Hi, friends! So Alex Woods and Erin Lillis teamed up (along with Snipps the duck, who hangs out with Alex) to create the Sapphic Cast podcast that features short lesbian fiction and fanfic. That is, the reading of selected stories on a podcast from fanfic and genre lesfic (with permission).
So how did such a project get started? And how can you support it? And how do you suggest authors/stories?
Well, I’ll let them tell you!
Introduction to The Sapphic Cast, by Alex, Erin, and Snipps
One might ask what it is one gets when you combine a self-sufficient, Scandinavian, non-binary, asexual creative (with a duck named Snipps for a sidekick) and a Los Angeles lesbian voice actress with a wicked sense of humor. If you haven’t asked yourself that question, you probably should, because your answer would be “You’d get The Sapphic Cast.”
Alex Woods (previously heard on the “Ask An Asexual” show on The Lesbian Talk Show Podcast) and Erin B. Lillis (best known for her work on The NoSleep Podcast), are the co-producers of the newest anthology fiction podcast called The Sapphic Cast. The easiest way to explain the show is to go back to how the show came to be in the first place.
Alex’s background is in the medical field, and they even worked part time as a stunt person on some TV shows. They always loved audio dramas and sound design, and often wondered how to make a well-written story come to life through spoken word. They were sold on how powerful audio entertainment could be when they were a child sitting on the shoulders of their father at a live Queen concert. Seeing Freddy Mercury command a whole stadium with just his voice really inspired their perspective on how sound and entertainment could affect a person.
Alex also always had a love of stories and reading, but when they got seriously ill with blood clots in their brain and lungs in 2013, their illness made it near impossible for them to keep up reading for long periods of time. Several years since the illness, they still struggle, and have since turned to audiobooks as a format to get their reading fix.
Alex loves fanfic – lesbian fanfic specifically. It was Ann McMan’s stories, in particular, that made them fall hard for the genre. Alex was an active reader and writer on the fanfic forums when McMan published “Jericho” there so many years ago. When the books were followed by audiobooks, they were in love all over again.
After Alex’s health issues started, they searched high and low for an audio option for the lesfic genre. Specifically, they were hoping to find McMan’s “V1: A Valentine’s Day Odyssey” (a short story in the “Jericho” universe) in audiobook format. They were disappointed when they couldn’t find a version of it in audio format anywhere, which also led them to realize that it was very hard to find lesfic short stories on podcasts in general.
So Alex decided to just ask McMan if they could publish/podcast V1 in audio format. Alex was prepared to be turned down, but was overcome with surprise when McMan responded to their email only hours later, with an “Of course, go for it.” Alex still feels to this day that this is one of the greatest achievements of their life, and is so grateful for McMan’s generosity. This put wind in their sails to take some classes and learn how to make a podcast that met their needs – besides, surely, they couldn’t be the only person out there to need or want this, right? They set out on this project with the idea that they would find someone to narrate their favorite lesbian fanfics into podcast form.
Now, as we said, Alex is Scandinavian and while they speak English much better than most English speakers could hope to speak something like Swedish, they are self-conscious about their accent. This is where Erin barged onto the scene. While listening to a podcast, Alex heard Erin’s voice, loved what she was about, and got in touch.
Erin is your friendly Jill-of-All-Trades from next door. She has her formal education in Visual and Media Arts (Emerson College) and Interactive Media Design (Art Institute of Los Angeles). She fell in love with sound recording and sound design in college and afterward spent some time interning with an Oscar-award-winning sound designer. Later, she decided that rather than direct or work in sound design, she’d really love to work with digital storytelling and specifically, promotion, and focused on the marketing of films and television. She learned all the facets of design, editing and internet programming toward that and then for six years she worked in a digital creative agency working on ads and sites to market films.
Somewhere in there she decided that she also really wanted to do voice acting. This was something that had been in the back of her mind for a long time and she’d snuck in “voice cameos” in her film and video projects in the past but decided she was really going to pursue it as a source of extra income and pleasure.
She thus began learning and working on projects in Librivox, HitRECord and Fiverr and eventually started investing in formal training and then she created her own podcast, SubverCity Transmit, as a vehicle for her to be a podcaster, sound designer, out lesbian character, and to promote the written works of her friend and co-creator, Corin Reyburn. That experience eventually led to her joining the cast of The NoSleep Podcast and eventually some of its spinoff projects like “Congeria” and “Calling Darkness.” That’s where Alex first heard her.
Alex’s original vision for The Sapphic Cast was to feature one or two short lesbian fan fiction or original lesbian fiction stories each episode in an audiobook style narration. When Erin marched onto the scene to help, they expanded the vision to include a bit of a fun book-end experience that allowed them to play with a little more sound design and fun storytelling and character acting.
Originally, Erin was just going to narrate Alex’s introductions because Alex felt uneasy about their accent but Erin, being a huge fan of bringing accents and ethnic diversity into audio formats, encouraged Alex to make some appearances as themself.
Ultimately, Erin and Alex want to release short, narrated, lesbian-specific fanfiction and original fiction to the anthology audio drama world.
“We want to bring stories to life and make something that you can use to relax with while on your way to work or listen to while chilling on your porch with a cup of coffee. Sometimes though, we may also include some things to give you nightmares or make you speculate about the past or future. It’s totally up to the genre we produce for each episode,” says Alex.
They have plans to evolve as they continue and intend to include more sound design for certain stories that may call for it. Their first project, “V1” by Ann McMan, was produced using the plain, old-school narration style just with Erin’s voice – and that was the best choice. A full blown-out sound-designed project would not have fit at all. Erin also brings with her several connections to other narrators and voice actors so the expansion of the narrator universe within the show is in their sights as well.
The Sapphic Cast is also now officially a sister to SubverCity Transmit, which Erin had originally retired. SubverCity Transmit is also an anthology audio drama format but its stories focus on the whole gamut of the queer world while The Sapphic Cast is lesbian-centric. “Think of The Sapphic Cast and then bury it underground with a cast of subterranean characters, LGBTQIA speculative fiction and a blending of truth and meta fiction and you’ll understand SubverCity Transmit,” says Erin.
They hope to make the production of The Sapphic Cast’s first season and SubverCity Transmit’s second season, a good couple of starter projects for their new umbrella team, Dark Quill Productions.
Alex, the showrunner, envisions 10 episodes per season of The Sapphic Cast. The first three episodes aired on the Lesbian Talk Show and have now also launched on their own feed. Ideally, they’d like to release episodes biweekly and at the end of a season, go on hiatus while they craft a new season for Sapphic while simultaneously releasing episodes of SubverCity Transmit (and then vice versa).
As of this blog’s publishing, The Sapphic Cast is on a mini-hiatus due to the re-crafting of the vision of the show (after Erin’s arrival). They are considering the first three episodes their teasers while they develop the rest of the first season. They’re already crafting 4 episodes for TSC and 2 for ST with more deals in the works. However, both shows need your help in regards to finding authors, stories and listeners.
Andi here! SO TO THAT END, FRIENDS!!!! You can support them!
Their Patreon is set up and they have several ideas for patron tiers and bonuses. They’re also thinking of filtering erotica content behind the Patreon paywall for both financial support (they’d eventually love to be able to pay authors, narrators and sound designers for their work but right now everything is coming out of the pockets and the hearts of the creators) and age-gating. They’d like to do their best about being responsible in regards to sexual content without fully shying away from it. They also want to be able to get listener/supporter feedback so they can find and provide content for various lesbian-identifying relationship dynamics and styles (i.e. femme/butch, butch/butch, bi/genderqueer, etc.).
What is it?
An anthology fiction podcast for a lesbian audience
Where can I hear it?
The Sapphic Cast website (or your favorite podcast player)
How can I support it?
Listening, sharing it with your friends, telling lesfic authors about them, leaving reviews in your favorite podcast players, drawing fan art, finding them agents, sending white magic blessings and financially via:
How can I follow it?
Wait… there’s a duck?
Yes, and you can follow Snipps on Facebook! (@snippsaducky)
How can I submit a story?
If you’d like to support the project and you are an author of fanfiction, they’re looking for fanfiction and original fiction short stories of a length of about 2,000 to 5,000 words. One or more of the main characters need to be a lesbian or female-identifying bisexual. Authors can be of any gender or have any sexual preference as long as the content is respectful. (They’ll be the judges of that.)
If you have a story that falls into any other spectrum of LGBTQIA, they’d like to see that too for SubverCity Transmit. Submissions can be sent to their email address at:
TheSapphicCast AT gmail DOT com
Currently, everyone working on this is a volunteer and they’re doing this for the love of audio drama and lesbian fiction. They do hope to be Patreon- or Angel-supported in the future so that they can offer payment to everyone involved for their hard work.
About the Authors:
Snipps, the duck, is a special-needs Cayuga duck living with Alex Woods in Sweden. Despite needing special care he manages to go on many adventures including now being the co-star of The Sapphic Cast.
Erin Lillis has been in the business of podcasting since 2014, later becoming a narrator with The MashStories Podcast before it shuttered. She joined The NoSleep Podcast voice cast in 2017 and has been entrenched in the audio drama world ever since. Beyond audio, Erin also dabbles in ghost hunting, eCommerce and embroidery.
Alex Woods has been podcasting since last year. It started off with the “Ask An Asexual” series for the Lesbian Talk Show podcast. After that they concentrated on creating their own fiction-based shows. When not coming up with show ideas and pestering Erin to eat more vegetables, Alex can be found teaching sexual education courses, breeding rare Swedish ducks back from extinction, punching hawks out of the sky and preserving the crafts and stories of the Sámi people.