Lullabies for a Clockwork Child

Just over a year ago, I sold a story to Pseudopod, the weekly horror podcast. And now, it’s finally up!

I want to stress that this is a horror story, in a horror podcast. As the host, Alasdair, is fond of saying: horror fiction is specifically designed to make you feel uncomfortable. If you don’t like that feeling, perhaps skip listening to this one and wait until my next sale comes around.

If you would prefer to listen to only my story (and honestly, my story is not that frightening; only 4 or 5 people killed, max! I promise!) you can skip to around the 22 minute mark. But I warn you, the story immediately after mine will make you squirm in absolutely every sense of that word.

So, warnings out of the way, sit back and enjoy a story about how love can make you blind, how you always want the best for your children, and why you should never, never wind that mainspring.

Turns out I write horror too

I’m very pleased to announce the sale of my story “Lullabies for a Clockwork Child” to the horror podcast Pseudopod.

I’ve been listening to Pseudopod for a long time (I first blogged about them going on 3 years ago), and it simply can’t be beat for horror audiofiction. I actually write a decent amount of horror, but this is the first I’ve sold.

I have a very active imagination (you might say over active) and therefore as a child I suffered a deep-seated fear of the dark. I spent most every night of my childhood scared witless, and had all sorts of tricks to “forget” to turn the light off. When I was older I slept with the tv on every night so as not to be alone in the dark. (I should say it was rather being NOT alone in the dark that bothered me, but I digress…)

Naturally, I was drawn to horror like a moth to a flame, tempting fate a little too often even though I knew it was a terrible idea and I would regret it later. I tried to ignore my natural fascination, but unfortunately my best friend Chris was also a bit of a horror buff and he subjected me to hours and hours (and hours) of horror movies until eventually I sort of inoculated myself against the genre.

At that point I sort of threw in the towel and said, “Why not?” immersing myself in horror movies, novels, and short stories, and burning myself on that particular flame over and over and over again. What can I say? I guess on some level I like to be terrified.

As always, I’ll keep you posted when it goes up, and in the meantime feel free to check out some of the other creepy tales over at Pseudopod.

Fiction Podcasts Part I – The Big 3

I spend a lot of time listening to audio fiction. I mostly download full length audio books from the library, but it later I discovered that there are a lot of sites and podcasts out there that do weekly episodes of short fiction.

I have always enjoyed short fiction, but it seems to work especially well in this format. It usually takes me a couple of weeks to listen to a novel, but I can do a piece of short fiction in a day or two, maximum. There are advantages to each length, but I really have been enjoying getting in the car and anticipating a totally new story. It provides great variety.

Most of these have been going for a long time, so there are hundreds of episodes out there. So, you can go browse these sites yourself, or you can do what I did: go off one of the “best of” lists out there on the Internet. I’ve been using the lists over at Diabolical Plots (Get it? Plots? Diabolical Plots?) to get a run-down of where to start. Now certainly my tastes aren’t exactly the same, and I’m sure I’m missing out on some great stories, and on the other hand I don’t always love the stories selected, but it gives me a pretty good flavor of what’s going on there.

When it comes to speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and/or horror) podcasts, there are three that sort of stand out from the rest as being especially well known and high quality, one for each genre. I don’t think you can really go wrong with any of these, so just pick the appropriate one for the genre you like (or pick all three if you can’t choose, like I did). Again, all of these feature really good short fiction, which can be downloaded totally free. What’s not to love?

Escape Pod – Science Fiction (best of lists here and here).

My super, super condensed list of favorites include stories that vary from hilarious (Connie, Maybe, or The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake) to poignant and sad (Barnaby in Exile). Anybody who thinks science fiction can’t be moving should really check the last one out!

PodCastle – Fantasy (best of lists here and here).

This one really runs the gamut of fantasy, from the more traditional fantasy (Sir Hereward and Mr. Fitz Go to War Again) to other, very dark fantasy (The Mermaid’s Tea Party). Note that fantasy here doesn’t necessarily mean traditional sword and sorcery, but many other things in between (take Sir Hereward and Mr. Fitz up there…very interesting and non-traditional).

Pseudopod – Horror (best of here and here).

Horror is a genre that I just can’t help but come back to. I love it! So I have a lot of personal favorites here: Hometown HorribleThe Evil-EaterSuicide Notes, Written by an Alien MindThe Button Bin,  and Bottle Babies, to name a few. Particularly, you should stick with Hometown Horrible. It starts slow, but wow does it finish strong!

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I cover some of the smaller fiction podcasts!