PodCastle 489: Emshalur’s Hand Stays

Show Notes

Rated PG-13

Emshalur’s Hand Stays

By Anaea Lay

I returned to Irishem with three sources of power: a letter from Kelian, a clear memory of why I left, and the space between my hands. The letter proved my right to enter as a citizen at the outer gate. It also got me past the boy keeping Kelian’s door when I arrived, though the house was closed for the evening. “Sealed save for family and Emshalur,” go the ritual words of denial.

Though the boy gave me entrance into the hallway, I had another obstacle to pass before admittance to the hearth room. Before seeing Kelian again. A young woman with Kelian’s narrow eyes and full lips, but a flatter nose and a head of glossy curls, emerged from the depths of the house mere moments after the boy disappeared to fetch a member of the family. “Tyman says you have a letter to admit you. You will show it to me.”

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PodCastle 488: Crossing

Show Notes

Rated PG-13


by A. C. Wise

Emma Rose is four years old the first time she enters the ocean alone. All her life, she’s lived with the beach at the end of her street. Her parents carried her into the waves the week she was born. When she learned to stand, they taught her to float. Older still, they showed her how to stretch her body out long, how to reach, and turn her head to breathe, letting the water guide her like a friend.

Now, her parents watch from towels on the shore. Sun reflects off the Dover chalk cliffs so they shine brilliant white. The wind plays with Emma Rose’s curls, and the tide garlands her toes with foam. She steps carefully and the water swirls up to her knees, her waist. There’s a small moment of doubt, but surely the water will keep her safe. She knows it as well as she knows the sound of her father’s voice, the touch of her mother’s hand.

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PodCastle 487: A Whisper in the Weld

Show Notes

Rated PG-13

A Whisper in the Weld

By Alix E. Harrow

Isa died in a sudden suffocation of boiling blood and iron cinder in her mouth; she returned to herself wearing a blue cotton dress stained with fresh tobacco. She was younger and leaner, as she’d been when she first met Leslie Bell. Her skin shone dark and warm without the black dust of the mill ground into it.

After death, ghosts are sculpted like cold clay into the shapes they wore when they were most alive. Some people are taken awfully by surprise. Women whose whole lives were about their husbands and homes are, without warning, precisely as they were when they met a stranger’s eyes on a crowded streetcar. Men who had the kinds of careers that involved velvet-lined train cars and cigar smoke are suddenly nine years old, running their spectral fingers through the tall grasses and thinking of nothing at all.

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ARTEMIS RISING Is Open for Submissions!

September is here, and we are open for submissions for ARTEMIS RISING, our fourth annual month-long event across the Escape Artists podcasts featuring stories by women and nonbinary authors in genre fiction.

As your guest-editor, here’s what I’d like to see…

I know tough older women. Firefighters for the national forestry service. Mechanics. Veterans. Founders of engineering departments. I’ve been honored and humbled to call them sisters, mentors, and guides. They are weather-beaten and grizzled, and no less women for it. The live, love, and crack jokes. Some have families; some don’t. But there’s a perception that these women aren’t women because of their vocations, and those vocations have been the province of heroic male characters in fantasy for as long as I can remember.

If you want to explore archetypes, go deeper. “Strong female character” is as much a box as “hero’s girlfriend.” Show me complexity, experience, insight. Take maiden-mother-crone and shift it into youth-warrior-sage. I want warriors and sages in spirit, even if they never pick up a weapon. I want female heroes, non-binary heroes—and most of all, I want a damn good story.

If your best doesn’t quite match the above, but still fits the spirit of Artemis Rising, send it. Write what feels true… but for PodCastle’s slice of Artemis Rising this year, that’s what feels true to me.

Head on over to our submittable portal to submit now.

Setsu Uzume
Guest editor, ARTEMIS RISING