3 Favorite Tales: 2 New & 1 Old


My iPod touch is nev­er very far from me.  I’m always lis­ten­ing either to a great sto­ry or to a pod­cast that will give me tips on how to craft one.

I want­ed to share three pod­casts that I’ve added to my list of favorites.  The next time you’re in a lis­ten­ing mood, you can check them out.

1. Clarkesworld: The Womb Fac­to­ry by Peter M. Fer­enczi (April 2012) 

The Womb Fac­to­ry” was an awe­some tale that man­aged to be time­ly and touch­ing all at once.  It speaks to our cur­rent polit­i­cal and social cli­mate regard­ing trade rela­tions with Chi­na as well as issues of infringe­ment and pira­cy.  Then there is Mei, the main char­ac­ter, a young girl, who due to unfor­tu­nate cir­cum­stances is forced to give up so much of her­self in order to earn her right to live.  And yet, what she has can hard­ly be con­sid­ered a life.  Mei’s sen­ti­ments and emo­tions car­ry this heavy tale so well you can feel them just as keen­ly.  Pol­i­tics aside, this sto­ry is also about issues even clos­er to home such as how we val­ue each oth­er, right down to the most basic human lev­el. What is a life worth?  Does mon­ey, sta­tus, race, or gen­der play any part in deter­min­ing one’s val­ue?  Should it?  “The Womb Fac­to­ry” is a mas­ter­piece and I plan on lis­ten­ing to it again.

2. Escape Pod 339: “Run,” Bakri Says by Fer­rett Stein­metz (April 5, 2011) 

Breath­less.  This sto­ry left me breath­less.  The pac­ing is inge­nious, fren­zied, painful.  The main char­ac­ter, Ire­na has a job to do, over and over and over again.  In this awe­some tale, Ire­na has the oppor­tu­ni­ty or the curse of hav­ing to repeat a task until she reach­es her goal.  Like video games, she has a save point, but unlike video games, her task is hard­ly fun or reward­ing.  For­tu­nate­ly the rep­e­ti­tion gives Ire­na the time and expe­ri­ence to reach some rather painful and grue­some real­iza­tions, as well as improve her game.  Unfor­tu­nate­ly, these real­iza­tions force her hand.  Intrigued yet?  You should be.

3. Clarkesworld: Frozen Voice by An Owom­oyela (July 2011) 

I want­ed more.  I want­ed to know how we came to this.  When the sto­ry was over, I want­ed to know what would hap­pen to these chil­dren.  I ached for these chil­dren.  An Owom­oyela man­aged to cre­ate such a full and won­drous world in this sto­ry that it was dif­fi­cult to accept its end.  Addi­tion­al­ly, Rhi­an­na and her younger broth­er are such strong, soli­tary, yet frag­ile chil­dren it was impos­si­ble for me not to fret about their con­di­tion and their future.  This sto­ry has just about every­thing that I love all wrapped up in one: aliens, a future dystopi­an soci­ety, a blend­ing of cul­tures and under­stand­ings, and descrip­tion so keen you can almost smell it.

* I want­ed to share that this site was men­tioned on Clarkesworld’s pod­cast of 03/15/12 in the intro to Bells of Sub­si­dence by Michael John Grist. What a won­der­ful sur­prise!

An Indian Flavored Fairy Tale, It’s Spicy!


I con­sid­er myself a bit of an anom­aly, but not in a bad way.  I am a sur­pris­ing mix of per­sonas.  I love to read.  Writ­ing is my pas­sion and avo­ca­tion.  I am an oncol­o­gy nurse.  I am the fair­ly young moth­er of three amaz­ing­ly sharp chil­dren, two of whom are adults.  I have been mar­ried for almost twen­ty-two years, no divorce.  I sew.  I have a beau­ti­ful organ­ic gar­den in my back yard where I grow herbs and much of the pro­duce I and my fam­i­ly con­sume.  I am of the African Dias­po­ra here in Amer­i­ca and I am an Amer­i­can of the African Dias­po­ra (there is a dif­fer­ence, at least to me).  Although I pret­ty suck at it, I love video games, the more vio­lent the bet­ter.  I love zom­bies and the infect­ed (there is a dif­fer­ence).  I also love the clas­sics.  I almost passed out when I learned about the book Pride and Prej­u­dice and Zom­bies.  Romance and YA (sor­ry if I offend any­one) makes me want to erk.  My pol­i­tics are mid­line as I am some­what reli­gious (although I fail dai­ly at being the best kind­est per­son that I can) but I do have some very lib­er­al lean­ings.  I am a painful­ly extreme intro­vert but I can hold a pret­ty stim­u­lat­ing con­ver­sa­tion.  I am a hijabi, which means that I am very vis­i­bly a Mus­lim.  There’s more to me, I am sure, but I think you get my drift.

I didn’t become a strange mix on pur­pose.  Like all peo­ple I am a prod­uct of my soci­ety, my upbring­ing, my own tastes, ideas and per­cep­tions.  I am unique, as no doubt we all are in var­i­ous ways.  As such I thrive on the unique and as an author I am absolute­ly gid­dy when I come upon a tale that push­es the bound­aries of what some would call “nor­mal”.  I call such tales diver­gent.

I recent­ly lis­tened to an amaz­ing, col­or­ful, lyri­cal fairy tale that absolute­ly blew me away.  You’ll be able to find it on the Pod­cas­tle line­up in your iTunes library or online.  The sto­ry is called “Lavanya and Deepi­ka” writ­ten by Shve­ta Thakrar.  This sto­ry will def­i­nite­ly go on my Diver­gence list as it quick­ly became a favorite.

Lavanya and Deepi­ka” is an Indi­an fla­vored fairy tale about two very dif­fer­ent yet lov­ing twin sis­ters born to a woman who against con­ven­tion had her chil­dren with­out a hus­band.  She became preg­nant through mag­i­cal means.  Gula­bi, the moth­er, raised her daugh­ters in a great palace, and life was good until they were vis­it­ed by a raja from a neigh­bor­ing king­dom who want­ed the most beau­ti­ful daugh­ter and Gulabi’s land.  This sto­ry has mag­i­cal san­dals, fight­ing, and lessons in loy­al­ty and love.

Lis­ten to it, or read.  I know you’ll love it as much as I did.  I give this sto­ry .

Five of My Favorite Podcasts


My com­mute to work is eas­i­ly an hour each way.  That equals 10–12 hours a week on the road.  I often wish that I car-pooled so that I could use that very valu­able time to read.  Thanks to mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy, I do the next best thing.  Ear buds in ears, I read by lis­ten­ing.  The iTunes library and Podi­o­books is full of free con­tent, some of which is hon­est­ly quite awful and not worth the time it takes to down­load.  On the oth­er hand, a lot of it is total­ly pro­fes­sion­al and smart.

Since Star­la Huch­ton was good enough to write a guest post dis­cussing the ben­e­fits of pod­cast­ing, I thought that I would share five of my favorites.  Be fore­warned that the short list below is a pret­ty mixed bag, but that also describes me to a tee.

1.  Heav­en­field by I.G. Hulme  


There are four parts to this fan­tas­tic sci­ence fic­tion series, three of which are already pod­cast.  The fourth will be avail­able in ear­ly April.  Heav­en­field won the Podi­o­book 2009 Founder’s Choice Award, which is impres­sive.  If you lis­ten to pod­cast nov­els as much I do, then you know that some peo­ple shouldn’t even voice act their own sto­ries, but I.G. Hulme , the author of Heav­en­field, does an awe­some job of it.  The writ­ing is smart and sol­id enough to make you will­ing to sus­pend dis­be­lief for the dura­tion of the tale.  I just found out that all four parts are avail­able for down­load onto Kin­dle at a steal of a deal.

2.  Shad­ow­mag­ic by John Lena­han  

When I first start­ed lis­ten­ing to this fan­ta­sy tale, I hon­est­ly thought it was over the edge with goofi­ness.  We start with a teenag­er who is trans­port­ed to anoth­er place and time and to say he doesn’t quite fit in, is an under­state­ment.  Soon the goofi­ness was just plain charm­ing.  I like this action packed fan­ta­sy adven­ture, and I love the way each scene ends with a mini cliffhang­er.  There are two books in this series and I believe Mr. Lena­han has plans for a third.  You can find both books at Podi­o­books and in iTunes.  They’re also avail­able in paper­back and Kin­dle for­mats.

3.  Emperor’s Edge by Lind­say Buro­ker  

Emperor's Edge Fantasy Book Cover

I’m pret­ty new to steam­punk but I think I’m in for the long haul.  I love the genre.  My first taste of steam­punk was with Emperor’s Edge.  Admit­ted­ly, this series is light on steam but that takes noth­ing away from the mot­ley cast of char­ac­ters who keep get­ting caught up in one dan­ger­ous scheme after anoth­er.  Lind­say Buro­ker has already com­plet­ed three of the six books she has planned for this series. Cur­rent­ly, Emperor’s Edge is avail­able through Podi­o­books and iTunes and it’s read by Star­la Huch­ton who does a smash­ing job of it.  Dark Cur­rents, the sec­ond book in the series will soon be avail­able through Podi­o­books as well.  I’m excit­ed.  You can also down­load Ms. Buroker’s books to Kin­dle.

4.  Inside Islam: Dia­logues and Debates  

I’m a Mus­lim woman who is Amer­i­can.  I work in an indus­try that brings me into con­tact with peo­ple of every pos­si­ble affil­i­a­tion.  I often find myself in the posi­tion of spokesper­son, whether I want to be or not, for an entire group of peo­ple that oth­er than faith, are as diverse from one anoth­er as snowflakes.  The fol­low­ing, quot­ed from the Inside Islam descrip­tion is exact­ly why I love this pod­cast so much:  “Inside Islam is designed to spark con­ver­sa­tion and inter­ac­tion about Islam, and to spot­light the diver­si­ty of dia­logues and debates with­in Islam as well as with oth­er reli­gions and com­mu­ni­ties.”  I believe in tol­er­ance and coex­is­tence.  I total­ly love this pod­cast series.

5.  Clarkesworld  

One word: PHENOMENAL.  Clarkesworld is a spec­u­la­tive fic­tion mag­a­zine that offers three pod­cast sto­ries per month, a dig­i­tal mag­a­zine avail­able on Kin­dle, and a web­site with tons of free con­tent.  The hostess/voice tal­ent is Kate Bak­er and she is a gem.  I can’t say that I like each and every sto­ry, but this is mere­ly a mat­ter of per­son­al taste.  Each tale is with­out a doubt expert­ly writ­ten and read.  Some of my favorites are A Jar of Good­will by Tobias Buck­ell, The Book of Phoenix by Nne­di Oko­rafor, Lay­ing the Ghost by Eric Brown, and Frozen Voice by An Owom­oyela just to name a few.  Many pod­casts come and go on my iPod, but Clarkesworld is per­ma­nent.

If you haven’t lis­tened to any of these, I hope you’ll give them a try and let me know what you think.  If you have lis­tened to any of these, leave a com­ment below.

Don’t be shy.  Tell me.  What are your favorite pod­casts?