabblecast for their gift of friendship by becoming one of their paid subscribers. It’s the financial equivalent of getting together and buying them coffee once a month. I can most certainly do that.

If you’re also a fan of these shows, I’d encourage you to do the same if you’re able. If you’re not one of their fans, why not give them a listen? You might find something worthwhile, as I did.

How about you guys? How do you view your internet friends versus the ones you meet face-to-face? Who do you like to support around the blogosphere and interwebs?