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!
She Wears the Midnight Crown Contributor Spotlight: N. C. Farrell
Biography: N. C. Farrell (they/he) grew up in California’s Silicon Valley, where they spent long days hiking the coastal mountains, reading an impressive number of books about dragons (and cats, and spaceships, and magic, etc.), and creating stories with their friends. He moved to Massachusetts for college, where he studied psychology while reading more books (some of which were even for classes!), participating in LARPs, and ensuring that the SF/F club’s student-run convention had a solid schedule. Since graduating, N. C. Farrell has worked in various education-related roles. They currently spend much of their free time reading (more translated webnovels than paper books right now), writing (a lot of fanfic), practicing aikido, playing TTRPGs, and being supervised by a small shadow in the shape of a cat.
Story Title: Eldest Daughter Seeks Her Wife
I couldn’t help but think Bea would want to document this as I mixed milk and honey in my mother’s silver bowl. Bea wanted to document everything; it made her a fantastic journalist while also making any journey we took last twice as long. The photos were worth it, though; Bea’s scrapbooks were tomes of rich memory from our college meeting to graduating together to marriage and the newness of a home of our own.
She took in the whole world, and I wasn’t going to let anyone take her away from it.
I pricked my finger and squeezed a few drops of blood into the honeyed milk before wrapping a bandage tight around the tiny wound. I didn’t want the fairies having free access to my blood; there were too many things they could do if they touched it outside of my own ritual.
Then I picked up the silver bowl and approached the fairy circle. “I wish you were here to see this,” I whispered to Bea. “You should be the one making history.”
He Bears the Cape of Stars Contributor Spotlight: Era J. M. Couts
Biography: I’ve been a writer for over 20 years.
Well, if I actually think about it carefully, it has probably been longer than that. I do remember writing a story on MS Paint when my age was still single digits. I could have used Word, but Paint was funnier, it let me draw my scenes there too.
So maybe I should rephrase it: I have been a fanfic writer for over 20 years. There, that looks a bit better. I wrote a few originals, too, but those never saw the light of day. They will, eventually.
I like to write about characters and their development. I like to write about feelings and struggles and how complicated life can be even when it looks so simple. I like to write epic love stories that don’t always have a happy ending. But most often they do.
I will, one day, write a dystopian series that I’ve been plotting for over a decade. One day, certainly one day.
Aside from being a writer, I’m a reader, an opinionated mind, an Aries, an immigrant, a coffee lover, and a night owl that has been forced to conform to the social norm of waking up early only to become a “Morgenmuffel.”
I am passionate, energetic, lazy, and sarcastic. I’m a CrazyCatLady in the making, a food lover that cannot cook, the Man™ my grandma wanted me to marry, and a happy soul in my own shoes.
And, above all, I am weird. I am queer. And so damn proud of it.
Story Title: Fragments of Sand
“Do you miss it?” Aoi’s voice was so low Kaveh could barely hear him. The witch’s Mask was old past an age any human should reach, frail as wet paper. They sat together in the belvedere of what had been a castle, eyeing the ruins taken by nature. Kaveh’s Mask – tall, handsome, healthy – contrasted with Aoi’s. He sighed, unsure of what the witch meant but too tired to ask. “Your home.”
“It’s a dark and humid place, devoid of life except from the ones I feed from,” Kaveh shrugged, flexing his hand. The burn in his palm gently fading, pointing to the success of yet another mission. Year 317 of 400, mission no. 3981. “There’s nothing to miss there.”
“I meant the desert,” Aoi said, as though commenting on the blue colour of the sky. Kaveh closed his eyes, clenched his teeth, shook the damn tingle from his blood before staring at the centenarian woman next to him. Aoi gave him a delicate smile. “Your soul smells like the desert. Dusty, dry herbs, and camel breaths. Far older than most of the religions that walk the earth today.”
“Aoi,” Kaveh warned, low and gravelled, a bleeding wound refusing to heal.
“An ancient Bedouin turned vampire…” It wasn’t pity that crawled under Aoi’s broken voice. It was a cold tone of deep sorrow, a relatableness that Kaveh hadn’t encountered before. It was foreign and, in all its passiveness, it pulled strings that Kaveh thought long broken. “Born under the scorching sun only to have it turn into your demise… it must’ve been hard.”
“What’s your point?!” he snapped, glaring at the Mask next to him.
“There’s no point…” Aoi said, soft, delicate, the weight of several lifetimes on his eyes. “I miss home too.”
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!