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Happy National Haiku Day! Enjoy These 15 Poems

Today, April 17 2024, is National Haiku Day! We celebrated by writing some poems. 😀 Not all adhere to the syllable count correctly but hey, it’s the spirit that counts…we had fun writing them, and we hope you have fun reading them!

Graphic 1 of 15 for National Haiku Day. This, and all subsequent graphics, bears the label "Haiku Day" and has a blue artsy circle over a white background. Within the circle is the text of a haiku and the name of the author, and the circle is accented with clipart that aligns with the topic of the poem. On this graphic, the poem reads: "A quiet minute to gather my thoughts, and then I get back to work." Author: Nina Waters. The clipart is of a melty-looking clock.
Graphic 2 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "A huge between friends - close and secure, safe and warm - nothing can beat it." Author: Nina Waters. The clipart is of a of two disembodied arms, one light skinned, one dark skinned, embracing.
Graphic 3 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "Take a character. Take another character. Then, hehehehe." Author: Xianyu Zhou. The clipart is of an emoji making the suggestive "hey..." smirk expression.
Graphic 4 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "Sleep now, little one. Nothing hides beneath the bed. It comes out at night." Author: Rhosyn Goodfellow. The clipart is of a scary face with large eyes, a triangle nose, and jack-o-lantern squiggly mouth.
Graphic 5 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "UST, angst, desire. The heart longs, desperately. Who can hear its cry?" Author: Kelas. The clipart is of a pink heart with an eye in the middle of it, the eye shedding a single large tear.
Graphic 6 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "Colors in the sky. When the sun winds kiss the earth, a rainbow at night." Author: Alessa Riel. The clipart is of an aurora borealis in all colors of the rainbow.
Graphic 7 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "Strangers to lovers. There was only one bed. Must have been fate." Author: Alessa Riel. The clipart is of a bed with pink and gray pillows, one shaped like a heart.
Graphic 8 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "Bookshop meet cute and they were roommates. Love at first sight." Author: Alessa Riel. The clipart is of a cupid bow with a red heart arrow shedding additional hearts.
Graphic 9 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "stupid fucking taxes. US, why are you so dumb? just the worst system." Author: E. C. The clipart is of a a paper labeled TAX with stylized money atop them.
Graphic 10 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "wealth-hoarding, greedy, crime via complexity. time to eat the rich." Author: E. C.. The clipart is of a guillotine.
Graphic 11 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "Sometimes, when it rains a bloated pigeon's body falls from the drain pipe." Author: boneturtle. The clipart is of a a bird, but it's in jagged black lines and heavily stylized.
Graphic 12 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "Golden pockets there while mine are filled with ashes. Life just isn't fair." Author: Cedar. The clipart is of a pair of hands reaching out to open a brown wallet to show the money compartment bare save for a single coin and a cobweb.
Graphic 13 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "Trickle down a lie. A puddle at your bootstraps. Try to lift them up." Author: Cedar. The clipart is of a spurred boots standing in a puddle.
Graphic 14 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "Fear consumes me, love, but flees when you grab onto my soft, trembling hand." Author: Terra P. Waters. The clipart is of a pair of hands, one brown, one peach, reaching toward each other.
Graphic 15 of 15 for National Haiku Day. On this graphic, the poem reads: "A tall tree offers one tiny cluster of blooms, patiently tended." Author: Shea Sullivan. The clipart is of a tree with three colored flowers blooming on it.

Why not take a moment and join us by writing a haiku of your own in the comments? We’d love to read yours!

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Round Table Discussion: Grammar Pet Peeves

Today, March 4th, is National Grammar Day! Last year, we celebrated with six of our favorite grammar quirks. This year, we’re going to the other end of the spectrum: we had a conversation with our editors and blog contributors about grammar things we hate. They may be technically correct, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make us crazy. Eighteen people, many anonymous, contributed to this discussion.

Dangling Modifiers

boneturtle: Dangling modifiers, hands down. Even when I can decipher what the writer meant based on context, it viscerally hurts me every time. When I am editing I have to stand up and take a lap around my apartment when I hit a dangling modifier. Remind myself that I am here to help. Learn more about dangling modifiers.

Commas

anonymous: Commas are not difficult! Commas end phrases. Full stop. That’s all they do. Is a phrase necessary to the grammatical coherence of the sentence? if the answer is yes, no commas because that phrase hasn’t ended. If the answer is no, commas! comma hug that bish if it’s the middle of a sentence. The difference between grammatical and informational is whether or not the sentence makes sense without the phrase. 

Examples: 

The man who ordered the six double anchovy pizzas claims to have a dolphin in his pool. 

You need “who ordered the six double anchovy pizzas” because you need to identify which man you’re talking about. The world is full of many men. 

The ancient Buick, which Madeleine purchased via Craigslist, belched black smoke whenever she pressed the accelerator. 

We don’t need to know how Madeleine purchased the car for the sentence to make sense. You don’t even meed “Madeleine” for the grammar to make sense. Therefore, hug that phrase! 

(a comma on each side of the phrase) or give it a dramatic send off with a comma and an end punctuation. (i could go into conjunctions, too, but those are a little more complex, and if you were taught them properly, i understand not getting the comma use 😂 ) 

Prepositions at the End of Sentences

Tris Lawrence: There was a dictionary (Merriam-Webster? Oxford? idek) that posted recently on social media about how the rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition came from English scholars trying to make English line up with Latin, and that it’s totally okay to do it… and I’m just wanting to point to it to yell THIS because uhhh trying to rework sentences to not end in a preposition often creates clunky awkward things (my opinion, I recognize this).

D. V. Morse: Ending sentences/clauses with a preposition. Well, not doing that is supposed to be the rule, but depending on the sentence, it can be a convoluted mess to try and avoid it. Winston Churchill famously told someone off after they “caught” him breaking that rule, saying, “This is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.” (Yes, I had to look that up.)

Pronoun Confusion

anonymous: I hate playing the pronoun game when reading. I hate it in life when someone comes up to me and tells me a story involving 2 people of the same pronouns and stops using names halfway through, and I hate it while reading too. Nothing makes me fall out of scene more if I don’t know who just did/said what. Use names. That’s why we have them.

Nina Waters: epithets. If I know the characters name…why? Also, when people use “you” in third person writing. There are times I’ll allow it as an editor/times when I do think it’s at least acceptable but not gonna lie, I absolutely hate it.

anonymous: My pet peeve … I read hundreds of essays in a given month for work, plus a whole lot of fanfic for fun. A rising issue that I have noticed in both places is incomplete sentences (lacking subjects, typically). I think it’s because people rely on Google’s grammar checker to tell them if something is wrong and…Google doesn’t check for that apparently. I’m increasingly convinced that my high schoolers simply weren’t taught sentence structure, because when I ask them to fix it they almost universally say some variant of “I don’t understand what you’re asking me to do.” Therefore, it might be punching down a little to complain about it. I’m not sure. It does drive me nuts though. Lol

“Would Of”

Neo Scarlett: Not quite sure if that falls under grammar, but I hate hate hate when people use “should of” instead of should’ve. Or “would of.” It just makes my toe nails curl up because it may sound right, but it looks wrong and is wrong.

Semi-Colons

Shea Sullivan: I saw a list punctuated by semicolons recently and that made me froth at the mouth a bit.

anonymous: I think any editor who’s worked with me knows that I have a pet peeve about using colons or semi-colons in dialogue. Or really, any punctuation mark that I don’t think people can actually pronounce. Semicolons can live anywhere that I don’t have to imagine a character actually pronouncing them.

English isn’t Dumb!

theirprofoundbond: As a former linguistics student, it bugs me a lot when people say that English is a dumb or stupid language because it has borrowed from so many languages. What people mean when they say this is, “English can be really difficult (even for native speakers).” But I wish people would say that, instead of “it’s dumb/stupid.” Languages are living things. Like other living things, they adapt and evolve. English is basically a beautiful, delightful platypus. Let it be a platypus.

Dei Walker: I remember seeing somewhere that English has four types of rules (I’m trying to find the citation today) and everyone conflates them. And I guess my pet peeve is that everyone treats them equally when they’re NOT. There are rules but not all of them are the same – there’s a difference between “adjectives precede nouns” (big truck, not *truck big) and “don’t split infinitives” (which is arbitrary).

And, because we couldn’t resist, here are some of our favorite things, because when we asked for pet peeves…some people still shared things they loved instead of things they hated.

Oxford Comma

Terra P. Waters: I really really love the Oxford comma.

boneturtle: me: [in kindergarten, using oxford comma]

teacher: no, we don’t add a comma between the last two objects in a list.

me: that’s illogical and incorrect.

anonymous: I will forever appreciate my second grade teacher’s explanation of Oxford comma use: Some sentences are harder to understand if you don’t use it, but no sentence will ever be harder to understand because you do use it. Preach, Mrs. D

anonymous: I am definitely Team Oxford Comma. I even have a bumper sticker which says so

Other Favorites

Shea Sullivan: I adore the emdash, to every editor’s chagrin.

Shadaras: zeugmas! I think they’re super cool!

Shea Sullivan and Hermit: I use sentence fragments a lot. Fragments my beloved.

English Grammar vs. Grammar in Other Languages

anonymous: so in English my favourite thing is the parallel Latin and Saxon registers because of how that affects grammar, but in Japanese my favourite grammatical thing is the use of an actual sound at the end of the sentence to denote a question, as opposed to how in English we use intonation? Also how in Japanese the sentence structure requires reasoning first and action second in terms of clauses. So rather than go “let’s go to the cinema because it’s raining and I’m cold,” you’d go “because it’s raining and I’m cold, let’s go to the cinema.” (My least favourite thing is the lack of spaces between words in the written form but that’s purely because I find that level of continuous letters intimidating to translate.)

I also love how Japanglish in the foreign communities in Japan starts to develop its own grammatical structure as a way of situating yourself in this space between the two languages. It’s used as a call-sign of belonging to that specific community, because in order to make some of the jokes and consciously break the rules of English or Japanese grammar and/or choose to obey one or the other, you’re basically displaying your control over both/knowledge of them. Like, the foreign community in Japan is often a disparate group of people with multiple different native languages who are relying on their knowledge of at least one non-native language but often two to signify their status in the group as Also An Outsider and I think that’s really interesting.

Nina Waters: Chinese and Japanese both drop subjects, and Chinese doesn’t have like… a/the… Japanese doesn’t have a future tense… Chinese kinda sorta doesn’t have tenses at all… (these are not pet peeves, btw, I love how learning a language with such different ways of approaching these things reshapes my brain). Chinese also doesn’t really have yes or no.

There’s a joke somewhere on Tumblr about that, though I actually think it’s about using “a” versus “the,” like, someone was giving a Russian speaker a hard time after they said “get in car” and they were like “only you English speakers are dumb enough to feel this is essential why would I be talking about getting into any random car of course I mean our car wtf.”

anonymous: on the subject of other languages, epithets are also something that happen differently in other languages. In French repeating a word (names included, and sometimes even pronouns) is considered bad writing. As in, way more than in English. Going by how grating the English translation of the Witcher books was to me when the French one was fine, I’d say it’s the same with Polish, at least. It’s also very interesting how brains adapt to writing styles in other languages.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite grammar quirks, in English or in the language of your choice?

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Our Favorite Reads of 2023

A graphic showing 9 book covers over a rainbow gradient background, with the text "Our Fave Reads of 2023." The book covers are: Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed; Consort of Fire by Kit Rocha; The Spear Cuts Through the Water by Simon Jimenez; Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki; Mo Du by Priest; Hijab Butch Blues by Almya H; Death by Silver by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold; The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K. S. Villoso; and Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir. Graphic 1/2 for this post.
A graphic showing 12 book covers over a rainbow gradient background. The books are: November by Thomas Olde Heuvelt; Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle; To Drive the Hundred Miles by Alec J. Marsh; Siren Queen by Nghi Vo; The Heart-Break Bakery by A. R. Capetta; Many Drops Make a Stream by Adrian Harley; Heaven Official's Blessing by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu; Add Magic to Taste; A Power Unbound by Freya Marske; The Last Sun by K. D. Edwards; Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh; and Open Throat by Henry Hoke. Graphic 2/2 for this post.

Inspired by this post from the Queer Liberation Library, we asked our awesome rec-list contributors to name their one favorite read of 2023, and the result is a list wonderful in its diversity of formats, genres, characters, stories, and authors. Check um out!

What was YOUR favorite read of 2023? Dare ya to try to pick only one!

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Next Weekend: Duck Prints Press at Fandom Fest!

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Fandom Fest 2023 – the largest con aimed at fantasy enthusiasts in Upstate New York – is taking place next weekend, Saturday, August 26th, and Sunday, August 27th, at Proctor’s Theater in downtown Schenectady, New York!

As fate would have it, where is Duck Prints Press based? Why, in Schenectady, New York! So of course, we’ll be there – vending at a convention for the FIRST TIME EVER! We’ve been hard at work gathering all our merch, organizing the print books left over from our past campaigns, getting supplies so we can easily get set up (we own a hand truck now!), and PREPARING FOR OUR PANEL!

Yes, we’re hosting a PANEL! Featuring yours truly (I’m unforth, aka Nina Waters, aka Claire Houck – last one’s my actual name 😀 ), authors Shea Sullivan, Catherine E. Green, Tris Lawrence, and Willa Blythe, and Albany Law School professor Rob Heverly! Our author Nova Mason will also be putting in a cameo at our booth, handling sales while the rest of us are en-paneled.

Fans show their love of their fandoms in many ways, and one of the most common is by writing fanfiction! Among fanauthors, it's common to dream of a future in publication. How can fanauthors make that dream a reality? That's the topic of this panel! Hi, we're Duck Prints Press, an indie press based right here in Schenectady, and we're fans who work with other fans to publish their original work (ofic). There are many considerations when looking to make the transition from fanauthor to ofic author, and we'll be looking at many of those considerations and answering your questions. We'll discuss several common paths people follow when they seek to get published, "barcode scrubbing" and other fanfiction-specific publication concerns, copyright concerns and contract pitfalls, what our Press does, and more! Bring your curiosity, your favorite blorbos, and your questions—we look forward to seeing you there! 

So, if you’re gonna be at Fandom Fest (it’s not too late to get advance tickets!), make sure you come say hi! We’d be thrilled to meet ya!

(and, while I know we’ll be your main inducement for attending, might I mention that Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, and a bunch of other celebrities will be there? and a bunch of gaming? and of course a cosplay contest? it’s gonna be lots of fun, y’all…)

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“Aim For The Heart” Contributor Biographies

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Meet the authors and artists who are contributing to Aim For The Heart: Queer Fanworks Inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s “The Three Musketeers”!

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Artists

Aceriee

Hi! I’m Aceriee and I draw sometimes. I’ve been drawing all my life, but after falling into the Supernatural fandom in 2014 I’ve mostly focused on fanart.

Links: Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

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Cris Alborja

I’m an illustration and comic artist from Spain. I’ve got a nursing degree, but I decided to pursue my passion. I have studied Illustration at EASD Pablo Picasso in A Coruña and comics at O Garaxe Hermético in Pontevedra. I have done cover art for an anthology called Infiniteca by Retranca Editorial and comics for Altar Mutante, Nai dos Desterrados, and Abraxas en Cuarentena fanzines, as well as in Gaspariño 21 by Retranca Editorial.

Link: Instagram

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bloomingtea

Téa is a hypothetical writer and artist, a professional procrastinator, and a merch hoarder. When they aren’t working on personal projects, they moderate zines and bake the same loaf of bread over and over again. From their pile of WIPs, they’ve managed to self-publish one book and are currently working on other manuscripts to eventually release into the world. Until then, they remain the worst gamer on Twitch and like to spend their free time ranting about books and thinking about fictional lawyer video games.

Link: Personal Website | Twitter

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C

A massive drinker of coffee and a lover of old TV shows and movies, C is a small-time concept artist and illustrator who likes to dabble in all things literature and history. When she’s not busy drawing and nodding along to Bruce Springsteen while researching the Kentucky Cave Wars, she’s trying to save up for grad school to become to a forensic artist so she can draw some more.

Link: Tumblr

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Amy Fincher

Amy Fincher (she/her) is a producer and artist with over a dozen years of experience in the video game and animation industries. She has contributed to various AAA and indie titles, including the Civilization, XCOM, and Skylanders series. Amy is currently working on Open Roads as Executive Producer. When the mood strikes and time allows, she teaches art classes and takes on art commissions on the side. Her hobbies include learning aerial silks, collecting aesthetically pleasing empty containers, looking at shiny rocks, and taking very long naps.

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Kou Lukeman

Kou Lukeman is an artist, composer, writer, and video-game developer. His long-term goal is to someday lead a video-game company that makes video games by queer and neurodivergent people. Kou identifies as queer, neurodivergent, and is proud to be both. He is an avid Final Fantasy 14 player, a huge Kingdom Hearts fan, and video games have inspired Kou to create from a very young age. While his main creative interests tend to be in queer and neurodivergent horror, Kou also dabbles in fantasy as a genre. He is currently working on releasing his first few games and a graphic horror novel about neurodiversity and queer people in society.

Link: Instagram

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Giulia Malagoli

Giulia Malagoli (she/they) got into art because of generally friendly competition with a classmate in middle school, and now she has an entire Bachelor’s Degree in Concept Art to show for it. 

For about ten years, she has been hopping through fandom spaces—from video games, to comics, to movies and TV series—and has drawn inspiration from each of them for both fan and original art. The result is a passion for character design and for art that weaves a story into its visuals, with a whole lot of feelings about the role of The Narrative to boot. 

To chase this passion Giulia has moved from their home country of Italy to the United Kingdom and back again. They now work as a freelance illustrator with enthusiasm, always scraping some time at the end of the day to keep up with fandom friends.

Links: ArtStation | Twitter

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MidnightSilver

I’m MidnightSilver (They/Them). I’m a freelance artist who specialises in fandom art, most often inspired by Supernatural the TV show, and I can usually be found illustrating stories for independent authors—my favourites are those that combine adventure/magic/horror with a boatload of feels! As a bi, non-binary, mixed-race person, I don’t believe in restrictive boundaries, and I love tales that highlight diversity and freedom of expression while at the same time incorporating the fantastical and magical elements that I fell in love with when reading stories as a child. It’s my aim to take all the many wondrous worlds and people with whom we visit when lost in book pages at 2 o’clock in the morning and to share them with you in visual form. It’s a project I never tire of pursuing.

Links: Archive of Our Own | deviantArt

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Queen Sponge Studios

Thanks for reading my bio! My name is Sponge, and I use they/them pronouns! I am currently studying for a Game Arts degree through online courses at SNHU. Along with working at a thrift store, I enjoy working on projects with others. Based in Northern Wisconsin, I majorly entertain myself through art and media pertaining to it. On the long list of my hobbies, I enjoy staying active as well as collecting. I am an avid, crazed Sanrio fanatic with a long list of fandoms dating all the way back to when I was ten. I may be more reserved, but I love making new connections through creation! Meeting like-minded individuals working toward a common goal has been the most fulfilling experience I have had to date. As a young artist, I have dabbled in vending at conventions, game art, and selling my own merchandise online. I hope to one day fully chase after my ambitions of artistry full-time through a studio! Thank you for your support and interest in my work!

Links: Etsy | Instagram | TikTok

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Jennifer Smith

Smith has been drawing since a young age. With a focus in traditional drawing techniques, she has recently started using digital mediums to imitate traditional styles. Her focus is in portraiture and landscapes, especially with watercolor. You can find more of her art on her Tumblr.

Link: Tumblr

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Toby.exe

Freelance Animator and Illustrator based in the UK. He/They LGBTQ+ friendly little goblin who plays excessive amounts of DnD and loves to play Live Action Roleplay events all over the country! If I am not at home drawing, I am out and about playing a variety of fantasy characters in the woods and hitting people with silly foam swords.

Links: Personal Website | Instagram | Patreon | Twitter

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Jupiter V

Hailing from Kjipuktuk/Halifax, Nova Scotia (that’s in Canada), Jupiter V is an artist, musician, and creative crackerjack with a career spanning over a decade. Cutting their teeth designing award-winning gig posters, they’ve gone on to illustrate for film, graphic fiction, children’s literature, and more. At times, they have been caught painting murals at the circus (?!) and whooping their child mercilessly in Rivals of Aether. 

Jupiter is currently toiling away at their next graphic work of fiction, Wizards 99k, as we speak.

Link: Instagram

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Amy Alexander Weston

Alex, AKA foxymoley, (she/her) is best described as a jack of all trades, but practices digital art more than anything else. She just wants to make things and change the world for the better. 

Links: Archive of Our Own | Instagram | Tumblr

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Amalia Zeichneren

Amalia Zeichnerin (she/her) lives in Hamburg, Germany. She is a disabled queer woman with a chronic illness and lives in a polyam polycule. Amalia mostly writes original fiction (SFF, cosy Victorian mysteries, Queer Romance) in German and has also one English Star Wars fan fiction on AO3, with one of her favorite shippings, StormPilot. Amalia also likes to draw and paint, especially fantasy world maps, character portraits, and sometimes also fanart. Amalia’s hobbies include pen-and-paper RPG and LARPing; these also have inspired some of her writing and artworks.

Link: Linktree

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Jagoda Zirebiec

Hiya! I’m Jagoda or MizuShiba. I am a game dev artist currently working on a few unannounced titles. In my spare time I love to join collaborative projects like this, or charity Zines. This is my first project with DPP and hopefully not last! 

I’m located in Poland and currently live here with my family. Aside from art, I’m interested in collecting dice and playing ttrpgs with friends. 

Links: ArtStation | Tumblr | Twitter

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Authors

Len Amin

Len Amin was brought up living between worlds in her small suburban town in the Midwest throughout the year, and summering frequently to visit her Palestinian Family living in the West Bank. Her family is larger-than-life in true Arabian fashion, including a very prissy puppy named Charles who refuses to sleep alone and chews up all of her sister’s barbie dolls. Though never quite feeling like she belonged in either world, she instead fell in love with the stories with the people that resided in these places—how the humanity can be found so effortlessly if one just delved that bit deeper into someone’s “once upon a time.” Etching down words into her flower-printed journals and shuffling a fresh spread from her star-printed tarot deck for her friends were always her way to connect to someone and to open up that channel of understanding. Len is now about to hit her mid-twenties, and has nothing to lose as she strives for her Social Work degree while also focusing on her true passion of writing her first full-length novel. You can find the updates on her writing journey, and support her endeavors on her Tumblr page.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Tumblr | Twitter

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Aria L. Deair

Aria L. Deair is an author who has been writing and (while cursing her excessive comma usage) publishing fanfiction online for more than sixteen years. Freelance writer by day and author every other hour that she isn’t sleeping, she spends her days courting carpal tunnel and “forgetting” to wear her wrist brace.

As a proud member of more fandoms than she can count, Aria can be found blogging about some of the writing that she is avoiding doing at arialerendeair.tumblr.com.

Like a dragon with her hoard, she can be found in her New Hampshire apartment, surrounded by notebooks (most of which are empty), half-filled mugs of tea, and some of the comfiest blankets that have ever existed. Disturb her at your own risk, especially during NaNo Season.

Links: Discord: Dragon#5555 | Tumblr | Twitter

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E. V. Dean

E. V. Dean is a writer with a decade of fanfiction writing under her belt. She’s embarking on her original fiction adventure with the angst tag kept within arm’s reach. Her favorite excuse not to write is watching Jeopardy.

Links: Instagram | Tumblr

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Rhosyn Goodfellow

Rhosyn Goodfellow is an author of queer romance and speculative fiction living with her spouse and two dogs in the Pacific Northwest, where she is sad to report that she has not yet mysteriously disappeared or encountered any cryptids. Her hobbies include spoiling the aforementioned dogs, drinking inadvisable amounts of coffee, and running unreasonably long distances very slowly. She’s secretly just a collection of loosely-related stories dressed up in a meat suit.

Links: Personal Website | Instagram | Mastodon | Tumblr | Twitter

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Catherine E. Green

Catherine E. Green (pronouns: xe/xem/xyr or they/them/their) is an agender person, one who’s had an on-again, off-again love affair with writing. Xe began writing when xe was a wee thing, when xyr other major pastimes were playing xyr mother’s NES and roughhousing with the boys next door. It’s only in the past few years that they have begun writing consistently and publishing their writing, fanfiction and original writing alike, leading to their first published short story titled “Of Loops and Weaves.” 

Outside of writing, xe is a collector of books and sleep debt and an avid admirer of the cosmos. Playing video games, reading a variety of fiction genres (primarily fantasy, queer romance, and manga and graphic novels of all kinds), and working on wrangling their own personal data archiving projects occupy most of their free time. Xe has also started meeting up with a local fiber arts group and is excited to be crocheting xyr first scarf.

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J. D. Harlock

J.D. Harlock is a Syrian-Lebanese-Palestinian writer and editor based in Beirut. In addition to his posts at Wasifiri, as an editor-at-large, and at Solarpunk Magazine, as a poetry editor, his writing has been featured in Strange Horizons, Star*Line, and the SFWA Blog. You can always find him on Twitter and Instagram posting updates on his latest projects.

Links: Instagram | Twitter

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A. L. Heard

A. L. Heard is an aspiring writer from Pittsburgh. She’s been writing fanworks for over a decade and self-published her first novel, Hockey Bois, in 2021. Some of her short stories have been published through the indie press Duck Prints Press, where she also contributes as an editor. Ultimately, though, she spends her free time writing about characters she adores in worlds she’d like to explore: contemporary romance, historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. In between writing projects, she works as a language teacher, plays hockey, tours breweries with her boyfriend, and spends her evenings playing dinosaurs with her two sons.

Links: Instagram | Twitter

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D. A. Hernández

AKA Mitch, an author who works as a teacher, reads fanfiction compulsively, tells anyone who will listen about their weird dreams, takes long naps, and once in a while manages to write a story or two. You can find another of their stories in the Duck Prints Press anthology She Wears the Midnight Crown. 

Mitch’s playlist includes metal, pop, electronic, bluegrass, reggaeton and cumbia. 

Link: Twitter

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R. L. Houck

R. L. Houck (she/her) still has one of the first stories she ever wrote, all the way back from elementary school. It was about flightless penguins reaching the sun and was a good indication of her boundless imagination and her love of animals. The latter became a full-time veterinary career; the former keeps her occupied with fanfiction and original fiction in her downtime. 

She’s sometimes found wandering the woods around her house in Virginia with her dog. If not there, she’s sitting on the couch, catching up on a Netflix series, and smothered by her five cats. Sometimes, there’s even space for her wife.

Links: TikTok

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Lucy K. R.

Lucy K.R. (she/her) is technically in existence. Every time she is free, she writes. Sometimes when she is not free she also writes. This has occasionally created problems. She is fortunate to be supported (read: enabled) by her enthusiastic fiancée Tomo, a loving OG family, and a lively found family as well.

Eager for a change after a decade of waitressing, Lucy K.R. took the chance in March of 2021 to make her first steps into the world of published work. Prior to the success of the largely-fabricated German translation of the short-story found in this collection, ‘die Karaoke-Königinnen’, she was best known for her work on Mageling: Rise of the Ancient Ones and in the Duck Prints Press anthologies “And Seek (Not) to Alter Me” and “She Wears the Midnight Crown”.

In her stories, Lucy K. enjoys writing evil ideas as gently as possible, portrayed through unexpected lenses. She would like to acknowledge that she has never written a biographical statement that did not turn out weird, beg your indulgence, and express her hope that you enjoy her work in this anthology. The people at Duck Prints Press have been a delight, and she is deeply grateful to be included!

Links: Personal Website | Twitter

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Aeryn Jemariel Knox

Aeryn Jemariel Knox first identified as a writer in second grade. With both parents involved in theater and a house full of bookshelves, they grew up surrounded by stories, and as soon as they could hold a crayon, they felt the urge to tell their own. In 2001, they discovered the wide and wonderful world of fanfiction; since then, they have gone by Jemariel in fandom spaces across the internet, engaging with their favorite media and communities in the best way they know. Previous fandoms include Harry Potter, Star Trek (The Original Series), Torchwood, and BBC’s Sherlock, but their most prolific writing and strongest community ties are in the Supernatural fandom. Now, nearly a decade after their last original fiction attempt, Aeryn is eager to explore the wider writing word. 

A native of Portland, Oregon, Aeryn currently lives in the suburbs with their husband and 16-year-old cat. For a day job, they work as a tech writer and general paper-pusher for an energy drink factory. Their favorite stories, both to tell and to read, are stories about love, identity, and magic.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Tumblr

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Annabeth Lynch

Annabeth Lynch is a genderfae (she/they), bisexual author who writes mostly queer stories, preferring to write marginalized characters finding love. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter, and two very overweight cats.

Links: Facebook | Instagram

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Sebastian Marie

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 sword fighting. Track him down on Ao3 and he’ll share these opinions through fanfiction for various fandoms including BBC Merlin, The Mechanisms, and Our Flag Means Death. 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 studying dirt, or reading, he can be found singing loudly, sewing impractical coats, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and going on long rambling walks while plotting stories (and occasionally falling into rivers). 

This is his second time writing for Duck Prints Press, having previously contributed to She Wears the Midnight Crown. This brings his grand total of published works up to two! He’s looking forward to more, as soon as he gets some sleep. 

Links: Archive of Our Own | Tumblr

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Nova Mason

Nova Mason spent a significant portion of her childhood fantasizing about dragons, spaceships, and other worlds. She is now, allegedly, a grown-up, with two kids, and more varied interests. Dragons, spaceships, and other worlds are still pretty high in the list, though.

Transparent Duck Print: Yellow

Sage Mooreland

Sage Mooreland (they/them) is a city-dwelling gremlin from Chicago. They are embarking on the adventure that is their 40s equipped with three amazing partners, one very ridiculous eighteen-year-old biological offspring, and a fleet of teenagers and twentysomethings that adopted them through work over the last several years. Sage put themselves through the torture of grad school, and now holds a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in English and Creative Writing – Fiction, to which they say, “Now I have expensive pieces of paper that make it seem like I know what I’m talking about.” 

Sage has been writing since they were wee small, entering their first writing contest in fifth grade/at ten years old. In high school and college, they made small offerings to school literary magazines, and have done eighteen years of National Novel Writing Month. As their writing career grows, they hope to provide stories that are entertaining, caring, inclusive of all, and full of the stuff of which dreams are made. 

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D. V. Morse

D. V. Morse (she/her) is a writer of fantasy and science fiction, generally (though not always) with some romance in there somewhere. She’s been in various aspects of healthcare for a couple of decades, most recently nursing. A lifelong New Englander who has been writing for as long as she can remember, she loves to find the liminal spaces in the local landscape and find the stories lurking within. She also loves playing with fiber arts, cycling through knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, and blackwork. She has also contributed to “Stand Where You’re Afraid,” in I Am the Fire, a limited edition charity anthology by a collective of SF/F romance authors raising funds for the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Links: Carrd | Blog | Twitter | Facebook 

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MouMouSanRen

MouMouSanRen (she/her) was born and raised on unceded Matinecock territory in what is now known as Flushing, New York. She has been published in multiple non-fiction magazines including Polygon. Aim for the Heart is her fiction debut. She resides in her native Queens, practicing martial arts and taking care of her dogs.

Link: Twitter

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J. D. Rivers

J. D. writes speculative fiction where they fall deeply and madly in love and find a dead body, not necessarily in that order.

She collects hobbies as others collect books and has an unhealthy addiction to watching competitive cooking shows.

J. D. lives close to the woods with her husband and the cutest dog in the world.

Links: Personal Website | Twitter

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Veronica Sloane

Veronica Sloane has authored a novel, several short stories, some poetry, and twenty-two years worth of fanfic. She lives with one lovely spouse, one rambunctious clever child, and one sleepy cat.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Tumblr

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Shea Sullivan

Shea Sullivan is a life-long writer living in upstate New York. As a late-blooming queer person, she enjoys writing about complex characters coming into themselves and finding comfort in being exactly who they are.

Shea’s day jobs in computer programming and middle management have molded her into the patient, sarcastic, big-hearted, frustrated human she is today, but it’s what she does outside the 9-5 that really excites her. When she’s not writing, she can be found painting, napping, making quilts, watching documentaries, and trying not to adopt more animals, usually with a cup of tea in hand.

Transparent Duck Print: Blue

Xianyu Zhou

Xianyu Zhou is a translator and aspiring garment and plushie cloning specialist hailing from a coastal city in the tropics. Despite staying a 20-minute drive away from the nearest beach, they have yet to visited one, preferring to dwell in their darkened room luminated by a table lamp and ever-shifting RGB of a CPU fan. They have the tendency to accidentally wander into new and exciting forays such as joining Duck Prints Press (and enjoying it!), learning to sew (stitching and unstitching the same part of a “coaster” for the nth time) and working on their language skills (watching shows to scruntinize take notes about how their subtitles are written). 

Xianyu’s contribution to the anthology is their first publication, and they have reportedly made a party hat for their computer to celebrate the occasion. 

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First-Ever Giveaway for One of Our Titles!

Are y’all familiar with Storygraph? It’s the independent alternative to Goodreads, a lovely website that does a lot of what Goodreads does, but without the whole “being owned by Amazon” crap. It’s been running for a while now, and we’ve been on it since the minute we found out about it (and got a paid account as soon as they offered them – $40/year to support such an amazing project? Heck yeah! Not that anyone has to give them $$ to be clear, the site is free to use). They’ve been steadily expanding, adding functionality, unrolling more publisher- and author-oriented features, and generally being awesome. And, with all that in mind, we were thrilled to hear that they were introducing a Giveaways function (which, on Goodreads, is often a great way to get the word out about a book), and we jumped on the chance to offer our debut anthology Add Magic to Taste as part of the very first run of Storygraph giveaways!

But enough about them – what about the book we’re giving away?

For Add Magic to Taste, 20 authors have come together to produce all-new, original short stories uniting four of our absolute favorite themes: queer relationships, fluff, magic, and coffee shops! Our diverse writers have created an even more diverse collection of stories guaranteed to sweeten your coffee and warm your tart.

So, check out Storygraph if you haven’t already, and check out our giveaway and the other awesome titles on offering (such as our own A. L. Heard’s Choose Your Own Adventure story), and enter to win your own copy of Add Magic to Taste!

The giveaway is running until October 18th, 2022, so if you want to throw in your hat for one of the 10 digital copies on offering, this is your moment!

Check it out now!

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What Do We Look For in a Story Pitch?

We received a question on our Discord, seeking guidance on writing a pitch for our newest anthologies, She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Midnight. Answering it led us to look through the pitches we received when we put out our first call for applicants earlier this year. At that time, we didn’t include story pitches in the ratings, and we were also more open to authors changing their pitches, since we weren’t rating them. However, we still read them because we were really curious and excited to see what people had in mind, and I (hi, it’s your friendly neighborhood @unforth, owner and usually-the-blogger) highlighted my favorites and shared many of them with our backers on Patreon to whet their appetites.In response to the question on Discord, I shared a few of my favorites, and multiple people expressed that it was helpful to them, so I thought – why not turn it into a blog post, and let everyone see?

A few notes on this:

1. We do not claim this list will be generalizable to other Presses or calls for story pitches. You may find these strategies effective elsewhere, but you may not!

2. The pitches for Add Magic to Taste were restricted to only 200 words; our new call allows up to 400, so if you’re writing a pitch for us you’ll be able to get a bit more in than the examples were provide.

3. If you’re coming to this in the future when we’ve pitched a new anthology that you’d like to apply to, it will still be applicable – just swap in the specifics that make sense to our new project, because the essentials won’t have changed even when the specifics do.

4. If you’ve read our Submission Review Rubric you’ll already know that the only rubric item we have specifically for the Story Pitch is inherently subjective. While yes, we will consider the content, grammar, and technical aspects of your story pitch, that won’t have a huge impact on the ratings for our less subjective categories, and the main place we’ll rate it will be on a 0 to 4 scale from “I’m just not feeling it” through “I NEED 10K OF THIS YESTERDAY.” As such, because it’s subjective, what each reviewer will look for will vary. However, I wouldn’t be writing this post unless I thought the advice in it didn’t have some general applicability – our personal preferences will alter how precisely we rate pitches but in a general sense, a pitch that considers the criteria to follow has a good chance of appealing to all of us, even if it doesn’t end up a personal favorite.

With all that in mind…what should you consider when you write us a pitch? 

Basically: we’re going to want to know who the most important characters are, where those characters are, and what those characters are going to do/how they’re going to interact with each other and/or the world around them

Less basically…how do you do that?

1. Have characters. Don’t pull a “I want to tell a story kinda like a romance, but it takes place in a spaceship, and the ball is for…” without telling us about the people. Be the worldbuilding ever so cool (and don’t get us wrong, we LOVE cool worldbuilding!) we’re looking for people to tell stories about queer romance. So, we need to know who the characters are, not just where they are. All the most successful story pitches we’ve read are character driven. For example, here are some lovely character introductions from our Add Magic to Taste calls:

Ex. 1: Layla was born a witch—specifically, a witch who can make anything she touches taste sweet and delicious, which is a pretty lame magic to be born with. 

Ex. 2: Xee is Asexual, graduated from school a decade back, and works the Tea Shop his parents have owned since they moved there from the Fae realm four or five decades back. 

Ex: 3: Teravilis, a dragon shifter escaped from the government lab where she’s lived her whole life, is already feeling overwhelmed before a towering, beautiful woman sits down on the next couch. 

2. Have a setting. However lovingly your OCs are assembled, if we learn nothing about the type of masquerade you’re portraying or the surroundings, then we won’t be interested. Look again at those three examples of characters: all three not only tell us about the character – they also integrate information about the world that character inhabits. A pitch like “Character A is an engineer who is tall and blonde and very good at what they do; Character B is a sec op who has perfect aim and a give-um-hell attitude” is interesting but…what does Character A actually engineers? Why Character B would need to be a sec op wherever they are? It doesn’t have to be in the exact same sentence, but it needs to be in the pitch somewhere

2a: The setting and the characters must inter-relate. We want these characters to inhabit living, breathing worlds, and we do mean inhabit. If they just seem plastered over the setting – like if we took the characters out and plonked them down somewhere else they’d be completely the same – then that’s a problem. 

Some examples of settings that enhanced people’s pitches for Add Magic to Taste:

Ex. 1: Airmid, an undercover health inspector with a love for busting the dirtiest cooks in the business, stops by her gleaming city’s newest restaurant: The Drakery Bakery. She can’t believe what she sees. The miniature dragons who work as everything from oven flames to waiters can’t be up to code, and no matter how delicious the pastries are she’s certain that a dragon shouldn’t be breathing on crème brûlées to crisp their tops. 

Ex. 2: 35+ hedge witch who runs a bookstore (or similar) keeps magically bambozzling postal workers to deliver to the wrong address so she can talk to the cute owner of the bakery three doors down.

Ex. 3: Kyle hates that he has to put on his human skin every day and work at the coffee shop, but ocean jobs are reserved for those that can’t work on land. 

(and again, note how all three of these could have been easily swapped in as examples for item 1. The setting exists to serve the narrative about the characters, not the other way around, so a strong pitch is likely to integrate the worldbuilding aspects by describing where and how the character(s) fit into the world.)

3. Be specific. It’s okay if you don’t know the character names or haven’t decided on the name of the spaceship where your ball takes place – that level of specificity isn’t necessary – but a pitch that says, “Character A is a spaceship pilot who has snuck into the ball after making a mask out of discarded reactor core parts” is much more appealing than a pitch that says, “Character A works on the spaceship and sneaks into the ball.” We want to see that you’ve thought about who these characters are, and where they are, and what they’re going to do. 

Ex. 1: Then one morning, right in the middle of the dullest lull there ever was, the girl that works at the yarn shop across the street – the girl Merrily has been quietly pining over from afar since the first time she saw her three months ago – makes a dramatic entrance, slaps her hands down on the counter and says, very sternly, “It’s you, isn’t it?”

Ex. 2: Then he meets Nigh, a customer who hates the ocean but smells of kelp and salt and rides a skateboard like he’s underwater. He’s everything Kyle might want if he had time to do something foolish like fall in love.

Ex. 3: This story begins when Shiloh heads to La Vie Café to meet with the Reincarnation Support Group (for women who believe they have been reincarnated) in Philadelphia. She claims that she is the reincarnated version of a man who died 25 years ago. 

4. Introduce the plot…but don’t feel you have to tell us everything. If you really want to summarize your entire story in 400 words, go for it, but it’s not necessary. It’s absolutely okay to leave us wanting more – you can treat this like a back-of-the-book blurb rather than like your cover letter summary. “The problems they face seem insurmountable…what will they do?” is a perfectly okay way to end your pitch, especially if you’ve adhered to our first three points and made it clear through your characters, setting description, and specificity that you do have a plan. Most of the pitches we’ve liked in the past treated the pitch as a teaser rather than as a synopsis or a book report. (Read the full pitches below for an idea what we mean).

5. How you write your pitch is almost as important as the actual story you propose. We want a compelling story, yes, but we also want to see – how do you approach character building? How do you work within a word limit? How do you approach building tension? Your story pitch is about the story you want to tell, but it’s also literally about how you pitch it. The classic AO3 “sorry I suck at summaries” isn’t going to cut it here: you have to take the dive and act like you know your story pitch is the coolest concept ever, and you are out to convince us it’s the coolest also. You love your characters? Tell us enough that we also love your characters and get invested in their fates. You built a lush world for them? Paint that world concisely and accurately with your words. You know that a reader who reads the first 1,000 words of your 6,000 word story will be so intrigued they won’t be able to put it down? Show us that by making the 400-word introduction to the concept so fascinating that we don’t want to put it down either. (Again, instead of excerpts, see the full pitches below.)

6. Don’t neglect your spelling and grammar. Good technical aspects won’t necessarily save a pitch that is flat in other regards, and poor technical aspects won’t necessarily sink a pitch that’s otherwise intriguing, but your attention to detail speaks to your genuine interest in working with us, and if the editing is poor, even if we loved your story submission and your pitch, we’ll worry ‘how much editing will this person really need to bring their story up to professional editing standards?” It’s definitely worth sweating the small stuff and getting your SPAG clean for your pitch as well as for your writing sample submission!

To boil these six points down to a tl:dr – we are looking for story pitches that are character-driven, keep in mind our main theme components (happy ending queer romance at masquerades or in masquerade-esque societies/settings), show that thought has been put into the details, and leave us wanting more!

Here are all the full pitches that we used for the above examples, and some we didn’t pull examples from. All are used with author permission and credited according to author request. If the story ended up in Add Magic to Taste, we make a note of that, but remember that we did not rate these pitches as part of our applicant review for that anthology. Not all of these authors were accepted to our first project, even though we love their pitches, but all of these authors are currently involved in the Press. (Many are in our upcoming anthology And Seek (Not) to Alter Me.)

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Pitch by anonymous:

Sugar and Spice: Layla was born a witch—specifically, a witch who can make anything she touches taste sweet and delicious, which is a pretty lame magic to be born with. Her quest to trade it in for something cooler, or at least to learn some flashier spells, brings her to Sweetheart’s Cakery, a sweet and sugary establishment run by the most powerful necromancer alive. Stephanie Drybones, professionally known as ‘Sweetheart,’ has spent centuries honing her baking skills the hard way and isn’t impressed by Layla’s woes… but she is intrigued by Layla’s determination and acerbic wit. 

The two women make a deal: if Layla can produce a better sweet than Stephanie within a week, Stephanie will teach her some awesome spells to revive the dead in a sanitary manner, leech the warmth from her surroundings, and generally annoy the neighbors. If Layla can’t, however, she must come work at the bakery until she understands the importance of cake as a concept—which, considering how pretty and disarmingly nice Stephanie is, shouldn’t be a chore. Let the bake-off commence.

*

Pitch by Lucy K. R. (@/lucywritesbooks on twitter):

Airmid, an undercover health inspector with a love for busting the dirtiest cooks in the business, stops by her gleaming city’s newest restaurant: The Drakery Bakery. She can’t believe what she sees. The miniature dragons who work as everything from oven flames to waiters can’t be up to code, and no matter how delicious the pastries are she’s certain that a dragon shouldn’t be breathing on crème brûlées to crisp their tops. 

But Calida, the dragon mage who owns the place, gives her pause. She doesn’t know what brings her over to Airmid’s table, but she has to confess that she finds her charming. And pretty. And confident, and talented, and… One more visit couldn’t hurt before she calls in the health department, right? 

Airmid finds reason after reason to give one more inspection rather than shutting down The Drakey Bakery, always hoping for one more chance to chat with its enigmatic owner. And as she does so, she finds a new appreciation for dragons, the deliciousness of imperfection, and most importantly for Calida— a woman as irresistible as she is lawless.

*

Pitch by Willa Blythe (@/willaablythe on twitter):

Merrily Berkshire finds her quaint, old fashioned town boring and dull, and her shifts at the local coffee shop are the most boring of all. She knows she probably shouldn’t do it, but to keep her busy she has begun practicing her spellwork on unsuspecting patrons: a bit of a brightening charm here, a wakefulness spell there, an enchantment to be more open, an enchantment to be more closed, an intention to draw in funds, a quick-but-unfortunate curse to cause unrelenting hiccups that she feels immediately guilty for… It passes the time, and she’s getting better at it every day. 

Then one morning, right in the middle of the dullest lull there ever was, the girl that works at the yarn shop across the street – the girl Merrily has been quietly pining over from afar since the first time she saw her three months ago – makes a dramatic entrance, slaps her hands down on the counter and says, very sternly, “It’s you, isn’t it?” 

Can Merrily right her wrongs and woo the yarn girl? Get your most beloved mug ready: it’s time for a tale of magic, mistakes, and making your own meaning when nothing feels like it means anything.

(A version of this story pitch is in Add Magic to Taste)

*

Pitch by @/theleakypen:

A Chinese fox spirit, a Russian river spirit, and a love story measured in coffee dates. 

Lara Yan spent one hundred years cultivating to human form and she’s not going to waste this opportunity just to tear out men’s hearts to steal more qi. She frequents the Chashka Kofe on Morskoy Prospekt, working on her papers for her Master’s in Philology — language, she thinks, is the best thing about having a human mouth. 

Alisa Rusakova just wants a cup of coffee before another long day diving for a sunken barge in the River Ob. She spends her days in the water, hiding her rusalka nature in plain sight. Gone are the days when she and her sisters drowned or tickled men to death and haunted mortal women for their combs. 

When they run into each other — literally — on the way to the coffee counter, they have no idea that they’ve finally met someone who understands what it is to straddle the world of the human and the monstrous, someone they don’t have to hide from.

(A version of this story pitch is in Add Magic to Taste)

*

Pitch by @/arialerendeair:

In a world where the Fae, the Magical, and the slightly-more than normal live side-by-side with humans as a part of their daily lives, I would love to tell the story of Xilmys (he goes by ‘Xee’) and Areon. Xee is Asexual, graduated from school a decade back, and works the Tea Shop his parents have owned since they moved there from the Fae realm four or five decades back. Areon, he, well, they, but that’s rather new, has lived in the city since they were a kid, and they have been getting tea (both literal and metaphorical) from the Tea Shop for years, always from Xee. 

The only thing larger than their tea addiction is their crush on Xee. Now, if only Areon’s hair didn’t turn bright pink every time they talked to Xee, giving away how embarrassed they were, that would be great! 

One day, though, Aeron walks into the Tea Shop, determined. Their hair is purple, and they manage to do what had been impossible. Ask Xee on a date. Or coffee. But not tea. Definitely not tea. 

Xee agrees, of course, and says that while he loves all of Areon’s colors – purple is his new favorite.

*

Pitch by Shea Sullivan:

Kyle hates that he has to put on his human skin every day and work at the coffee shop, but ocean jobs are reserved for those that can’t work on land. The bipeds assume he’s one of them. His friends at home don’t have the recessive gene that would give them skins. 

He really is a fish—octopus—out of water. 

Then he meets Nigh, a customer who hates the ocean but smells of kelp and salt and rides a skateboard like he’s underwater. He’s everything Kyle might want if he had time to do something foolish like fall in love.

(A version of this story pitch is in Add Magic to Taste)

*

Pitch by A. A. Weston:

35+ hedge witch who runs a bookstore (or similar) keeps magically bambozzling postal workers to deliver to the wrong address so she can talk to the cute owner of the bakery three doors down. Tooth rottingly sweet (pun intended) disaster gay/bi shenanigans.

(note on this one and the next that detailed, appealing, and plotty doesn’t have to mean long – it’s possible to get the entire idea across very succinctly and still have it be appealing!)

*

Pitch by G. Hendrickson:

A wlw bakery run by a witch and her familiar. A new customer has become a regular and the witch is besotted. Her familiar tries to get them together, even though she also loves her witch. Love triangle shenanigans are ended when the witch reveals she didn’t want to pursue her familiar because of the power imbalance. The new regular reveals they don’t want to choose between the two because they thought the familiar was just the messenger for both. The solution is a happy, bubbling bakery run by that cute poly-triad.

*

Pitch by Adrian Harley:

Maria Birch, former child star, ducks into Genre Blends Tea Shop on a summer afternoon to escape the prying eyes of paparazzi and be left alone for a few precious moments. She strategically picks one of the couches closest to the back exit and hopes her new seatmate won’t recognize her behind her sunglasses and floppy hat. But when her new seatmate burns her mouth on her tea and tears up staring at a crossword, Maria breaks her own isolation to see if she can help. 

Teravilis, a dragon shifter escaped from the government lab where she’s lived her whole life, is already feeling overwhelmed before a towering, beautiful woman sits down on the next couch. The wider world has too many people, too many pastry options, and too many crossword clues that make no sense. When Maria reaches out, though, Teravilis learns that some things outside a lab-controlled environment can still be simple. 

Will disgruntled paparazzi and furtive government agents interrupt this blissful afternoon? Not if a mild-mannered, glasses-wearing barista has anything to say about it.

*

Pitch by T. S. Knight:

This story begins when Shiloh heads to La Vie Café to meet with the Reincarnation Support Group (for women who believe they have been reincarnated) in Philadelphia. She claims that she is the reincarnated version of a man who died 25 years ago. Convinced that she is (or was) this person, Shiloh has discovered that her widowed wife is still alive and working nearby. Shiloh hopes that the support group will help her decide if and how she might talk to beautiful Aline. While the group of fabulous and predominately queer women are glad to chat, Shiloh quickly realizes that none of them actually believe in reincarnation and instead see the group as an opportunity to spend time together. Though these are kind and lovely women, socializing isn’t going to solve her frighteningly real reincarnation problem, but at least there are pastries and coffee and new friends.

(A version of this story pitch is in Add Magic to Taste; note that T. S. Knight requested and was granted permission to slightly edit this pitch from the original submitted one, as there were things in it that didn’t end up in the published version that they hope to use in a future story)

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NOW AVAILABLE: THE E-BOOK OF ADD MAGIC TO TASTE and Extra Kickstarter Merchandise!

The cover of "Add Magic to Taste." It shows a bespectacled dragon standing behind a counter, lifting one clawed hand to add something into a sparkling beaker labeled "everything nice." Their tail holds open a book, the spine of which reads "Magical Morsels." They are surrounded by a plate of macaroons, a tiered stand with cupcakes and brownies, jars with candy, pictures of steaming coffee mugs, a bookshelf with a few books, and a cash register and tip jar. Above them is a banner with different queer flags, such as the lesbian flag, non-binary flag, trans flag, gay flag, bisexual flag, and others. A wooden banner reads "Add Magic to Taste," and at the bottom is a subtitle that reads "A Spellbinding (and Scrumptious!) Collection of Heartwarming Queer Stories."

Did you miss your chance to back our first Kickstarter? Did you back it, but have a friend who wants a copy? Have you just been itching to get some of the merch you didn’t get as a backer? Have you only just heard of us thanks to our recent call for applicants, and want to learn more about our first Anthology?

Now you can do all these things!

Duck Prints Press’s first anthology, Add Magic to Taste, is now available for sale on our website!

For Add Magic to Taste, 20 authors have come together to produce new, original short stories uniting four of our absolute favorite themes: queer relationships, fluff, magic, and coffee shops! Our diverse writers have created an even more diverse collection of stories guaranteed to sweeten your coffee and warm your tart.

Select extra/leftover merchandise from the Kickstarter is also available, including:

So check it out, and get some of the book that’s averaging over 4 stars on Goodreads and Storygraph, and the merch that our Kickstarter backers described as “absolutely beautiful,” “gorgeous,” “incredible,” and “absolute BEST IN CLASS.”

VISIT OUR SHOP NOW AND GET YOURS!

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Kickstarter Stretch Goal Update!

We recently crossed $18,000, which means we’ve hit two more of our stretch goals!

The first, at $17,500, means we can give our authors another raise – they’ll now each be paid 5 cents per word US, up to a maximum of $250 per story.

The second, at $18,000, gets more merchandise for everyone who bought physical merchandise! We’ll be producing a mini-book, sized A6 (4.1 in x 5.8 in/10.5 cm x 14.8 cm). It’s soft cover, roughly 20 pages, with a cover featuring one of Alessa Riel’s lovely edited photographs of model Zadya Cheysuli. We asked for volunteers from our 20 authors to create works, up to 250 words, for this book – drabbles, poems, and ficlets, either related to the stories they wrote for the anthology, or brand new (but still aligned with the Add Magic to Taste themes)!

So far, 12 authors have volunteered to contribute (four are already done!) and we’ve got a couple “maybe’s” as well. This is going to be a fun little addition to the anthology, and everyone at backer levels 2, 3, 4, and 5 will get it, at no additional cost!

(I’m still trying to convince Puck and Shea to let me print the “lik the bred” poems they shared on the Duck Prints Press Discord.)

Also – we haven’t completed the “cover” edit of the graphic, but here’s a sneak peek of the image we’ll be using (it’s also in our postcard set expansion, at the $23,000 stretch goal).

A photograph of a white person with straight red hair, looking toward the viewer, her lips pursed. She's wearing a black collar with dangling chains and a sheer top that switches to solid black with studs at the underarm. She is holding up a tray bearing 5 white-frosted cupcakes decorated with sprinkles and raspberries, and is waving a golden wand with a red stone toward them. The wand is sparkling with magic, and there is a rainbow halo behind the woman's head.

Our next stretch goal, at $20,000, will enable us to give our authors a raise to 6 cents US per word, and if we can reach $20,500, all backers at Level 2, 3, 4, and 5, will get ANOTHER reward – a Dux magnet (we haven’t decided which Dux yet…speak up if you have a preference!) – so help us spread the word about the Kickstarter, and if we can hit that amount before the campaign ends next Saturday at 11 AM eastern time, our backers can get even more Stuff!

(and don’t forget – our ultimate goal is to hit $25,000;  which will enable us to pay our authors the short story market (SFMA qualifying!) rate of 8 cents per word US. You’ve seen our teasers. You know how awesome these stories are. We want to be able to pay everyone every penny they deserve – and we think it’s possible, with a solid push this last week. So, if you, our wonderful backers thus far, know folks you think might like this anthology – please send it their way!)