Welcome to She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars, two brand-new anthologies that share a common theme – masquerades – but tell different types of stories – wlw in She Wears the Midnight Crown and mlm in He Bears the Cape of Stars. These collections are the latest titles from Duck Prints Press, the indie publisher founded by fans to publish original works by fan creators, and they’re crowdfunding NOW, only on Seed & Spark!
Curious about the collections? Well, here’s a sneak peek of the works of two of our creators!
He Bears the Cape of Stars Contributor Spotlight: Jessica Black
Biography: Jessie, pen name Jessica Black, fandom name alocalband, decided she wanted to be a writer at the age of seven and hasn’t looked back since. With a degree in screenwriting, she spent the majority of her career working on assorted projects in Hollywood, New York, and Puerto Rico. Lately, however, she’s settled down to a quieter life with her cat, her library, and a constantly filling notebook of new ideas. Hobbies include reading, hiking, gaming, knitting, and going to hockey games.
Story Title: The Numbers Game
The first time Braden tries on a Pro League helmet, he feels like he’s been blindfolded. No, worse. Like a bag’s been thrown over his head that he’s not allowed to dislodge. He reaches a hand out blindly in front of him, searching for purpose, only to grab at nothing. For the first time since he was three years old, the skates on his feet don’t feel nearly solid enough on the ice to keep him standing.
Braden wobbles and tries to keep the panic out of his voice as he says “I can’t see,” when what he means is I can’t breathe.
Ollie’s voice is uncharacteristically calm and reasonable, so much so that he sounds like his dad. “I’ve heard it takes a second for your eyes to adjust.”
Braden focuses on making his lungs work and on not falling on his ass like he’s still on a peewee team, but he slowly finds that Ollie’s words are correct. He’s not blindfolded; the face shield isn’t completely opaque, just dark and immersive, doubly so at first since he’s been staring at a bright, white sheet of ice under clear blue skies all day.
“I know we call them buckets, but this feels like overkill.” His attempt at humor feels strained, but Ollie laughs all the same. Ollie always laughs.
“Hold up, let me turn it on.”
There’s a thunk to the side of the helmet that Braden wasn’t prepared for, but what really startles him is the sudden graphic display across the visor. Stats to one side, biometrics on the other, and changing indicator lines down the middle, like he’s playing a video game.
She Wears the Midnight Crown Contributor Spotlight: Sebastian Marie
Biography: Sebastian Marie (he/him) is an engineering student with a penchant for writing off-the-wall fantasy, darkly comedic prose, and sickeningly indulgent short stories. He has a lot of opinions about dragons, pirates, and swordfighting that he explores through fanfiction for various fandoms. His original works often combine fantasy and dystopia into what he calls “queer fantasy hopepunk,” something that will be explored in his future novels. He loves to write conflicting traditional and non-traditional family dynamics, especially where they intersect with queer relationships. And if he can throw werewolves and brujas into the mix? So much the better.
When not writing, frantically completing homework, or reading, he can be found boxing, sewing, playing Dungeons and Dragons, or going on long rambling walks while plotting stories (and occasionally falling into rivers).
Links: Archive of Our Own
Story Title: That Danger Would Seem Sport
“No! I can’t…I won’t just collapse into your arms again like nothing’s changed. Not after–”
“After what? Being separated for something we didn’t do? Thinking the other was dead for years? Almost forgetting what your face looks like? I’m sorry it took me so long to find you again, and I’m sorry I had to leave you in the first place–”
“That’s not something to be sorry for! Piracy is a duty, we knew the risks–”
“No, I’m going to say sorry for that because fuck duty. You didn’t deserve me leaving you, and you definitely don’t deserve to feel so guilty or whatever that you won’t even hug me!” Mo takes a breath. She has always loved the complexity of Marianna’s emotions, how duty and empathy pull her in so many different directions. Mo doesn’t understand all of it, doesn’t understand how Marianna can see their reunion as anything other than marvelous, but she will respect her. “If you’ve got someone else, or a family, or you don’t want me anymore, I’ll go away. But if we both want this, and we can have it, why can’t we try again?”
Intrigued? You should be! But, if you want to read the rest of these stories you’ll need to back our campaign, running now through July 14th, 2022!