How Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast Came to Be
by Lorie Lewis Ham
For anyone who doesn't know me, I have been publishing Kings River Life Magazine for eight years now, and before that, I published five mystery novels. KRL not only publishes local pet and arts articles from our area near Fresno, CA but half our issue each week is mystery related-reviews, giveaways, short stories, author interviews and more. Our latest adventure is a mystery podcast!
Over the last few years, I began to discover podcasts and I found that I love them! I feel in many ways they have taken the place of radio-with the added benefit that you can find things that specifically interest you, plus you can take them with you in your car, on your phone, and so on. I listen to ones on writing, politics, John and Hank Green (if you don't know who they are you really should find out they are awesome!), my favorite preacher, mystery, books, favorite TV shows and more. My daughter is in love with a true crime one called "My Favorite Murder."
So how did I get from podcast fan to creator? KRL got a YouTube channel a few years ago after I discovered some amazing web series and vloggers (video bloggers) and I started thinking about how cool it would be to make my own web series. But the expense and skills for that were just too much for my non-existent budget and time so I gave that idea up for the most part. We do still do video author interviews on occasion, and have done some local food and entertainment videos.
Last year an idea started to sprout. I couldn't do a web series, but what about a podcast? Was that something more doable? So I started learning more about how podcasts are made and a little more about what kind of podcasts were already out there. My husband has worked in radio for a very long time, and for the last several years, his primary job has been producing radio programs so right there I had an edge.
Next, I started considering what exactly the podcast could be. I checked around for other mystery podcasts and most of them focus on author interviews, so that was already covered and we interview authors on KRL already as well. Here is where an idea started to bloom-KRL also covers local theatre, and my kids are also involved in local theatre so I also have a lot of theatre connections. What about having local actors read mystery short stories? And that's when things started coming together! We put out the call for short stories, and then started auditioning local actors.
The rest has been learn as you go. The stories came out shorter than I expected when recorded, so length will probably change over time unless it feels like a short podcast is the way to go-they are running around 10 minutes at this point. I also got the idea of having them read first chapters from mystery novels as well and put the word out on that--we may only have gotten enough stories so far to take us to the end of the year so far, but we have been flooded with chapters! Chapter wise, we are scheduled through June of 2019.
I also had to figure out where to host the podcast (even if I wanted to put it on KRL, I still needed something more) and ended up with Podbean who hosts one of my favorite podcasts. Beginning costs are also very low-another plus! And it has a great look and easy to use-always a plus for me.
The first podcasts have been recorded and by now two of them have aired-"The Pub Crawl" by Nancy Cole Silverman, and "The Dead Lady's Coat" by Joan Leotta. We also have the next two already recorded-"The Players" by Dennis Palumbo and our first, first chapter, "The Deepest Grave," the latest Crispin Guest novel by Jeri Westerson! Both of those will go up in August with the short story being a bonus going up mid month.
I nearly forgot to talk about our actors. Our announcer is named Jim Tuck and he not only has done a lot of local theatre, he has been a radio and commercial voice for decades! Our actor auditions are audio only and they email me the files, which they have recorded on their laptops, their phones, and in some cases their own studios. We have a location locally where we record when needed, and in the other cases, the actors have their own equipment they can use and then send the finished product to us. In true KRL fashion, stories and recordings are coming from all over! Then my husband the producer puts all of the pieces together! The theme song was written by a friend and was a song I actually recorded on my final CD (I used to sing gospel music as well).
Once the first podcast went up it was then time to learn one more bit of technical stuff-how to get them on iTunes and Google Play! So now you can find us on both of those, plus on our Podbean website (https://mysteryratsmaze.podbean.com/) so I hope you check us out and keep coming back!
For the writers out there, we will constantly be looking for short stories, and reprints so to speak, are okay. Length at the moment is around 2000 words but that could change over time. We are currently considering doing some longer stories released in two parts. Whileyou are more than welcome to submit first chapters-we are way out on those already. But keep in touch and keep checking back! We are open to any type of mystery short story-just not too strong of language or graphic sex.
You can submit your stories/chapters and ask questions you may have by contacting us at email@example.com. You can also subscribe to our podcast newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/kingsriverlife) to keep up with the latest podcast news-or simply subscribe on iTunes, Google Play or Podbean.
Lastly, the name. Well if you have been following me, and following KRL, over the last many years you will know online I am known as Mysteryrat! It is my email, my Twitter, and the name of KRL's mystery section. So what better name to use than that! Oh and if you are wondering where Mysteryrat came from to begin with-I write and love mysteries, and I used to rescue pet rats!
So I hope you check us out, submit, and keep following us (https://mysteryratsmaze.podbean.com/) as we continue on this exciting new adventure!