I returned the contract to Podcastle this morning for “All of the Cuddles With None of the Pain,” a story about the power of love and the limits of online customer service.
I had submitted the story for the annual Artemis Rising event, a celebration of authors who identify as women or non-binary. Though not selected for the event, I was delighted to learn that Podcastle wanted to publish (and podcast) the story as part of their regular schedule.
As usual for me these days, this story started as an exercise to begin a piece of fiction with an instructional tone and move into a more conversational one. I chose to start with a fictional e-commerce FAQ that twists into a sort of conversation as the instructional piece. For the conversational piece, I used a series of message board posts in the same online forum over time.
The subject matter is my take on, and homage to, the traditional “toys become real” fantasy trope in a contemporary setting. I was flipping through TV channels one night and saw a news feature about reborn dolls and their collectors. Intrigued, I watched a few Youtube videos and read a few news stories about reborns. When I went to write the exercise, a fictional reborn sales company, and an equally fictional reborn “parent” and her reborn daughter showed up on the page — and the story took off from there.
I’ll post again when I have more information about when the story will be available.