Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who submitted their work to Ghostlore: An Audio Fiction Anthology – the quality of submissions was extremely high and I’m delighted that this call inspired so many great stories. We really enjoyed reading the wide range of pieces we received, touching on folklore from around the world. Longlisting, shortlisting, and then selecting the final pieces to join our guest authors, Zoe Gilbert, Signe Maene and Melinda Salisbury, involved some tough decisions. And in the end, we decided that to do the theme justice we would release Ghostlore in two episodes (!) linked by two common themes we saw in many of the submitted stories. These will be:
‘Ghostlore – Wilderness’ and ‘Ghostlore – Hauntings’.
We will be announcing release dates with a trailer shortly – but for now, the fantastic selected stories are making their way to voice actors and to the Alternative Stories & Fake Realities for final production. And I’m delighted to share a sneak peek of the contributor line-up and their stories that will feature in the upcoming episodes below (these are in alphabetical order as production decisions on the order are still being made)!
Episode 1: Ghostlore – Wilderness
- The Goatherd by Cormack Baldwin
- A Ghost of Bones and Bark by Alexandra Beaumont
- The Smiling Folk by E L Crocker
- Excerpt from ‘Mischief Acts’ by Zoe Gilbert
- God is neither man nor ghost by Gessica Sakamoto Martini
- Birth Story by Maria Picone
- Your Name, Repeated by Tamara Rogers
- There is an Instinct by Melinda Salisbury
- The Hobby Lanterns by Cat Voleur
- Spring-Hollow Secret God Sleeping by Lorraine Wilson
Episode 2: Ghostlore – Hauntings
- The Witch by Amy Boucher
- We Cower in a Ruined Castle and Hope Not to Hear a Ghost by Elou Carroll
- Ghost Feet by Ellen Forkin
- Unrest by Vanessa Jae
- Welcome Home by Ai Jiang
- Naart Stuyck by Signe Maene
- Ye Tak the Ghost Road by Callum McSorley
- The Accordionist by Anna Orridge
- A Fate Worse by Marisca Pichette
- The Island of Dolls by Sam W Pisciotta
These amazing stories come together to create the perfect mix of scary, heartbreaking, eerie, unsettling, sad, quiet, fantastical, weird, and beautiful tales, and are inspired by folklore from around the world. We really can’t wait to hear them performed, and share them as part of the Alternative Stories & Fake Realities podcast!
And, if you just can’t wait for Ghostlore’s release, why not check out Alternative Stories’ previous episodes about folklore and fairytales here (all free to listen to on your favourite podcast platforms!)
You can also read more about the talented Ghostlore authors below:
Cormack Baldwin is a speculative fiction writer and editor who emerged from the Alaskan bush one day and mosied down to Oregon. He is the head archivist/Editor-In-Chief of his analog horror and found-document fiction magazine, Archive of the Odd. If you’d like him to tell you fun facts about extinct invertebrates, long-dead people, or the deep ocean, say hello on Twitter @cormackbaldwin. If you’d just like to find his other work, check out cmbaldwin.carrd.co.
When not writing or playing her cello, Alexandra Beaumont has a wanderlust for exploring new places, roaming the countryside, taking part in Live Action Fantasy Role Play and following adventure at every turn. (Meaning she’s often covered in mud, grass and leaves). Her passion for exploring new worlds drives her creative endeavours. Her debut fantasy novel based on Tudor astrology and star-magic, Testament of the Stars, was published in April 2021. She is currently seeking a home for her Ancient Cornish bird folklore and folk-song magic inspired fantasy, which is nominally called Dissonance of Bird Song.
Amy Boucher is a writer and folklorist who focuses on her native Shropshire. Her emphasis is primarily on the interplay between Folklore, history and the paranormal, as well as perceptions of the past through the lens of folk beliefs. She is a passionate advocate of Shropshire’s folklore, ghostlore and local history, and the role these play in preserving memory and heritage. She is currently collating ghost stories from the area, as well as writing an audio drama based on the intrinsic link between the Shropshire landscape and Satanic Folklore.’
Elou Carroll is a graphic designer and freelance photographer who writes. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Hexagon SF Magazine, Apparition Lit, Underland Arcana, Kaleidotrope, In Somnio: A Collection of Modern Gothic Horror (Tenebrous Press), Spirit Machine (Air and Nothingness Press), Grimm & Dread (Quill & Crow) and others. When she’s not whispering with ghosts, she can be found editing Crow & Cross Keys, publishing all things dark and lovely, and spending far too much time on twitter (@keychild). She keeps a catalogue of her weird little wordcreatures on http://www.eloucarroll.com.
E L Crocker is a writer from Manchester. He cut his teeth in horror stories, but in recent years has turned to writing fantasy novels. He recently signed with an agent for Lightfall, the first book in his epic fantasy series which he describes to non-fantasy friends as “Game of Thrones with vampires and werewolves”, which isn’t completely accurate but honestly saves so much time. When not writing he can be found playing video games, watching horror films, and reading and reviewing SFF, horror and murder mystery – and trying to be witty on Twitter (@ELCrocker3)
Ellen Forkin is a chronically ill writer and artist living in windswept Orkney. She loves the folklore of the islands as well as all things myth and magic. Ellen has worked published on The Haar e-zine, Paragraph Planet and an illustrated kids poem on The Dirigible Balloon. She is undecided whether her old farmhouse is haunted. Find her on Instagram and Twitter: @ellen_forkin and Facebook: Ellen Forkin Art.
Zoe Gilbert’s first novel, Folk (Bloomsbury), was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and adapted for BBC Radio (read by Samantha Spiro) and a libretto which will premiere in 2023. Her second novel, Mischief Acts (Bloomsbury), is released in March 2022, and is inspired by the past and future of the Great North Wood, which used to cover a large swathe of South London. Her short stories are published widely, including with Comma Press, The Stinging Fly, Mechanics’ Institute Review, and the British Fantasy Society Journal. Some of her stories have won prizes, including the Costa Short Story Award. Zoe is also the co-founder of London Lit Lab with Lily Dunn and the co-editor with Lily of A Wild and Precious Life (Unbound 2021), an anthology of writers in recovery.
Vanessa Jae writes horrifically beautiful anarchies, reads stories for Apex Magazine and translates for Progressive International. She also collects black hoodies and bruises in mosh pits on Tuesday nights. To read tweets by interesting people follow her at @thevanessajae.
Ai Jiang is a Chinese-Canadian writer, an immigrant from Fujian, and an active member of HWA. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in F&SF, The Dark, PseudoPod, Jellyfish Review, Hobart Pulp, The Masters Review, among others. Find her on Twitter (@AiJiang_) and online (http://aijiang.ca).
Signe Maene is a Belgian writer who is very passionate about folklore. She has worked on several projects with Alternative Stories including an audio drama about selkies. Signe is currently working on a collection of short stories based on Flemish folktales and folklore.
Gessica Sakamoto Martini is a writer from Italy. She has a PhD in Evolutionary Anthropology from Durham University. Her research involved the study of the evolutionary history of Cinderella. Her writing has been published in Corvid Queen and featured in Alternative Stories podcast. On her twitter page @GJMartini she tweets weekly about folklore and fairy-tales symbolism.
Callum McSorley is an author based in Glasgow. His short stories in various genre have been published by New Writing Scotland, Gutter Magazine, Shoreline of Infinity, and Monstrous Regiment, among others. He studied English, Journalism & Creative Writing at the University of Strathclyde, was a Hermann Kesten Scholar in 2014, and in 2019 was shortlisted for The Big Issue Crime Writing Competition. You can find him on Twitter @CallumMcSorley or at his website callummcsorley.com.
Anna Orridge is a short story writer who lives in Croydon. Once an EFL teacher, she now works for an academy trust in London, promoting sustainability in education. Her work often falls into the genre of cli fi. You may remember ‘Backdrop’ – a previous Alternative Stories production, which was adapted from one of her short stories. Anna has always been fascinated by ghosts. With miners on both sides of her family, in Wales and Yorkshire, she is especially drawn to the rich folklore connected to work underground. In ‘The Accordionist’, she explores the distinctively Cornish legend of the Knockers.
Marisca Pichette is a queer creator of monsters and magic. Her work has appeared and is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Fireside Magazine, Fusion Fragment, PseudoPod, PodCastle, and The NoSleep Podcast, among others. She lives in Western Massachusetts, surrounded by bones and whispering trees.
Maria S. Picone/수영 is a Korean American adoptee who won Cream City Review’s 2020 Summer Poetry Prize. She has been published in Tahoma Literary Review, The Seventh Wave, Fractured Lit and more including Best Small Fictions 2021. Her work has been supported by Lighthouse Writers Workshop, GrubStreet, Kenyon Review, and Tin House. She is a 2022 Palm Beach Poetry Festival Kundiman Fellow and Chestnut Review’s managing editor. She is also the poetry editor at Hanok Review and associate editor at Uncharted Mag. Her work explores hybridity, identity, languages, and pop culture. Her website is mariaspicone.com, Twitter @mspicone.
Sam W Pisciotta currently lives in Colorado in the United States. There he maintains and operates his mysterious story generator. He likes his coffee strong, his beer hoppy, and his dogs springy. Find his words in Analog Magazine, Tales to Terrify, and Wyldblood Magazine. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at silo34. And http://www.silo34.com.
Tamara Rogers writes mainly dark, surreal tales with a touch of science fiction. Her stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, The Arcanist, The Molotov Cocktail, and other publications. Her pre-apocalyptic dystopian novel Grind Spark was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2014. She is interested in all things weird in the world of psychology, artificial intelligence and armageddon. You can find her on Twitter @tamrogers, or at www.thedustlounge.com where there’s a strong possibility she’ll be talking about cats.
Melinda Salisbury’s first novel, The Sin Eater’s Daughter, was the bestselling UK YA debut novel of 2015, and collectively her books have been nominated and shortlisted for numerous national and international awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the YA Book Prize, the Branford Boase, the Edgar Awards, the 2016 and 2019 and 2021 Carnegie medals, YALSA Best YA 2022, Eason’s YA Book of the Month, and more. Her books have been published in fifteen countries, to date. Melinda is the author of The Way Back Almanac 2022, and 2023; a modern spin on the traditional almanac, aimed at people who are looking for a way back to a lost love of nature. She lives on the East Sussex coast.
Cat Voleur is a writer of dark, speculative fiction and co-host of the Slasher Radio podcast. Her day job consists of script writing for ever-growing YouTube channels focused on media breakdowns. She currently resides in a house with her army of rescue felines. In addition to her writing, she can often be found reading, gaming, or pursuing her passion of fictional languages.
Having spent many years working in remote corners of the world, Lorraine Wilson now lives by the sea in Scotland writing stories influenced by folklore and the wilderness. Her short fiction has appeared in (amongst others) Strange Horizons, Forge Lit, The Mechanics’ Institute Review and Boudicca Press. Her debut novel, This Is Our Undoing, is currently longlisted for the BSFA Best Novel Award, and her second The Way The Light Bends is coming out in August 2022. She tweets @raine_clouds