Interview With Podcast Creator Lory Martinez {Latinx Heritage Month Series 2020}

For the fifth post in my Latinx Heritage Month Series, today’s guest is Lory Martinez, podcast creator / producer and journalist, based in France! If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I’ve adored her audio drama podcast, Mija Podcast and I’m thrilled to be highlighting a Latina creator in the podcasting space! 🎙✨

Here’s Lory to talk more about Mija Podcast and what listeners can expect:

Mija Podcast is an audionovela that tells the story of an immigrant family across generations in the form of short 10 minute episodes. Each story tell the story of a different person, their journey to the host country, their joys, their sorrows, etc. It’s an emotional rollercoaster like your favorite telenovela, but in audio form! Season 1 is about a Colombian American immigrant family, Season 2 is about a Franco-Chinese family, and all episodes are available in English, French, Spanish and Mandarin versions for the world to hear.”

Next, I asked Lory about the inspiration behind her podcast and if there were any memorable moments during the creation process:

“Mija Podcast was inspired by my own family’s immigration journey from Cali and Bogota Colombia to the United States. I wanted to create an audio drama that pays homage to their journey and the journey that so many Latin-American immigrants make to the United States. A memorable moment was interviewing family members for inspiration, I conducted research on the region where they came from, their history and used that as a base for the fiction series. Our producers in Bogota and NYC were wonderful, with their help I was able to document their stories in a very real way. My parents were so excited to be a part of the project and the best moment was when they told me they were proud of me for celebrating our culture through the show.”

What really makes this podcast stand out is through the in-depth, heartfelt character profiles with each episode. Each one delves deep into the larger meaning of family and home! I then asked Lory if there was a particular character in Season 1 she enjoyed writing and what she enjoyed the most while writing about family:

“I really enjoyed writing Tatika’s episode, specifically the scene where she left Bogota. It’s based on my mother’s journey from Bogota to Jackson Heights. In writing it I wanted people to hear all of the emotions she might have had: excitement, sadness, nervousness, and joy. I think a lot of the time we talk about the immigrant journey we only talk about what happens when we get there, not really about leaving so that was particularly fun. I also connected with my mother’s story more, because I myself immigrated to Europe at around the same age. So as I wrote the scenes, I felt like we were feeling the same things during that last day at home.”

As Lory herself drew from her own Colombian background to create the Mija Podcast, I asked her if there were any specific moments she enjoyed writing and what it was like to explore her Colombian heritage through this contemporary story:

“I really enjoyed researching Colombian history. I was born in NYC, to two immigrant parents, and though they transmitted their culture to me as much as they could, there were still a lot of things missing. I never learned Colombia’s history in school, you know?

So for me it was such an honor and a humbling experience to fill those gaps in my knowledge to better tell the story. In terms of particular moments, loved writing about “ El cacumen” it’s a slang word for street smarts, but it ended up becoming the heartbeat of the show ( it was signaled by a drum sound). I also wrote as being much more of a symbol of our hope and resilience as immigrants. El cacumen represents the idea that: YES, we can do it, we have what it takes, and nothing should get in the way of our success. I loved being able to insert that concept into all the episodes to reiterate the point that immigrants are strong and can do whatever they set their minds to.”

Next we discussed: Writing! Each story from Mija’s family members stands on its own, but the further you make your way through the series you begin to see how they all connect. The storytelling is very beautiful and feels personal. I wondered how Lory found the writing voice and style for the show:

“It was a slow process at first, finding the voice of Mija. Initially I drafted a multigenerational fiction with many different voice actors, a kind of 100 years of solitude plot with tons of different characters. But I realized I needed to simplify it to make it not only understandable, but also relatable in translation! So the way I did the writing was outlining all the episodes and then writing them each in order. Each script had to have sound design, and I wanted each character to have a kind of theme sound/song. For example Rocky, the dad, is a “pollo choto,” he’s always with his mom, like a little baby chick. So there was always the little chick sound in his episode. In writing the son, “Mano,” I’d reuse the same sound to show the connection between the characters, he’s like his dad, always with his mama. And the order of the episodes had to be just right, because you need to meet the mom and dad before you meet the son. And then the older generation, for their stories to make sense you have to connect them to the first 4. So there were always these sound links, and moments where you’d see the characters interact.

As you progress through the season and meet everyone you get the sense of family, of how the mother and daughter and grandmother and grandfather would have interacted. So that influenced the stories and anecdotes I chose to focus on in each episode. I always wanted to make sure the episode that preceded the one I was writing introduced some aspect of the next character.”

As not only the creator and writer, but also the voice of Mija in Season 1, she discussed what that experience was like as well:

“It was wild. I speak English, French and Spanish. And though Spanish is my mother tongue, I’d never voiced audio in Spanish before. French, I’d done a little of, in some independent podcasts I’d worked on but never Spanish. I had lived in France for about 4 years at that point and Spanish was less a part of my daily life, outside of calls with my family in Spanish, I wasn’t using it as much. So it was a process of relearning the fluidity of speech. Of rereading phrases out loud until they sounded natural. I still have a slight accent in Spanish, it’s funny, when Colombians hear me, they definitely hear a Colombian accent, but the giveaway is that is doesn’t really belong to a particular region, it’s a kind of mixed thing, that comes from being raised in NYC. There’s also a lot of Spanglish thrown in there. So in voicing the espanol, I rediscovered my mother language. Voicing the Spanish version felt like coming home. And I have to admit, when I recorded that last episode, it was the Spanish version that made me cry.”

Lory then discussed how much it meant to her that despite the Latinx-focus of her podcast that listeners from everywhere connect with Mija’s story:

“I think the main thing I wanted to make sure of was that though it’s Latinx, anybody can listen to Mija. And part of the reason I produced it in English and French as well was to share that message, that immigrant stories are universal, that whether they are in the US, or France or wherever in the world, they are feeling the same things. I especially loved hearing from listeners outside the latinx community, who saw themselves in Mija, because their parents had gone through it too. So for me it was this double intention of : Transmitting latinx culture to the world, and also transmitting the immigrant experience in general.”

Then Lory delved into her experience as a podcast creator, being a Latina podcaster, and any podcast recommendations she has from Latine creators:

“I worked in radio before getting into podcasts so for me podcasting was a medium that gave me the freedom to explore niche topics that weren’t exactly for general audiences. When I first started in podcasting, the topics I was exploring were multiculturalism, and multilingualism and expatriation. It was 2015, and I hadn’t really explored fiction as an option. In reality, one of the first fiction podcasts that I listened to was Welcome to Nightvale, so it was very science fiction. But in making Mija I wanted to make something more realistic. I listened to some old audiodramas in Spanish, like Kaliman, to learn a little more about sound design, and just made my own thing. For fiction I highly recommend Guerra 3 from Podium podcasts in Spain, and for interview format, I highly recommend Latina to Latina. It really gives you the sense that even your idols went through the same doubts and questions on their journey to success!”

What stood out to me about Mija Podcast was that it’s not only told in English, but is also available in Spanish and French, it’s wonderful to know that people from all over can enjoy Mija’s story! I asked Lory whether this was planned early on and what reception has been like seeing her podcast available in many languages:

“Yes, as the flagship show of Studio Ochenta, my podcast production company, mija was always going to be in multiple languages. At Ochenta, our motto is raising voices across cultures, so that was always at the core of every version of the show. The reception has been great. It is still in the Top 5 of Fiction and Drama podcasts in Spain, even a year after it’s release! It also hit number one in drama in France. I’m especially proud that the second season of Mija, which was released in Mandarin, hit #1 across all podcasts in mainland China! For me it’s humbling to see that this latina led production, with a title in Spanish: Mija, a word that means so much for our community, ended up touching so many people around the world. That no matter what anyone says, our stories are worth hearing.”

To conclude our interview I wondered what books or podcasts Lory was currently enjoying:

“I devoured Clap when You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo when it came out. She has such a beautiful way of writing. I also recently read Exhalation by Ted Chiang and have become obsessed with reading his short stories. One of my favorites is about a language actually. It’s called The Great Silence and talks about how humanity is so obsessed with deciphering sounds from space, that we don’t think to decipher those of our animal neighbors. Finally, I spent quarantine re-reading 100 years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I recently bought the Spanish language edition and am enjoying being able to compare. It’s definitely a book I constantly come back to for inspiration, especially as a Colombian American creator.”

Thank you to Lory for joining me on the final week of my Latinx Heritage Month series! There’s a couple more posts still planned for this week and I just want to say thank you for joining me thus far in the series. It’s been so much fun celebrating Latine voices, stories and creators!

You can listen to Lory’s podcast through: Apple, Spotify and the Studio Ochenta website!

Today’s Latinx-owned indie bookstore I’m highlighting is Mil Mundos located in Brooklyn!

Mija Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Mija PodcastMija Podcast created by Lory Martinez

Release Date: September 25, 2019

Episodes: 14 (Across 2 Seasons)

Summary: Hosted by a narrator known only as Mija (daughter in Spanish), each episode tells the story of how members of her family experience immigration.

My Thoughts: Mija is a phenomenal podcast everyone should listen to! With each episode, our charming narrator delves into her family’s history, Colombian heritage, and what it means to a Latina living in New York City. Martinez layers such deep character profiles across the series, weaving together a heartfelt tale of family, growing up, and the meaning of home!

Where audio drama fiction is filled with an abundance of sci-fi and fantasy tales, its nice to see podcasts like Mija that delve into modern-day contemporary to deliver a story so heartfelt and authentic, it reminds me why podcasting is one of the best spaces for fictional storytelling right now!

Throughout each episode of the Mija Podcast, our narrator (Mija) chronicles her family history from parents to cousins, even brother and grandparents! In doing so, she delves into her Colombian roots and heritage, while also exploring what it means to be a Latina (Colombian-American) in New York City.

The writing is charming, moving, and delivers personal, complex character profiles in under 10 minutes. From the very first episode I fell in love with this podcast because as someone with Latin-American roots, there’s such deeply interwoven messages about family, that really is are at the heart of Latinx culture. One of the most distinct messages that really builds over the course of this first season is that family really is connected, regardless of distance.

While each of the 8 episodes does chronicle a different family member, you begin to see how they overlap as you delve deeper into Mija’s Colombian roots, especially as we travel with Mija across different timelines.

Sound design is fantastic, not only when it comes to the exceptional soundtrack and sfx, but also Mija’s narration in general, as it explores Latinx-American culture, touches on Colombian history, immigration, and spotlighting Colombian representation. Also its no surprise that Spanish is organically woven into the narrative, but just having it spoken aloud in a fictional (but very real) story was just beautiful to hear.

Told through a first and 3rd-person perspective, the storytelling really is beautifully written and so heartfelt. You can’t help but feel such JOY when listening to Mija as it puts the focus on family not only its history, but legacy and the important values that family passes down.

In fiction, I personally feel like there is still such a long way to go in terms of Latinx rep., but podcasts such as Mija remind me that is happening little by little. Stories of hope, joy, family, are important to hear from all cultures and Martinez has really made that a hallmark of this series.

From the values, stories about traveling to visit relatives, how each family member is connected to Mija, etc. these are all pieces of much larger story that I really felt connected with and hopefully you will to.

I won’t delve into too many plot-specifics because this really is a story you need to experience for yourself! You won’t be disappointed.

While my family isn’t Colombian, hearing Mija’s stories in a way felt like hearing my family’s stories too.

Also what makes the Mija Podcast such an accessible one is that it’s available in French, English, and Spanish. Even more wonderful is that Season 2, focuses on a Chinese family who now lives in Paris!

Podcasts such as Mija are absolute gems in audio drama fiction that deliver stories you really can’t get anywhere else. Please listen to this fantastic podcast, I got through the entirety of Season 1 in 1 sitting and can’t recommend it enough, add this one to your list!

Mija Podcast is a heartfelt tale about family and home! The writing is poetic, charming, and explores deeply complex themes! With each episode, Mija delves into the life of a different family member and tells their story. Martinez has crafted a truly unforgettable podcast you don’t want to miss!

Victoriocity Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Victoriocity PodcastVictoriocity created by Chris Jugden and Jen Sugden

Release Date: October 6, 2017

Episodes: 17 (2 Seasons)

Summary: A detective comedy drama || Even Greater London, 1887. In this vast metropolis, Inspector Archibald Fleet and journalist Clara Entwhistle investigate a murder, only to find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy of impossible proportions.

My Thoughts: Victoriocity is a triumph in audio drama fiction! Set in 1887, Even Greater London, crime journalist Clara Entwhistle and inspector Archibald Fleet find themselves teaming up to solve a murder and along the way, become tangled in a conspiracy! Those who enjoy ensemble casts, and clever humor, interwoven with murder mystery should NOT miss out on this spectacular podcast, now in its 2nd Season!

Today I’m bringing a podcast review that was (*let me check my calendar) about 3 months in the making! Its only because I feel like audio drama reviews require a different muscle than writing book reviews for me personally. But, I also wanted to make sure this review makes it clear that I adore this podcast with all my heart and more people need to listen to it! Do you  LOVE dynamic characters, characters solving murders, conspiracy, a brilliant and comedic duo? How about witty humor and even more quirky characters all spotlighted through fantastic storytelling? Then let me introduce you to: VICTORIOCITY 🎙💖✨

Victoriocity delivers the kind of charming and clever storytelling that just cannot be recreated! The fusion of steampunk, murder-mystery, and comedy wrapped up into the setting of an alternate-Victorian London, doesn’t cement Victoriocity into one specific genre and that’s its beauty.

Set in 1887 Even Greater London, right away we’re introduced to inspector Archibald Fleet who’s tasked with meeting up with prominent scientist, Dr. Salik on his return to London. But, right away we can tell Salik is a prime target, perhaps its for his groundbreaking work on the Tower, which powers much of London?

Next were introduced to Clara Entwhistle who is a spunky kind of character, she’s unconventional and eager to break away from societal expectations thrust upon her by her mother. She finds herself taking up the position of a crime reporter upon her first visit to London, arriving from the countryside and ready to get started.

Early on in Season 1 you can sense their equally dynamic personalities when they’re doing their own thing, but it’s when they come together you see how brilliantly Clara and Fleet’s partnership takes the story in the best of directions!

Throughout the first season, they team up to gather clues and find potential suspects in order to figure out who killed the scientist, and why.

“Describing the richness and scale of Even Greater London, is a task that has sent many people quite mad…”

The writing is descriptive and the comedy that’s present not only in the dialogue, but interwoven throughout the 3rd person narration, is absolute genius! The quirks and details of this sprawling metropolis you’re introduced to as the series goes on, build pockets of the world in unique ways that set each place apart as you follow Clara and Fleet on their journey.

Moments of silence, repetition, or in-the-moment detail craft a distinct comedic undertone that’s present throughout the entirety of the show, even in the most dire situations.

A podcast like Victoriocity, knows the amount of care required to delve deep into its characters, world, complex mystery and that’s highlighted with each episode. It’s brilliantly ambitious in its storytelling and is unlike any other fiction podcast out there! With each quirky new character that Fleet and Clara meet on their trail to solve this mystery, the more we as listeners get immersed into the unique setting and atmosphere that’s crafted.

I also appreciate that because this series is very story-driven, it’s the kind of podcast where you really need to listen to each and every line. Without that, you may miss on key details that help you to figure out more to Even Greater London, Clara, Fleet, or the underlying conspiracy.

The jokes and humor are structured in a way where they always deliver and that’s because of how cleverly the plot/dialogue work together to make each episode unforgettable.

Let me tell you, if you adore ensemble casts, quirky characters, and detailed, expansive settings, you’ll want to listen to Victoriocity and get introduced to what Even Greater London has to offer.

The voice acting is phenomenal! Each voice actor brings a distinct energy to each and every character present in the show and really brings them to life! Clara and Fleet are 2 of my favorite characters in this series and seeing them grow along the journey of Season 1 and cementing their partnership just left me in tears by the last episode!

As someone studying journalism myself, Clara is easily the character I identified the most with! She’s like me and so unlike me in many ways its hard to describe. But, I will say its her confidence, enthusiasm, and inspirational / positive attitude that resonated deeply with me throughout this first season. I can’t wait to see what adventures her & Fleet get into next.

Victoriocity is a brilliant audio drama that introduces you to the sprawling and expansive world of Even Greater London! You’ll get immersed in the conspiracy that the inspector and journalist duo are eager to solve, all the while getting captivated by the magnificent storytelling, humor, world-building, and genius cast of characters! Start listening to this podcast right now, you will not be disappointed!

Flyest Fables Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

flyest fables podcastFlyest Fables created by Morgan Givens

Release Date: October 1, 2018

Episodes: 8

Running Time: Episodes range from 15 to 26 minutes

Summary: Flyest Fables brings you anthology style and critically acclaimed hopepunk fables for the 21st century. Created by Morgan Givens.

My Thoughts: Flyest Fables is an anthology audio drama podcast! There’s a magical book and an even more magic tale inside, just waiting to be read! Merging contemporary with fantasy, this is an inspiring podcast that showcases brilliant storytelling!

As my audio drama podcast lists grows as high as my TBR, I’ve made it a goal for 2019 to get back into listening to podcasts and review them more!

My first podcast of 2019 is a 2018 debut titled, Flyest Fables!

Created by Morgan Givens, this anthology-style audio drama is a podcast that focuses on black and brown protagonists who encounter a magical book with their name mysteriously engraved on the cover and get immersed in a fable that’s more than it seems upon first glance!

Episode 1, “Like Little Mice Mocking His Humiliation,” follows 6th-grader Antoine leaving class before the final bell! He’s trying to outrun bullies who’ve bothered him since kindergarten and luckily finds a fence near the school with a hole he hadn’t noticed before.

From there he passes through to escapes the bullies, but as he continues walking he soon finds a bench and a book with his name on it!

Filled with blank pages, it isn’t until he finds his moment of peace when he starts singing that the book quickly fill with words!

Not just any words, but a story of a far away land and a princess on a quest!

He looks at the book one more time and gets lost in the story of the Princess Keisha from the Kingdom of Orleans.

It turns out she’s been on a quest and to return home with a flower that would heal her mother, the Queen.

But as she trudges through the desert, she’s unsure if she’ll make it back in time because the journey itself was filled with lots of misfortune. As weeks pass though, she thinks back to the quartermaster and her mother’s words that stay with her as she finds her kingdom slowly getting closer and closer!

“I am not behind you, why do spend so much time there?…Or [is it that you] spend so much time looking at the past?…”

“It would be so easy to turn around…but I will not…”

As the story starts getting good, Antoine’s phone starts ringing from his mother to pick him up and realizes he’d been transported into that story for hours! As he tries to explain to her what happened, he keeps the book by his side waiting to return to that magical tale!

The writing was incredibly atmospheric! Through the 3rd person narrative, there is such depth to the unique world of this podcast and especially the main characters Antoine and Princess Keisha, but also the Kingdom Of Orleans.

Givens brilliantly juxtaposes his main protagonist with that of the fictional character to offer them and the listener with inspiring messages of hope and courage!

Antoine is a boy who’s running away from his bullies, but he gets introduced to a brave heroine who is facing her obstacles and not giving up!

Though I’ve only listened to this first episode, I can’t wait to hear more!

The voice acting was great! I haven’t looked too much into it, but I think creator Morgan Givens does all the voices and all the characters are given so much depth where I feel I know a good amount about them from just a few lines!

The atmosphere of Flyest Fables itself also delivers a feeling of optimism and hope which I love! The inspiring tales and the main characters who come to life are also sure to inspire listeners!

This young adult anthology above all showcases and spotlights positivity through its storytelling and I love that!

Speaking of storytelling, that is definitely another fantastic element to this audio drama! Even when faced with challenges, its the power of tales that remind our protagonist of his courage!

I haven’t taken a look at the other episodes yet, but I see the overarching theme of protagonists finding this magical book and with that, the stories remind them of the magic they have within themselves to channel their own strengths & bravery!

Flyest Fables is a brilliant podcast that spotlights the power and importance of storytelling! The fantastic and atmospheric writing deliver not only a unique world, but great protagonists who offer inspiring messages of courage and bravery! If your looking for a wholly unique tale that weaves contemporary with fantasy brimming with hope, I highly recommend this podcast!

Flyest Fables introduces fictional heroes while also reminding the listener of their inner hero! ✨🎙

Girl In Space Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Girl In Space PodcastGirl In Space created by Sarah Rhea Werner

Release Date: September 9, 2017 (Trailer)

Episodes: 11 (Ongoing)

Running Time: 27-41 Minutes

Release Schedule: Bimonthly

Summary: Nothing fancy here — just the simple audio diary of a girl in space. Also, there’s this weird and potentially ominous light in the distance that seems to be growing steadily closer. Listen twice a month for science, guns, trust, anti-matter, truth, beauty, inner turmoil, and delicious cheeses. It’s all here. In space.

My Thoughts: Girl In Space is a brilliant and thought-provoking audio drama set aboard the Cavatica spaceship! We follow X as she’s lived her entire life in space aboard her parents research vessel, but we soon learn she isn’t alone.

Girl In Space is easily one of my all-time favorite Sci-Fi/Space audio dramas of all-time! It will forever hold a special place in my heart and continues to be one of my favorite on-going audio dramas!

If your looking for a thought-provoking, introspective, character-driven, and immersive story set in space, this podcast is a must!

X is a girl in space! She’s lived aboard her parent’s research vessel led by Caldwell Enterprises, the Cavatica, all her life. Now, she is continuing her parents work by researching Ra (a star) that has connection to X herself + more mysteries to uncover about it as the series continues. She spends her days continuing research, making delicious cheese, & watching her favorite movie, Jurassic Park!

The descriptive and thought-provoking writing really brings the character of X and the world of Girl In Space to life! With the podcast presented as an audio diary, she makes you feel like your part of the journey alongside her! Overall, the writing is fantastic!

The plot is incredibly complex, leads you in suspense, and just leaves you wanting to know even more about the story with each episode!

We soon learn X isn’t entirely alone, because a fleet of ships led by The Enforcer One finds her and needs her + her work. The only problem, she isn’t exactly sure why.

Left with her wits, clever + quick thinking, and friendly AI Charlotte, X learns more about The Enforcer One, its crew, and their mysterious agenda as to why they are so curious about her and her ship!

The world-building is equally phenomenal! From the sun Ra, to the intricacies of the Cavatica and the mysterious fleet that’s found her, The Enforcer One.

You learn more about X’s work on the Cavatica, from her monitoring of the radiation of Ra, which is her main assignment aboard the ship, and ensuring the overall maintenance of the Cavatica.

From the politics, intrigue, science, and technology, so many different elements are explored with such depth that you see more to the world of Girl In Space with each episode!

The cast of characters are also so utterly phenomenal! This podcast has got a stellar plot and it shows through its fantastic characters!

Of course we have the main character X, Charlotte, Captain Miles Chen (who is in charge of The Enforcer One), alongside Kai, Thor, & Chance, who are soldiers aboard Enforcer One! Aside from them, there’s also more characters to come throughout the series (Dani!! She’s also one of my new favorite characters!!)

The characters who X encounters aren’t all they appear to be over the course of the series, you see how they grow and change with X now being their main concern, and that they become X’s closest friends/confidantes as she uncovers more to the secrets behind this government ship and what exactly her purpose is in their investigation!

Out of all the characters, I love X & Miles! Their dynamic and growth throughout the series has easily made them my favorite audio drama duo! X is a really thought-provoking and introspective kind of character, she’s very formal in her way of speaking and having the podcast delivered through such a fascinating character, is also what makes Girl In Space so worth a listen!

Miles is also another one of my favorite characters in this audio drama! He’s the captain in charge of learning more about X and her ship’s research! He’s mainly just focused on getting answers from her, but the more X gets involved in the mysteries of The Enforcer One, the more we see from Miles!

Both X & Miles so complex and interesting–I love them so much!! The development they undergo doesn’t seem apparent at first, but the more you listen, the easier it is to see how they grow and change as they both have to find a way to work together to get what their searching for!

What also makes the plot so unique and brilliant is the way secrets get uncovered in ways you don’t expect! You begin to question and learn so much about this world, but how the answers are revealed and just the overall way the story is delivered makes you want to keep on listening!

Alongside the plot and characters, what also makes this audio drama so incredibly immersive is the atmosphere it delivers through the sfx, even the execution of its plot and characters! It gives off an eerie but wholly unique space atmosphere!

While the story grapples so much from loneliness, family, friendship, and government secrets, it also brilliantly delivers comedy through X and her witty and clever personality!

It may seem that the story is slow, but that’s really because the pacing at which it goes, really allows the characters and world to really build! The story itself is also incredibly complex with so many pieces that each episode lends so much to the overall story and mystery of the show!

So without giving too much away, that’s all I can really say about Girl In Space!

If your looking for an immersive, character-driven story set in space, this is the podcast for you!

Girl In Space is a brilliantly crafted sci-fi audio drama podcast that explores adventures in space! There’s politics, comedy, intrigue, mystery, fantastic characters, & a brilliant plot! With so many complex layers to this fascinating story, Girl In Space is perfect if your a fan of space, crews in space, thought-provoking characters, sci-fi, and so much more!

That concludes my 3rd audio drama podcast review! 🌌✨ Its always so much fun creating podcast reviews because they always continue to inspire me with their wonderful storytelling & my goal is to spread the word about these amazing shows! If you’ve listened to Girl In Space or are planning to, lets discuss in the comments below!

I do hope to post more podcast reviews in the future so definitely keep an eye out for them! Any podcasts you recommend? Any your listening to now? 🎙✨❤ 

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff Heimbuch Review

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff HeimbuchInterludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff Heimbuch

Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing

Release Date: January 4, 2018

Pages: 108

Available Through The Book Depository: Interludes From Melancholy Falls Volume 1

Summary: How much do you really know about the town of Melancholy Falls, NJ? Its citizens, its history…it’s all probably a mystery to you. Peel back the curtain and crack open an interdimensional portal into this book to learn more about the things that inhabit this strange place.

Based on the serialized audio drama RETURN HOME, Interludes from Melancholy Falls: Volume 1 contains 16 tales that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you scared, and make you hungry for more.

Whether you’re a long-time fan of the show or a new visitor in town, there is something in here for everyone. But be careful…you may not want to leave.

Isn’t it time for you to return home?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 is a collection of 16 short stories based on the audio drama podcast, Return Home! Centering around different characters and the setting within the show, Melancholy Falls, NJ, this is perfect for listeners of the podcast looking to get more background on the world of  Return Home!

If you’re unfamiliar with this fiction podcast, Return Home centers around Jonathan Barker who is told to ‘return home’ to his town of Melancholy Falls, NJ. From there he reunites with his best friend Buddy & former girlfriend Ami, as they solve the supernatural happenings of their town! Within each episode they meet new characters, discover new creatures, and secrets about Melancholy Falls, additionally the interlude episodes tell the stories of characters besides the main cast, and allow you to learn a little more about the creatures and odd occurrences of the town!

If you’ve never listened to the podcast, I definitely recommend checking it out! Its got a great cast of characters, unique story that’s filled with mystery, comedy, fantasy/the supernatural, & if your a fan of small town supernatural mysteries, this is definitely a podcast to listen to!

Considering it had been a while since I listened to the podcast, I did re-listen to a couple episodes for some of the short stories, (I think the book covers up to Interlude 6). However, you don’t have to! This is an immersive short story collection that gives more insight into side characters and the town of Melancholy Falls!

Heimbuch delivers these short stories through various mediums which build on the world of Return Home. Speeches, first/third person narratives, poetry, transcripts, excerpts, etc. will allow you explore the world of Melancholy Falls from a different perspective!

One of my favorite aspects of these stories was getting more on the history of Melancholy Falls, because throughout the series it’s clear this town has quite a past! However, through Interludes, it’s great to be able to have additional tidbits of info that build more into the show!

With each story you’re automatically immersed into a new character or setting of the world!

Because these stories are more character-driven and are very quick-paced, within the ones focusing on characters specifically, the setting and world-building description is a bit minimal.

What I really enjoyed about Interludes was that even though Jonathan, Ami, & Buddy were mentioned from time to time (ex.  Jonathan + Buddy were included in story 4: The Day After), it was great to get more background and backstory on just the characters and places we maybe aren’t too familiar with from Return Home!

I also loved that some stories built up to episodes from the podcast or added to the ending of certain episodes! It really added more detail to the podcast and I was immediately thrown back into the world of Melancholy Falls, but through different perspectives!

Some of the short stories that I really loved include:
– “Big Joan” Which centers around Big Joan, the owner of Big Joan’s diner (a popular hang-out spot in the series) and what led to her running it!
“Here Comes…” which focuses on how The Raggity Man came to be!
– The Woman At The Falls, which explores a legend of Melancholy Falls
+ – The Melancholy Falls Visitor Guide!

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 is a must read for fans of the Return Home podcast, looking to get more info on the interesting characters and places of Melancholy Falls, New Jersey! 

Podcasts In Publishing feat. Sadie by Courtney Summers {Literary Listens}

literary-listens-24hryabookblog-feature-bannerIf you’re new to my blog, Literary Listens is a feature I created to share my love of podcasts while also incorporating my love for books! When I’m not reading, I also love listening to podcasts, especially audio dramas!

Today’s post is somewhat of a continuation of my Publishers & Podcasts post from May of last year, where I discussed the potential future of podcasts in publishing and YA!

The Girls PodcastWith the recent release of The Girls, a limited series audio drama, based on the podcast within Courtney Summers upcoming YA Mystery-Contemporary, Sadie, I thought I’d expand more on this link between podcasts and books!

+ According to Paste Magazine, which shared an exclusive first look at episode 1 of The Girls, it’ll be releasing a new episode every Wednesday (with 6 total) leading up to the release of Sadie (September 4)! + The podcast released its 1st episode as of August 1!

While I haven’t yet read my ARC of Sadie, from what I know about the book, I think its amazing that the publisher is bringing the podcast within the story to life!

Now I’d like to share some additional ideas and speculate how podcasts can merge with publishing & books, and how The Girls is a groundbreaking first step, especially for Young Adult!

Storytelling

Podcasts are such an incredible and unique medium to explore stories! Through the use of audio, it allows for the listener to take in + imagine a story in their own way!

This creative outlet for storytelling, especially through already/upcoming published fiction offers a different view of the story, for example through voice acting, music, SFX, narration, etc.

Depending on the style of narration and the subject of the story, listeners are able to bring the story to life in their mind and create a picture of it in their own way, which you can’t really get with another medium.

And especially for us avid readers, getting a glimpse of a book in a new way, just adds a lot more to the reading experience!

Accessibility 

This is something I actually hadn’t thought too much about until I compared it to fiction! Let’s be honest, books (especially new releases) can be expensive!

Through the use of a podcasts (which are free & available for streaming through iTunes Podcasts mainly, or other audio sites depending on whether they get posted there: like Sound Cloud or Stitcher to name a couple), its an incredible opportunity for readers (especially international) to have the opportunity to explore an upcoming/anticipated book at no cost!

Adaptation

Through the adaptation of a book (or in the case of Sadie, a podcast within the book), its an overall unique way of either expanding, even just adapting canon story lines or content from an already existing book!

With the accessibility and rise in podcasts, I do hope to see authors & publishers (especially in YA) experiment with it more in the books they publish, because its a medium well worth exploring!

From author interviews (maybe even author interviews w/ a voice actor bringing a character to life), adapted story material, original soundtracks, bonus content through an audio format like audio diaries, recordings, or serialized fiction podcasts of certain characters, etc. There are a countless number of ways this can be used to expand on the material in a published novel!

Book Spotlight

Through the use of audio, a creative idea could be for publishers to feature a specific book soon after release! This could allow for an author’s book to be given a spotlight on how it came to be!

This type of podcast could include exclusive interviews with the team behind the book, from editors, the literary agent, marketing team, cover designers, and even an exclusive interview with the author!

This can allow for readers who loved the book or even those who can’t meet the author in person, have a chance to get an exclusive look at a favorite book, from different angles!

As someone looking to get into the publishing industry, this could even offer more insight into the process of getting an up-and-coming + anticipated release out on shelves!

Sadie by Courtney SummersAnd those are some speculative thoughts on the future of publishing and books through podcasts! 🎙✨📚

Are you looking forward to listening to The Girls podcast alongside OR after reading Sadie?

Where do you see podcasts within the sphere of publishing & books?

*I’m planning to read Sadie (this month) alongside listening to the podcast too! So keep an eye out on the blog for a podcast review! 

+ If you’d be interested in more posts discussing the future of publishing, I’d love to create more! So, definitely leave a comment letting me know! (I’m in the early stages of drafting a post about what I see specific publishers doing w/ podcasts in the future!)

Dark Ages Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Dark Ages PodcastDark Ages created by Brandon Kraemer

Release Date: May 17, 2018 (Trailer) & May 24, 2018 (Episode 1)

Episodes: 1

Running Time: Currently Episode 1 runs to 1 Hour & 9 Minutes

Summary: High fantasy. High culture. Low attendance. For the staff of the Rivercliffe Museum of Mostly Natural Histories, the only thing harder than attracting patrons is suffering each other…until a new exhibit results in a world of trouble marching up to their front gate.

My Thoughts: Dark Ages is a comedic, high fantasy audio drama! With an expansive world, solid cast of characters, brilliantly written, and complex story, this newly released audio drama is one to definitely check out!

After finishing The Bright Sessions series finale, I was on the look for even more audio dramas to add to my already filled subscription feed.

As I was browsing twitter, I came across Dark Ages!

The summary sounded so unique and interesting and because of my love of the Audio Dime Museum, I was definitely intrigued to check out another museum-centered podcast!

It was fantastic and easily one of my new favorites! I am beyond excited to see where the next episode and series as a whole, is headed!

The story is very intricate and complex, that I was worried it would be difficult to follow along, but with each passing minute I found myself understanding even more of the intriguing story and world!

Episode 1, The New Exhibit (aka The Crown of Shadow’s Dawn), begins with the Dark Priest conducting a ceremony that brings back The Dark Lord. And after his 999 year slumber, he’s ready to reclaim and conquer worlds, alongside his goblin army, and his Crown Of Shadows Dawn.

But, to his surprise its gone!

Though its clear its a very expansive world in just this first episode, the backstory to how the museum got the crown was weaved in so perfectly and expanded on what we heard in the previous scene through The Dark Priest & Lord!

As we learn of his plan to get the crown back, we are then taken to the city Rivercliffe, located on the planet of Middle Elsewhere.

The local museum suffers but not on new exhibit day! However, as it turns out the new exhibit is for none other than, the Crown Of Shadows Dawn!

The lore of the crown expands as we learn that one of the employees of the museum worries that they should look into it more before setting it up for display!

Now as we are introduced more of the staff, we learn of the great threat outside their museum doors, The Dark Lord and his army, eager to find the crown!

The descriptive writing not only builds a paranormal and fantastical setting, but also easily introduces you to the expansive world of the Dark Ages Podcast!

Characters, from their very first introductions, are incredibly developed and well rounded, and while this is the first episode there is quite an expansive cast of characters which is great!

I did find it hard to keep track of them all at some points (name-wise), but of course it is just the first episode and after reaching the end, definitely had a better understanding of each character!

The dialogue is so clever and brilliantly executed that each of the voice actors delivery, really allowed each character to stand out!

There were so many amazing characters and I really loved them all! I can’t wait to see how they develop even more over the course of the show!

For example, Nick! Though he is an employee of the museum, he is tasked by Marwood (the curator) with staying away from the crown.

According to the Marwood, he’s a thief who has been known to steal exhibit pieces due to curiosity.

I just really loved how his character was introduced and overall he was such an interesting character!

Again, while there were so many interesting and wonderfully developed characters, I also loved Malison (the legal attorney to the museum), Marwood, and the Dark Lord!

Malison is introduced in the beginning, but I loved how her character is developed in an interesting way near the end! Getting more to her backstory and how it played into the plot made the ending to the first episode surprising and overall a great set up for the rest of the series!

As Marwood tries to keep his museum safe from the invasion, we definitely learn more about him and just how much he cares about the museum and how important the crown is for the future of it!

The writing brings so much life and personality into each character, the setting, lore and fantastic comedy that’s weaved throughout the entire episode!

As the plot progresses with the Dark Lord’s arrival, the whole museum scene where the staff gets split up and tries to trick or go after the goblins was so well done and hilarious! I loved that entire scene, which basically runs for the majority of the episode! It really revealed more about the characters and was just so incredibly well executed!

The end of the episode its revealed Malison is also a sorceress and used dark powers/legal work (& help of the underworld) to keep the crown from returning to the Dark Lord, when he, his army &the museum staff finally reach the exhibit.

As the episode comes to an end, its revealed that the Dark Lord compromised to get his crown as long as he stays as an exhibit alongside the it.

The employees are now in charge of looking over him as he’s stuck for a year in the exhibit.

Now its clear he will regain his power alongside the crown as he plans to use that time and wait until the contracted time is up.

The ending left me wanting the 2nd episode right away and with so many theories on where the story is headed!

The Dark Ages podcast starts off on an incredibly high note with its first episode! The superb writing delivers a stellar cast of characters, brilliantly weaves comedy with fantasy, and delivers a plot that clearly has so much in store! The Dark Ages audio drama podcast is definitely one to listen to if your a fan of comedy, dark/high fantasy, intricate lore, and vast world + wonderfully developed cast of characters! ✨🎙

That concludes my 2nd audio drama review! There are definitely more audio drama reviews I plan to recommend & can’t wait to share! I hope to continue with this new addition to Literary Listens because there are just so many great audio drama podcasts out there that do such a phenomenal job with storytelling and I’m hoping my posts have inspired you to check them out! 🎉✨

Are you interested in the Dark Ages podcast? Are there any audio drama podcasts that you recommend? 🎙✨

Audio Dime Museum Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

audio-dime-museumAudio Dime Museum created by the Just A Story team (Samantha and Jacob LeBas)

Release Date: March 23, 2016 (Trailer & Episode 1)

Episodes: 11 (Prolonged Hiatus)

Running Time: Episodes range from 10-37 Minutes

Summary: From the Just A Story team, comes a weekly, serialized experimental storytelling podcast which explores historical legends through the artifacts on display in the Audio Dime Museum. Part guided tour, part radio drama; each episode presents the curious story of one object from the collection. Meet your guide on this journey, The Curator, and learn her secrets as you delve into the world of possibility, magic and the unknown. Merging the suspenseful style of mystery with the conventions of ghost stories and the peculiarity that only historical fact can provide, this podcast is not for the faint of heart.

My Thoughts: Audio Dime Museum is a brilliantly crafted podcast which chronicles various tales throughout history as the mysterious Curator guides you through the curious artifacts she keeps within her dime museum!

Audio Dime Museum will forever hold a special place in my heart! It was the very first audio drama I’d ever listened to and to this day, continues to be one of my all-time favorites!

As a reader and aspiring writer, this fictional podcast just continues to inspire me and from its phenomenal storytelling, writing, characters, editing, etc. its a must listen to, if your looking to get into audio drama podcasts/podcasts in general or just want to hear fascinating stories from history!

The descriptive writing, ranging from 3rd person, 2nd to a direct POV style, where the Curator is speaking to you, makes you feel like part of the story as she chronicles various artifacts of history she finds within her shop & its Wonder Cabinet.

It saddens me that the podcast hasn’t continued since its last episode in September of 2016, but I’m constantly hoping it’ll make a come-back because following the Curator, her dime museum, and learning about different moments in history has just been such an amazing adventure for me and is truly unlike any other audio drama I’ve heard before!

From the very introduction told through an aged/vintage record, accompanied by carnival-style music “Hurry, hurry step this way! The strangest sights from the island! Reach from the 4 corners of the world. One two nickels, one dime, & one-tenth of dollar! We’ve got the show if you’ve got the dime…” you get automatically sucked into this peculiar world of the Audio Dime Museum!

With each episode, chronicled as a chapter from Volumes 1 through 2, you get to know the Curator as you find your way into her dime museum and she shares with you stories of the interesting artifacts she keeps hidden within!

I’ve always been fascinated by stories and artifacts from history, but through The Audio Dime Museum from its descriptive, immersive writing-style, fantastic audio and editing, I’m transported to the world of The Audio Dime Museum in an instant and in a way, get a story within a story!

All of the stories she shares are either inspired or based on real-life artifacts and events, which was so fascinating, because a majority of these I had never even heard of before.

So above all, it was great to learn about these artifacts and the pockets of history from which they were from.

There’s also such phenomenal world-building! Through the little details, stories the Curator shares about her shop and the artifacts within it, this audio drama blurs the line with reality and the extraordinary in such a unique way!

For example, from Vol. 1 Episode 3 Myrtles and Oleander Don’t Bloom, the Curator discovers an artifact that doesn’t quite belong in the store.

“I can understand when things from the shop are showing up in the cabinet, but things from across the country?”

The little details she reveals about the shop throughout each episode just fuels the magic and mystery that makes Audio Dime Museum even more intriguing and captivating!

I love each and every episode! With each one, the dark secrets and mystery of the Dime Museum just builds and builds!

Another aspect I love about this audio drama podcast so much, is how much it really makes you think about history, storytelling, and how it emphasizes the power of stories!

Additionally, from the Curator’s introduction within each episode to her next artifact and throughout the story as well, the thought-provoking and philosophical words she shares, just weave their way into your mind and really leave you thinking!

There are so many quotes I can recall/find myself thinking about from this podcast, even though its been over a year since I finished it! 

That to me, just serves as a reminder as to how brilliant this podcast is and how the thought-provoking writing has really resonated.

The writing above all is not only descriptive and vivid, which from the very beginning pulls you into each story, but the presentation of the Curator as a character, from the quiet/soft tone of her voice, delivers each story with such weight and emotion!

I think that’s all I can say without giving away too much about the Audio Dime Museum!

So, please check out this audio drama if you’ve never heard it before! If your a fan of great storytelling, history, thought-provoking writing, and fascinating tales, the Audio Dime Museum is a podcast I highly recommend!

The Audio Dime Museum is an immersive audio drama that explores history in a brilliant and unique way! History comes to life through an outstanding writing-style as the Curator narrates tales of history with you from her curious dime museum, filled with mystery, wonder, and so much more!

Today’s post was definitely a different kind of review! This idea sparked in my mind after thinking more about Literary Listens, how I could expand it, and seeing a couple audio drama reviews out there already! ✨🎙

I hope my review inspired you to check out this amazing podcast! I’m definitely planning to do more of these podcast reviews very soon & can’t wait to share my latest audio drama recommendation! 📚🎙✨