In the previous podcast spotlights, I covered the three Escape Artists podcasts and their weird uncle Drabblecast. This month I’ll be talking about Toasted Cake, the idiosyncratic flash fiction podcast that’s edited, produced, published and often narrated by Tina Connolly who is probably best known for her books Ironskin, Copperhead, and Silverblind published through Tor Books–the last of which I’m reading right now (to be reviewed sometime soon) and which I’d highly recommend. If you listen to any fiction podcasts, her voice may already be familiar to you, because she does a lot of voice work.
Flash fiction is an interesting art form. Even though it’s still prose it can often have a very different feel from longer short stories because every word has to count even more. A well-written flash story can hit you like a punch in the face, and then it’s over before you have time to react. It’s a form that suits itself to things that can be difficult to pull off in other forms, quick emotional punches, twist endings, weird but vivid world building. And even if you don’t like a flash story, it might take 5 or 10 minutes to listen/read the whole thing and then you’re on to something completely different. It’s great to keep the driver awake on road trips, too, because the constant change-up of settings and characters keeps your mind more active. Flash fiction is my favorite form of prose, and Toasted Cake is my favorite source of flash fiction.
Tina talks about a variety of other topics after the episode, things happening in her life, books she’s read or movies she’s watched, etc, but she keeps it short and sweet–I feel like I’ve gotten to know her some from these segments, but they’re never too long.
On a related side note, Diabolical Plots (the zine that I co-edit with Anthony Sullivan) is open for our very first open fiction submission window for the month of December. If you want to know what kinds of stories I like, the list of my favorite Toasted Cake episodes are all great examples in the word count range we’re looking for.
Tina Connolly launched the first episode of Toasted Cake in January 2012 with the intention to run the podcast for a year and then see how she liked it to decide whether or not to do more. I thought that was a great attitude to take on the project. Toasted Cake won a Parsec award for best new fiction podcast in that first year. After the year was up, Tina decided she would indeed like to do more and has since run a second year and the third year is almost finished and as far as I know will continue on into its fourth year. She seems to be having a lot of fun with it, and I know I’ve been enjoying the ride.
- “The Girl Who Was Loved by the Sea” by Spencer Ellsworth
- “Deathbed” by Caroline M. Yoachim
- “Blood Willows” by Caroline M. Yoachim
- “The Oracle of DARPA” by Bogi Takács
- “On Writing ‘How an Autobot Sunk the Titanic‘” by J. Bradley
- “Through the Cooking Glass” by Vylar Kaftan
- “The Shallows” by Nathaniel Lee
- “The Front Line” by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
- “Hazelwitch v. Hazelwitch” by K.G. Jewell
- “The Occupation of the Architect” by Jason Heller
- “The Choir Invisible” by Anatoly Belilovsky
- “Taking Care of Ma” by Lee Hallison
- “Dear Ms Moon” by Liz Argall
- “After the Earthquake” by Caroline M. Yoachim
- “Zing Zou Zou” by C.S.E. Cooney
MY OWN WORK
Three of my own stories have appeared on Toasted Cake, which also happen to be the three favorite flash fiction stories of what I’ve written. “This Is Your Problem, Right Here” was my first appearance there, about dealing with reports of improbable problem reports from plumbers. Followed by “What Makes You Tick”, probably my most popular story to date about an alien autopsy from the POV of the alien. And “Turning Back the Clock” about a world where the boundary between time zones literally transports you forward or backward in time by one hour.
Next month I’ll cover the Dunesteef podcast, headed by podcasting duo Rish Outfield and Big Anklevich.