PodCastle 445: In Mixcoatl’s Net

by Charlie Allison

read by Setsu Uzume

First published on the Aspiring Writer’s Society website in June 2016

Sunny abandoned her house the day after she buried Anna and struck out for the western metropolis of Palotl. She gathered up all her practical effects in no time at all: a sharp knife, matches, a map, and a pair of good blankets—one from her childhood, one from Anna’s.

Anna’s blanket was a mess of Evenki winter scenes: the Old Witch’s Comb, a strutting rooster and the gaping grey jaws of wolves.        

Sunny sniffed. It still smelled like her.

Her own blanket was decorated with Quetzal mosaics in bright reds and greens: the Flower Goddess bringing life to the desert, Mixcoatl the Hunter casting his net through the stars, headless Night Axe terrorizing travelers.

Sunny rolled up the blankets along with a bedroll and stuffed them into her backpack.

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Rated R.

Picture of Author Charlie AllisonCharlie Allison surrounds himself with dying languages, fading pantheons and idle speculation. He has worn many hats: working as a chess coach, a groundskeeper, an English tutor, creative writing instructor for adults with learning disabilities, and an amateur circus acrobat. His current headwear is that of a graduate student at Arcadia University, where he works as a graduate assistant. He helps run a writing board called “Fits of Print” with some other genre writers–free proofreading, critiques, support and line edits, alongside copious nerd references.

He lives with his girlfriend and three furry murder machines in West Philadelphia. He is currently working on the draft of his second novel–after launching the first into space.

You can find him online at ‘Fits of Print’ and on Twitter @cballison421.

Picture of Setsu UzumeSetsu Uzume spent her formative years in and out of dojos. She also trained in a monastery in rural China, studying Daoism and swordplay. She is a member of Codex and SFWA. While she has dabbled in many arts, only writing and martial arts seem to have stuck. Find her on Twitter @KatanaPen, or her website katanapen.wordpress.com.

 

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PodCastle 444: The Giant’s Lady (Aurealis Month)

by Rowena Cory Daniells

read by Barry Haworth

First published in the Legends 2 anthology, Stories In Honor of David Gemmell.

Part of our Aurealis Month, celebrating the Australian Aurealis Awards.

Hosted by Graeme Dunlop.

As we entered the white-walled courtyard, the music stopped and every islander turned.Wyrd, they whispered.

Wyrd, they whispered. My lady stood tall, her pale hair glinting in the hot noonday sun. A full-blood T’En throwback, she

My lady stood tall, her pale hair glinting in the hot noonday sun. A full-blood T’En throwback, she did not try to hide her hair or her six-fingered hands, and her distinctive wine-dark eyes held quiet defiance. As for me, I was not a Wyrd, not even a half-blood, just a freakishly big True-man, and an ugly
one at that.

My lady headed for two seats at the end of a trestle table. By the time we reached it, the table was empty. She sat, turning her long legs to the side. Dropping our travelling bags, I took the opposite seat, where I could watch the courtyard gate.

Rated PG-13.

Picture of Author Rowena Corey DaniellsRowena Cory Daniells is a fan of the genre who has been going to Conventions since she was eighteen. Over the years she has been involved in Indy Press, run a bookshop, then a graphic art studio. She reared a family of six kids, served on numerous arts committees at a state and national level and went back to study where she did a Masters then taught at University. In her spare time she studied Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and Iaido, the art of the Samurai Sword.

And she’s written a pile of books. On the Internet, you can find her website at www.rowena-cory-daniells.com, or find her on Twitter @rcdaniells.

Rowena Cory Daniells’s series King Rolen’s Kin has just been released (with stunning new covers) in the US by Solaris Classics. Head on over to amazon to pick up the series now!

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Picture of Narrator Barry HaworthBarry Haworth works as a statistician for the Australian Taxation Office, which is more interesting than you might think. He holds a Masters degree in Statistics. Outside of work he is a keen reader of science fiction, and enjoys choral singing and taking part in amateur theatricals, having performed such roles as Prospero in The Tempest and Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance.

Barry has narrated episodes of Escape Pod and also the Cheap Astronomy podcast. He lives in Brisbane, Australia with his wife Sylvia, those of his children who haven’t left home yet, and whatever the current quota of pets is. He also says, “I am a Statistician. One false move and you’re a Statistic.”

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PodCastle 443: Blueblood (Aurealis Month)

by Faith Mudge

read by Loulou Szal

First published in Hear Me Roar

Part of our Aurealis Month, celebrating the Australian Aurealis Awards.

hosted by Cat Sparks

It is an insult to die at midday.

In the mountain country where I was born, such things take place in the dark of night: the fall of an axe, the knotting of a noose. Here, it is a spectacle. From the narrow window of my tower room, I can see the road that leads away from the castle, down to the sea; it is already lined with people, jostling and squabbling amongst themselves for the best view of my execution.
In this place, a town will turn out to watch a man kill his wife, and call it justice.

My husband wants me to see this, to spend my last hours thinking about what will happen when the sun hits its zenith. Very soon he will step from the great oak doors, and a guard will come to bring me down. The crowd will get what they hunger for then. I hope it haunts them. It probably won’t.

By this point it makes no difference. He can break every bone in my body and shed every drop of my blood and he will still be the fool. Elyse will still be gone.

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Rated PG-13.

Faith MudgeI’m Faith Mudge, a Queensland writer with a passion for fantasy, folk tales and mythology from all over the world—in fact, almost anything with a glimmer of the fantastical. I post regular reviews and articles here—my current blog project is Ladies of Legend, for which I write monthly posts about female figures from myth and legend—and I am also present at beyondthedreamline.tumblr.com. My stories have appeared in various anthologies, the latest being Cranky Ladies of History, Hear Me Roar and Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists. I am always here for witches and angry princesses.

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Loulou Szal is a school teacher specializing in English and medieval History, but is also a lifelong fan of fantasy, romance and historical fiction. She is also fluent in both English and Arabic. Besides trying to pen her own stories, she is delighted to have multiple narration credits at StarShipSofa and now Podcastle. When she was eighteen she managed to track down and interview Mark Hamill for her school magazine. She lives with her husband and two children (one of whom is a writer and editor of science fiction) in sunburnt Sydney, Australia where she’s always on the hunt for antique books to add to her ever growing collection.

Loulou’s son, Jeremy Szal, edited her narration for this story.

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PodCastle Miniature 93: Husk and Sheaf (Aurealis Month)

by Suzanne J. Willis

read by Graeme Dunlop

Hosted by Aidan Doyle

First published in SQ Mag.

Spring had stretched the daylight hours and dried the damp-weather rot in my hands by the time the old woman, Emmeline, began visiting the orange grove. By then, I knew enough to see she wasn’t well. I had been placed in the grove to scare away the mynahs pecking incessantly at the fruit. At first, I couldn’t remember being made, or recall the hands that sewed my body and my clothes. Who was it that stuffed me full so I plumped out like a real man?

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Rated PG-13.

Suzanne J. WillisSuzanne J. Willis is a Melbourne, Australia-based writer, a graduate of Clarion South and an Aurealis Awards finalist. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in anthologies by PS Publishing, Prime Books, Fablecroft Publishing and Fox Spirit Press, and in Fantasy Scroll Magazine, SQ Mag, Mythic Delirium, Capricious SF and the British Fantasy Society Journal. Suzanne’s tales are inspired by fairytales, ghost stories and all things strange, and she can be found online at suzannejwillis.webs.com.

 

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