Archive for Rated R

PodCastle 536: The Threadbare Magician — Part 2

Show Notes

Note that this is one part of a two-part episode. You can read and listen to the first part here.

Rated R, for cursing wizards and magical desires.

See below for links to Cat’s projects:

Cat’s Patreon.

The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, which offers live and on-demand classes aimed at fantasy and science fiction writers. Fun fact: co-editors Khaalidah and Jen met at one of Cat’s workshops. They are highly recommended!

Some books and collections for sale: Hearts of TabatNeither Here Nor ThereMoving from Idea to Finished Draft.


The Threadbare Magician — Part 2

by Cat Rambo

[Continued from Part 1, available here]

I hadn’t consulted an oracle in years. Never in this area.

I went to a closet and took down the usual sorts of accumulated boxes before finding a box of cedarwood, holding a small red velvet pouch. I took out the contents and cast the runes.

And frowned at them. Had I been overly casual, insulted them?

I took the time to center myself and cast again.

The same result. Which couldn’t be right.

An Oracle here in Friendly Village itself? Pleasant, unmagical Friendly Village?

Only a few trailers away? (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 535: The Threadbare Magician — Part 1

Show Notes

Note that this is one part of a two-part episode. The second part will release on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

Rated R, for cursing wizards and magical desires.

See below for links to Cat’s projects:

Cat’s Patreon.

The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, which offers live and on-demand classes aimed at fantasy and science fiction writers. Fun fact: co-editors Khaalidah and Jen met at one of Cat’s workshops. They are highly recommended!

Some books and collections for sale: Hearts of TabatNeither Here Nor ThereMoving from Idea to Finished Draft.


The Threadbare Magician

by Cat Rambo

Old fabric holds smells better than the cloth of more recent decades. New stuff is all chemicals. It rubs the roof of your mouth like steel wool if you sniff too hard, bites like a spell’s sting.

Older silks, wools, cottons — the organics — hold household odors. Cedar and cinnamon, turmeric and garlic. Perfumes you can no longer find, like L’Origan or Quelques Fleurs. Camphorated moth balls or talcum powder. Rarely the whiff of a person, a smell lingering long after every other scrap of their DNA has vanished from this earth.

Most often just the lilac assault left by a hasty dry-clean. But the other times make it worth it.

I pulled the green XL circle aside with my thumb and kept going widdershins, into the Ls. So far the Value Village’s rack had yielded only two possibilities: an XXL black with a bamboo-patterned weave, cream-colored dragons curled and coiled amid sun-ridden clouds and an XL crimson rayon whose flame-pattern suited it to throw-away magic. A protective cloak perfect for next week’s trip to Portland.

I fingered through the fabrics, searching for silk among the rayon and cotton. Nope, nope, nope. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 532: Vetala

Show Notes

Rated R for brutal visions.


The night I was to leave Delhi for Toronto, my grandmother told me I was making a big mistake.

“The vetala is going to follow you,” she said, as I stuffed my clothes higgledy-piggledy into the shiny new suitcase I had bought for my shiny new life. “Think of how lonely it will be.”

I slammed down the lid of my suitcase. “There are demons everywhere,” I said. “Even Toronto.”

My grandmother sniffed. “Not our kind.”

“How would you know?” I countered. “You hardly ever leave home.”

She looked at me out of her sharp, blackbird eyes. “And you hardly ever stay here. What are you looking for, Pooja?”

“A good job,” I said flatly. We had been over this many times in the last four months, ever since I’d gotten an offer to work for Recreated Realms, the biggest Timescape company in Canada. “Money. Peace. Security.” Freedom.

“None of which you will find until you stop running away,” said my grandmother. (Continue Reading…)

PodCastle 524: Shine like the Sea’s Deepest Secrets

Show Notes

Rated R for blood, guts, and monstrous appetites.


A shadow passes overhead and mermaids rise from where they were playing hide-and-seek among the jellyfish. It has been weeks since they’ve fed. If the shadow is a whale, the mermaids will only wish it safe passage. But the shadow is a galleon. Is it the one I’m looking for? I rush upwards.

The sky is noon-bright; the air, still. The ship’s main mast, cracked and scorched by lightning, lays toppled. Torn sails flutter on the fore- and mizzen-masts. The ship has been left to drift at the whim of the current. Mermaids crawl up the hull and cling to barnacles. Their voices, which usually hiss like the breaking waves, bend to wordless song. Lured by their music, sailors peer over the rail, their faces gaunt, their gums rotted. No matter. The mermaids’ sharp teeth will slice bone and reach the marrow. (Continue Reading…)