Halloween Countdown: Diary of a Madman

Continuing our Halloween countdown of all things scary, we look at the new season of Diary of a Madman.

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Diary of a Madman

By Dōhai

Continuing our Halloween countdown it would be remiss of me to not mention Diary of a Madman. (Warning: Contains gratuitous self promotion.)

As you are probably aware from my last post in the countdown you can throw all manner of ghosts, ghouls, and even a few killer clowns at me all day long and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid, but add a real world psychological twist to it and now you’ve got me.

Diary of a Madman follows the audio journal of a murderer. A unique insight into the rationale of a killer and his reasons for doing what seems abhorrent to us all. But is it? Abhorrent to us I mean. After all, we see it everywhere and yet we don’t seem to be up in arms about it. We shrug our collective shoulders and carry on with our daily grind until that is, it affects us or our immediate family.

Created by Paul Sating, the pen behind many other podcasts such as ‘Subject: Found’ and ‘Who Killed Julie?’, season one comes in the format of 24 short diary entries that average around 5-6 minutes, and is definitely one that sent chills down my spine.

It both chilled and inspired me to begin writing fiction, and when Paul asked me if I would like to write season two, I almost ripped off his arm and beat him to death with it I was that excited. (Luckily there’s a small body of water between us.)

If you haven’t had the pleasure of being chilled to the bone by the first season, then I suggest you go binge it now, because season two launches on Halloween!


 

Have you been enjoying our countdown to Halloween? Come and join us in celebrating all that is horror by sharing your favorites in the comments below!

Just caught this series? Why not start from the beginning and work your way through, otherwise there’s a new post tomorrow!


dohai profile pic

Since falling in love with podcasts back in 2015 Dōhai decided to begin writing on the subject. He soon found himself trying his hand at acting, (Black Bart in The Drift and Ramble Podcast), and more recently writing, with (Diary of a Madman season 2) Set for launch Oct 31st, 2018.

 

Check out the rest of the Podern Times team on our About Us page.

Halloween Countdown

So it’s almost all hallows ‘eve and no doubt you’ve been celebrating all things spooky since October began. Here’s a few of our favorites to get you in the mood.

Halloween Countdown

By Dõhai.

There are nine days to go until all hallows ‘eve and no doubt you’ve been celebrating all things spooky since October began. We here at Podern Times are no different. Well okay, maybe a little, as the picture below states “Horror is for life, not just for Halloween” and this is pretty much our mantra.

As we’re a brand new publication we thought what better way to introduce the team here at Podern Times than by sharing some of our favorite spine-chilling podcasts with you all.

Tribulation

Take a coven of witches, add a vampire or two, and a sprinkling of werewolf, and then add a huge dollop of zombies to the pot and simmer for twenty minutes.

This is usually enough to get most folk either running for the hills, or their pitchforks and flaming torches. Not me. I’m reaching for the popcorn, because quite frankly it ain’t scary.

No. What scares me is a huge bag of realism and psychological horror. Take ‘Silence of the Lambs’, ‘Se7en’, ‘Saw’, or ‘The Shining,’ these are the stories that get the blood flowing so to speak. And for me, cults are a biggie!

Imagine if M. Night Shyamalan had written ‘The Village’ more Manson family than the Waltons, and added a little ‘Inception’ to the pot, then you will have some idea of what ‘Tribulation’ is like.

Stacy Carlson employs the help of a conspiracy theorist to find her missing husband Greg as the authorities don’t believe her account of how he disappeared on their trip home from a visit to her parents.

Find Tribulation here in all its glory for apple users, or here on Stitcher.

Did you enjoy Tribulation as much as I did? Are you looking forward to a season two? What are your favorite spooktacular podcasts? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Check back in two days for another showcase from another member of the team!

 


dohai profile pic

Since falling in love with podcasts back in 2015 Dōhai decided to begin writing on the subject. He soon found himself trying his hand at acting, (Black Bart in The Drift and Ramble Podcast), and more recently writing, with (Diary of a Madman season 2) Set for launch Oct 31st, 2018.

 

Check out the rest of the Podern Times team on our About Us page.

News Desk #2

w/e Sept. 23rd 2018.

This Weeks Playlist

What's The Frequency?

With the first season of What’s the Frequency? coming to a close last week I decided it was time to venture down this rabbit hole. I listened to episode one back last year when it was first released, and quickly realized this wasn’t going to be your average thoroughfare. I was hooked! But with episodes being released once a month I decided to sit back and wait for season 1 to end, and then go on a binge. What a wait! And what a show! Review coming soon. If I can just find the words… the words… the… words…

1994 podcast

1994 is the brand new from Thoreau Smiley the creator of Attention Hellmart Shoppers! As expected this is a laugh a minute road trip/ coming-of-age extravaganza that doesn’t disappoint. I highly recommend subbing to this show! Again as above, we bump into James Oliva. At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if he appears in our next pod.

Serial podcast

Serial season three. So yes it’s back and I listened… Finally! Hailing from England I had been up waiting, like all day, and then two turn up at the same time. So that’s what you guys call justice?! Wow! Words just fail me. Impartiality much? Rather than just one off reports and stories, I hope that this season will, as it progresses, shine a bright light on the system and somehow kick start a reformation. Though I’m not holding my breath ‘Merica.

I’ve not really been interested in the docurama genre, but I must admit I enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to more. Now subscribed and deciding to explore the genre a little more. I found this little listicle over at Discover Pods that I thought might be of interest. While we wait for episode 3, What are your favorite shows? Let me know down below.


In The News

So the big movers and shakers of the industry are still at it, getting rid of unwanted podcast production that is. Last week it was Panoply, this week it’s Buzzfeed. On Wednesday they announced they were cutting back to focus on video.

This week Apple released a ‘best practice’ toolkit for marketing your podcast, which to be perfectly honest is not really that helpful to anyone but the greenest of the green. All it gives is a handful of info bites of things to consider such as creating a brief, and making sure your website is designed for mobile. All important things of course but where is the follow up content? Nothing… zero… zip… well there are a couple of links to completely unrelated shows The Nod and Anna Faris Is Unqualified.

In Other news

Podtrac release the top 20 podcasts in the US for August. NYT The Daily, This American Life and Joe Rogan have the top three slots.

Hollywood Seeking Foothold in Podcast Industry

EU approves controversial Copyright Directive, including internet ‘link tax’ and ‘upload filter’

From Podcast To Broadcast–New Podetize Platform Makes It Easy To Shine


Articles

Who Killed Julie?

This weekend sees the release of Who Killed Julie? (Sunday 23rd.) This docudrama style show differs from the likes of Serial in one small way. It’s contemporary fiction. I had the opportunity last week to listen to the entire series and you can read what I thought about it here.


Further Reading

Want to join a Podcast Brunch Club? It’s like a book club but for podcasts.

Earbuds Podcast Collective Halloween Spooks suggested playlist.

Do you write blog posts about podcasting? Maybe you’re a podcaster that would like to promote your latest blog post/ newsletter/ transcript for the latest episode. Well here at Podern Times we would love to share your work and help grow your audience. Just email me a link.


If you are enjoying our content then please consider supporting it with a coffee, (it will stop me falling asleep at the keyboard at least). Click the image below to make a donation now.

Ko-Fi donation link

 

Review: Who Killed Julie?

It seems the world and his dog loves true crime dramas if the glut of shows on your podcatcher is anything to go by. Take the soon to be released third season of Serial, Sword and Scale, recently released Dr. Death, or… well the list could go on.

It seems the world and his dog loves true crime dramas if the glut of shows on your podcatcher is anything to go by. Take the soon to be released third season of Serial, Sword and Scale, recently released Dr. Death, or… well the list could go on.

Who Killed Julie?

Who Killed Julie? follows in the footsteps of many of these shows, in the form of an investigative journal that slowly unfolds week by week. The main difference here, this isn’t a true crime story, but a work of fiction from writer/ creator Paul Sating.

Paul’s first foray into this genre releases this Sunday (September 23rd), and I would argue has been a rather successful venture on several fronts.

Firstly it’s nice to see a writer tackling something new. Rather than sticking to the ‘tried and tested’, rather than staying within the parameters where he’s comfortable, he seems to push himself into unfamiliar territory with every new project.

Those that are accustomed to his work will know he’s worked all over the spectrum. Satirical comedy, (Atheist Apocalypse), horror, (Diary Of A Madman), and out this Thanksgiving, 12 Deaths of Christmas. Lore, (Subject: Found), dystopian futurism, and LGBT+ love stories to name but a few. Hell, I even have a poem of his in my inbox that I will be publishing next week!

I had the opportunity to ask him why his catalog feels so eclectic.

“I get bored easily, lol. Beyond that, I don’t want my writing to get stale.

“I’ve been dealing with a lot of horror. Diary of a Madman is a dark show. Who Killed Julie? Isn’t exactly a Sunday morning family program either. So I enjoy breaking away from those things from time to time. It keeps me growing and developing as a writer and it keeps me stimulated.

“I even have a new audio drama coming in 2019 that is totally different from everything else I’ve done. I’ve written 6 episodes thus far and it’s definitely a stretch for me. But it makes me excited when I work on it and it is forcing me to consider things I’ve never had to before, because of the story and target audience.

Secondly, Paul’s work just keeps getting better. Even though this story covers very adult themes (you have been warned) to include domestic abuse, murder, and prostitution, the story is both realistic and sensitively told.

Julie may not have been a “model citizen” (in even most liberal eyes) but she was, as the story shows, a very sensitive and caring person. To her children first and foremost, and to everyone (even her detractors) in the wider community.

“Julie has been living in my head since I worked in a military sexual assault response office. I understand the sensitivity of the topic. That experience opened my eyes to the dichotomy of sexual assault; who the friends and enemies of sexual assault survivors are. After the show runs, I’ll release my reason for writing Julie’s story, but she came to life from that experience.

“I thought I understood sexual assault, but that job showed me just how much I didn’t know. Julie is an amalgamation of the survivors I had the honor of serving. Her story is a real story; it’s something that no one should have to live, but far too many do. And I felt it was time to tell it.

Third, and most importantly, the story lends itself as a platform in which real social issues are put into the spotlight rather than swept under the carpet. It shows the very real fear of admitting to being abused for fear of becoming shamed or shunned. It boldly holds up a mirror to society, and shows us how ugly we really can be. As Emerald poignantly reminds us, “This is the story of us!” Add to this fact that the show aims to raise money for Safe Place, Olympia, a 24 hour shelter for victims of domestic violence, for me, puts this show in the must listen category.

Safe Place, Olympia

The story starts slowly with episode 1. Maybe that’s because I’m used to hearing shorter episodes from Paul, but I found myself drifting off a little towards the end. Episode 2 however picks the pace right back up, and keeps you on the pulse throughout the rest of the entire seven episodes, with brilliantly written dialogue that slowly unfolds the story and it’s characters.

The cast, though small is superb. Ashley Litsey as Emerald Johnson, takes the lead perfectly, giving us a full range of emotion. Dealing with others character flaws professionally and with empathy, when alone she switches from angry, to heartfelt, and emotional, to downright sassy.

In support, Rhiannon McAfee plays a hard-faced, bad mouthed Rachel. Robin Siegerman takes to the role of Julie’s self-centred, uncaring mother Angela. John McClain the saddened, doting father, and Christopher Rocco portrays the ‘one true love’ Caleb wonderfully. All of them have nailed these characters perfectly.

One or two of the ‘phone call’ conversations are a little too distorted, something I can live with if it’s just a two minute call, but when a call lasts beyond five of minutes I find it becomes a distraction.

A couple of places, early on in the story, I also found distraction in a lack of background noise. Sure, that sounds a little odd, and possibly picky, but distracting nonetheless. You could probably get away with not noticing the ticking of a clock, or the occasional passing car under a short dialogue, but there are some weighty monologues throughout which you would feel background noise would become a distraction to. However for me, not having that white noise present made the conversations a little more oppressive. Not sure if this was the intention, but with a dark topic such as this I feel it’s not needed in this case.

As I stated earlier, Who Killed Julie? is NSFW. It uses adult language to describe adult themes. If you are at all worried about this, then I suggest you don’t listen. I will say however if you managed to get through the latest trailer, then you have already heard the most graphic part of this whole story, something that isn’t repeated again.

That being said, this story is a very important one. It’s a story I feel everyone needs to hear, and a conversation we all need to be a part of if we are to grow as individuals, and as a society. You can catch it’s release this Sunday (September 23rd), and every fortnight after that.


 

You can check out Who Killed Julie? and all of Paul’s other shows over on his website, or on your podcatcher of choice.

If you have a new podcast/ audio drama season coming up and would like us to take a listen, then feel free to drop us a line.


Podern Times is powered by coffee. Do you like what you see here, then please consider donating a cup of Joe for yours truly by clicking the Ko-Fi image below. Thanks!

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In A Word… Serenity

They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so I’ve decided to challenge a few of my friends to see if they can paint the reader a picture in just one thousand words.

In A Word

They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so I’ve decided to challenge a few of my friends to see if they can paint the reader a picture in just one thousand words. The subject of this picture? A single word. An emotionally charged word full of subjectivity, giving plenty of scope for my guests to get their creative writing on. After all, isn’t that our job as writers? To pull the audience into a scene, and connect to them emotionally, to let them share in the beauty of our world?

Today’s guest is the wonderfully talented Jamie Killen, creator of audio drama podcast ‘Spines’, and brand new drama ‘Mirrors’, which releases tomorrow (September 12th). Jamie is also an author of speculative fiction. Her latest, ‘The Wandering Land’, is a beautifully told tale of five peoples adventure in a mysterious place of magic, and is currently a free read on Kindle Unlimited.

The word I have chosen for today is…


Serenity

/sɪˈrɛnɪti/

noun.

the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

“an oasis of serenity amidst the bustling city”


 

Serenity: you sit next to a bubbling stream, breathing in the clean smells of nature. Your thoughts are quiet and still, your worries far away. You stop worrying about the future, and you stop agonizing about the past. You close your eyes and feel the sun on your face, and for that one moment you are at peace.

Then you open your eyes, and you meet the gaze of the creature stalking you through the shadows, and that serenity is gone.

There’s a reason the oasis is the primary metaphor for serenity. What’s so special about an oasis? It’s just a pond and some palm trees, after all. There are more beautiful places than that all over the world.

No, it’s not what’s in the oasis itself. It’s what’s around the oasis that makes it special. Surrounded by parched, deadly desert, a lake and a few scrubby trees become the promised land. Serenity is special because it is surrounded by danger and trauma. And, just as you must leave the oasis and continue on your journey across the desert, you cannot remain in a state of serenity for long.

An oasis of unlimited size isn’t an oasis anymore. It’s a swamp.

Serenity’s beauty lies in its brevity. No one can live in a permanent state of serenity. Some might try, or claim to have achieved something like a state of perfect contentment. But to be truly serene, one must be free of fear and rage and worry. To be truly serene, one must be ill-equipped to survive for very long.

The serene person walking along a desert trail does not fear snakes, and so does not watch for them.

The serene person watching evil play out on the streets feels no rage, and so takes no action until the secret police show up at their door.

The serene person raising children does not worry about their future, and so does nothing to protect it.

Anger and terror keep us alive. Serenity doesn’t.

Serenity is temporary because it has to be, because a person cannot indefinitely exist unmoored from their past and future, from the dangers and love and everything else intruding on us.

This is what I think of when I think of serenity in my own life: It’s evening, and I’m standing in a quiet spot near the Thames. I’m listening to a street musician singing a Nina Simone song. It’s calm and beautiful and for the duration of that song I let myself be serene.

Why can’t I be like this forever?

Because the past and the future and the fucked-up present won’t allow it. For a brief moment I can feel serene, but that moment is bracketed by a past in which the city I stand on is soaked with blood and bombed from above. It’s made possible by the music of Nina Simone, a woman who fought to survive in Jim Crow America. I don’t know it yet, but this moment is already hurtling toward a darkness that will come years into my future, when my country begins its descent into authoritarian madness.

Oasis

Source: Freeimages.com

It’s not all the larger forces, either. I make a conscious decision to let the serenity shrivel and die, because once this song is over I have to walk back to my hotel by myself, and a woman walking alone at night does not have the luxury of serenity. Serenity is incompatible with the need to watch the shadows for men who hate women.

This isn’t to say that serenity is without merit. Serenity is an emotional vacation. It’s the mind unplugging. Serenity is the mind in a moment of stillness, when we are so accustomed to the mind in constant motion. A short period of serenity allows for reflection. It calms and consoles.

And when that anger and sadness and fear return, they are more focused. They are no longer a directionless hum. They have a purpose and a target. They are oriented around tasks to complete, problems that must be solved. Serenity has cleansed the palate, and you can move forward with clarity.

But still we seek the serenity. We meditate, a little longer each time. We take vacations. We seek to prolong the periods in which we can honestly describe ourselves as serene. Sometimes it can last for a while, but at some point, inevitably, you must leave the oasis.

But wait, you say, what about the serenity of Gandhi and Buddhist monks or Malala Yousafzai? Or our serene great leaders in fiction, Dumbledore and Yoda and Aslan? They seem so content, so tranquil. Haven’t they achieved a state of serenity?

No. They’re calm. They’re focused. They have purpose. That’s not serenity. That’s just managing the terror, not leaving it behind. They see the creatures in the dark. They see the blood and chaos. They know what’s out there.

Serenity can never last. It shouldn’t last. Serenity is special precisely because it is rare, and because it should be rare. Deep down, as much as we all long for serenity, as much as we cling to it when it comes, we all know this. A short period of serenity is beautiful. Indefinite serenity is an opium den. Permanent serenity is the grave.

Serenity is an island paradise surrounded by shark-infested waters.

Serenity is a cozy cottage with a wolf breathing against the door.

Serenity is an oasis in the midst of salt flats and blinding heat.

Serenity can never be more than this: a breath, a moment, a blink. The briefest respite from the things chasing you through the dark.

So take those moments. Take the flashes of serenity that you are lucky enough to receive. Sit by the stream, and close your eyes, and feel the sun on your face, and bask in your little moment of serenity. Get lost in that song for the four or five minutes that it lasts.

Then stand up, and face the shadows, and let the serenity slip away. The monsters are coming.


Mirrors Podcast

Don’t forget, Mirrors launches episode one tomorrow! You can check out the trailer now, or go and listen to all three seasons of the amazing Spines right now.

Don’t forget, most of Jamie’s work is offered to everyone for free, so please be sure to swing by her Patreon page and offer up a little support.

If you have a podcast, book, or other passion project you would like to promote here, then please contact me via email or even DM me over on Twitter.


Check out the next post in this series, ‘In A Word… War’ by Paul Sating, is a wonderfully moving poem.