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Add Magic to Taste Author Spotlight: Florence Vale

Florence is a Norwegian picture book author and fanfic enthusiast. Her current obsessions include Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Magnus Archives, and just about any actual play podcast she can get her hands on. In addition to Add Magic to Taste and her Archive of Our Own account, you can find her writing in the original zines Mansion of Fears and Carpe Noctem.

Link: Archive of Our Own

Story Title: Bånd

tags: asexual character, biromantic character, creature character, curses (accidental) magical mishap, mlm, norway, reaper, witch character

Teaser:

Thomas wasn’t sure how he recognised him, but he did—the moment the guy came in, there was this shift in the air, a shiver that made him think: oh. It’s you.

The guy was wearing a cherry red all-weather jacket today, its edges lined with silver high-visibility stripes. Everything above his neck was soaked and his hair was dark with water; it ran down his forehead and temples in lazy little rivulets.

“How can I help you?” Thomas asked.

The stranger marched up to the counter, leaving mud in his wake.

“You cursed me,” he said. His eyelashes were clumped together with rainwater, spiky and long like the legs of a spider, and his eyes were dark and very, very wide.

Scared, Thomas’s mind supplied.

“Sorry?” he managed. He hadn’t—

But he remembered tapping his fingers against the grain of the wood. With a sinking feeling, he remembered thinking, idly, that he hoped the guy would be easier to pin down next time.

He hadn’t meant to curse him.

But he had.


Uh oh, a curse isn’t a great way to start a relationship! Where will Thomas and this stranger go from here? Find out by…

Backing our Kickstarter and getting your own copy of Add Magic to Taste!

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Add Magic to Taste Author Spotlight: Alex Ransom

Alex Ransom is a longtime fan writer and translator recently expanding into original fiction. Her favorite trope, as both reader and writer, is “Earn Your Happy Ending,” in which characters fight through perhaps inordinate amounts of difficulty to come out happier and more content on the other side. She is especially interested in the intersection between social circumstances, personal history, and the formation and maintenance of identity. Her favorite genres are space opera, fantasy, queer romance, and poetry.

As a child, Alex thought everything was better if it was more complicated and that the best answer to a yes or no question was usually  “both.” Consequently, today she is bi/pansexual, trans/nonbinary, has worked a variety of jobs, and has three degrees in completely unrelated fields. When she isn’t writing or doomscrolling on the internet, she likes to travel, hike, and build marginally functional furniture. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, with her spouse and adult daughter.

Story Title: Flowers Bloom Even Then

tags: aromantic character, bipoc character, bisexual character, deadnaming, gender dysphoria, gender non-conforming character (femme), internalized misogyny, mentions of biphobia, mentions of transphobia, mlen, nonbinary character (transmasculine)

Teaser:

The princessy garden party look had cleaned up well, too. The butterfly illusions had been replaced by ones featuring fireflies, the lights lowered to almost nothing, and the tables supplied with tapered candles in ornate holders too delicate and perfect to be anything but magically enhanced. There was still that same air of near unreality, but where before the fantasy had been a comforting childhood idyll, now it was recognizable even to Max, who had never had a single romantic feeling in his entire life, as the stuff of falling in love and living happily ever after.

For a moment, it made him almost angry. This was exactly why he didn’t date. Where was the future for a guy like Max in a world like this? Was he supposed to pretend forever?


What good things lurk in Max’s future (we promise, they’re good things)? Back the Add Magic to Taste Kickstarter, read the book, and find out!

Learn more now!

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Add Magic to Taste Author Spotlight: Jessica Black

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.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Tumblr | Twitter

Story Title: A Family Thing

tags: character is cursed, curses, fate, mlm, pov third person limited, soulmates, united states of america

Teaser:

“Caramel or chocolate,” he repeats.

“…caramel?”

“Got it. Name?”

The guy stares at him like Connor’s speaking a different language. But then he shakes it off, takes a half-step back, and gives Connor a considering once-over. Connor’s ears grow hot, but he feels like he won their contest. And then feels like he’s won another when the man finally meets his eyes and says, “Ish.”

“Ish?” The name rings in Connor’s ears strangely. Like it was supposed to take up more room than it does, and like Connor’s the one who inadvertently decided not to pay enough attention to it.

Or, no. Not inadvertently. Connor usually decides not to pay attention to outlying emotions and reactions, but this feels like something he’s supposed to notice.

“It’s a nickname.” Ish’s tone goes a touch defensive and a touch bored, like he’s had to explain this a lot.

“It’s not even a whole word,” Connor mutters, feeling strangely defensive as well.

“I’m not sure, but I don’t think customer service is supposed to include so many insults.”

“Those are on the house.”


These two are off to a snarky start! But the only way to find out where they go from here is to…

Back our Kickstarter!

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Add Magic to Taste Author Spotlight: Jo Mathieson

Jo Mathieson is a prolific writer of queer romance stories. Jo lives with her spouse (also a writer) on a small farm in in Eastern Ontario, Canada, where they grow vegetables and raise heritage-breed chickens.

Story Title: In Like Flynn

tags: dragon, first kiss, genderfluid character, getting together, magic user, mlen, meet cute, mutual pining, nonbinary character, past tense, pov third person limited

Teaser:

Crispin opened the book and held his breath, waiting to see if…

Sure enough, a small cloud of pinkish-gold smoke billowed out and coalesced into the unmistakable shape of a dragon.

Crispin sighed.

“What the heck is that?” Nyle said, starting backwards.

“Name’s Flynn, and who might you be?” asked the dragon, peering at Nyle as it stepped out of the book and onto the table.

“Flynn seems to… live in the book, and absolutely refuses to explain anything about how or why.”

“I think she just likes to annoy people,” said Lucy as she came over with Crispin’s coffee. “And cause mischief, and eat sweets.”

“Not ‘she’ nowadays. ‘It’ will do fine,” the dragon said imperiously, drawing itself up to its full eight-inch height and putting its hands on its hips, which, considering how short its arms were, looked quite comical. Crispin had learned better than to laugh. “Dragons only have gender when they choose to, and currently I do not.”

“Yeah! Non-binary solidarity,” said Nyle with a grin, and held out their hand for a high-five. “I’m Nyle. It’s nice to meet you.” Flynn blew an amused puff of smoke in lieu of smacking hands; it curled around Nyle’s fingers before dissipating slowly.


What’s going on with these Crispin, Flynn, and Nyle, and what lies in their future?

Back our Kickstarter, and find out!

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Add Magic to Taste Author Spotlight: Em Rowntree

Em Rowntree’s first foray into the world of writing was with a story called The Magic Land that featured a unicorn and a flying carpet the size of a country, and they’ve been chasing that high ever since. They’ve been sharing their writing online for almost seven years, and have had poems and short stories published in anthologies. They live in the UK.

Link: Twitter

Story Title: Tomb Many Cooks

tags: first kiss, greek mythology, god character, humor, mlen, mutual pining, mythology retelling, non-binary character

Teaser:

On the eighth day working with Seph, Hades cooked with someone else in the kitchen for the first time.

“More chocolate chips,” Seph said.

“I’ve put all of them—”

“I know you’ve got another bag. I saw it last week in the cupboard in the corner.”

“I don’t know how extra chocolate chips are going to stop people from realising their inextricable bond to mortality…”

“Are you kidding? I forgot my own name the other day when I ate that doughnut where you put orange zest in the filling.” Seph, sitting on a counter in the kitchen, pointed a finger gun at Hades and twisted their accent into something out of a Western. “Add the chips, kid.”

Hades used one hand to lower their weapon, and went to fetch the chocolate chips.


Seph seems to have some interesting ideas for Hades’s bakery. Will they bake up something more delicious (and less nihilistic) together? Get the full story – and 19 other wonderful queer tales – by backing our Kickstarter.

Learn more now!

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Add Magic to Taste Author Spotlight: Theresa Alef

A pediatric occupational therapist in the Southwest USA, writing has been Theresa’s first love since she was old enough to string words together. She has a deep love for all fandoms, but Marvel will always hold the top spot in her heart. When not at work or writing, she likes to go hiking in the desert, play Dungeons and Dragons, and read books.

Story Title: Anywhere, Everywhere, Forever

tags: character has self-esteem issues, emotional hurt/comfort (minor), everything that can go wrong…, fae and fairy folk, flirting, fostering, half-orc, homosexual character, interspecies romance, marriage proposal, miscommunication, mlm, past abusive relationship, present tense, pov third person limited, speciesism, vampire

Teaser:

Keegan is five minutes away from the coffee shop when realization hits him like a freight train.

“No,” he says to the empty car, reaching one hand over to the passenger seat for his jacket. “Wait—no. Hang on.” He pats through the pockets, picks it up and shakes it, then tosses it down. The stop light is still red, so he shoves his foot harder on the brake and leans over more, straining to look under the seat. He finds quite a few things—pens, old candy bar wrappers, a bill he forgot about from last month, even a key he thought he’d lost, although now he can’t remember what it goes to.

But no ring box. No ring.


Uh oh, is this the start of proposal disaster? Back the Kickstarter, get the book, read the 20 stories, and…

Find out!

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Add Magic to Taste Author Spotlight: Maggie Page

Maggie Page lives in Texas with family, including her incorrigibly clumsy mom with a green thumb, two silly dogs who are also mother and daughter, and a fierce feline hunter. Maggie has previously published several poems and a piece of flash fiction with collegiate and independent journals.

When not indulging the urge to write, Maggie enjoys music, traveling, camping, dabbling in various art forms, principally watercolor and graphic making, and torturing her loved ones with her ruthless board game victories.

Story Title: Herald of Love

tags: bilingual character, bipoc character, bisexual character, curses, dragon, flirting, found family, genderqueer character, getting together, magic user, pining, polyamory, polyamorous relationship negotiation, pov third person limited, tarot, texas, united states of america

Teaser:

Chest tight, she paused at the head of the stairs and watched, guiltily, a moment of intimacy between Eloddie and Javi.

Eloddie yawned and stretched. As she went to her tiptoes, her hem rode up.

“You’re beautiful.” Javi circled their arms around Eloddie and dropped a brief kiss on her lips. Their gaze drifted over Eloddie’s shoulder, and a slow, sly smile bloomed on their face. “I want to take you and Trina dancing. She’d be shy, but once she starts to enjoy herself… I’d stop just to watch you two move together.”

Javi winked.

Heat flooded Trina’s cheeks. Her thoughts raced; her tongue lay heavy and useless in her mouth. She could imagine the low music, Eloddie’s gentle touch, Javi’s appreciative gaze, the feeling of connection.

“Javi,” Eloddie admonished softly. “We shouldn’t push her.”

Trina couldn’t be sure she’d been meant to hear. The two of them had dropped flirtatious hints before, but fear and doubt had kept her from finding out if they were serious.

The first aid kit dropped from her numb fingers, clattering on the floor.


Was Trina supposed to hear? And will she take Javi and Eloddie up on their suggestions?

Get the story, and 19 others, and find out!

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Add Magic to Taste Author Spotlight: A.L. Heard

Ashley, pen name A.L. Heard, fandom name jhoom, is a 34 year old teacher, writer, and mother of two little boys. She’s been writing fanworks since she discovered fanfiction.net back in her middle school days; the platform has changed and the writing’s improved, but Ashley ultimately still spends her free time writing about characters she adores in worlds she’d like to explore. Her first novel, Hockey Bois, was published in 2021. In between writing projects, she works as a language teacher in the Pittsburgh area, plays hockey, and plays trains with her sons.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Discord: jhoom#6351 | Tumblr | Twitter

Story Title: The Tasty Crumpet

tags: age difference, bipoc character, creature character, fae and fairyfolk, mlm, oblivious character, vampire

Teaser

Near the end of the street was a shop with an old-fashioned wooden sign straight out of a Renaissance Festival. It read “The Tasty Crumpet” in an elegant navy script that glittered with gold flecks, a baker’s cap and wooden spoon bracketing the words. The light cast through the windows was soft and inviting—a sharp contrast to the dreary weather—promising warmth and tasty treats.

All of that was tempting enough, but the HELP WANTED sign taped to the front window sealed the deal. The sign was old and battered, like it’d seen its fair share of use, but the words AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY INQUIRE WITHIN at the bottom caught his eye. How could he say no to that?

The door chimed as he stepped inside, a bell that tinkled more than rang, and the sound made him smile despite the water dripping off his nose. He shook out his hair and stepped toward the counter.


Will this poor sopping wet fellow find a job? Only one way to find out! This, and 19 other fantastic fluffy queer stories, can be yours by backing the Add Magic to Taste Kickstarter!

Check it out now!

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On Tags and Tagging: Behind the Scenes in the new (very queer!) anthology “Add Magic to Taste”

We’ve shared a lot of teasers, and a lot of information, and now we thought – time for a bit of an overview!

All our contributors write both fanfiction and original stories, and as members of fanfic communities and regular users of websites like Archive of Our Own, we all have strong feelings about the importance of accurately tagging stories. As such, from inception, tagging has been an important feature of the collection, and all the stories include content tags and warnings, to help readers find content they want to read – and avoid that which they’re uncomfortable with.

We recently finished standardizing and updating the tags across all the stories, and thought it might be fun to share some of final counts with you! They give an idea of the range of stories in the collection, what they have in common…and what they don’t!

Note that no stories are tagged “modern with magic,” “fluff,” or “coffee shop,” since that’s everyone! 😀

Point of View:

  • 18 of our stories are third person narrow/limited
  • 1 has an alternating third person narrow
  • 1 has third person semi-omniscient
  • And 6 of narrators that are unreliable

Tense:

15 of our stories are written in past tense, 5 in present tense.

Relationship Types:

  • wlw: 6
  • mlm: 6
  • mlen: 3
  • interspecies romance: 8
  • polyamory: 2

(this doesn’t add up to 20, since some of the stories have relationship types that don’t neatly fit into a type, or the relationship is primarily platonic, etc.)

Settings:

Not every story has a specified/identified setting – some are left to the imagination! – but we have stories set in the United States, western Europe, Norway, Russia, and Iceland!

Tropes:

Considering we have a LOT of common and popular tropes in our stories, but some that come up most often include…

  • angst (mild): 6
  • first kiss: 6
  • flirting: 6
  • getting together: 5
  • meet cute: 5
  • miscommunication: 4
  • mutual pining: 9
  • reunion: 5

Character Features, Sexuality, Gender, and Romanticism:

Note that this is far from a complete list – it reflects instead instances where authors specified, and doesn’t include all the tags we’ve used, just the most common. And in lots of cases, the author didn’t specific – it’s left to the reader’s imagination, to interpret them as they wish!

  • aromantic character: 2
  • BIPOC characters: 10
  • bisexual character: 5
  • homosexual character: 2
  • nonbinary character: 4

We’ve also got characters with disabilities, chubby characters, asexual characters, lesbian characters, agender and genderfluid characters, and more!

Magic!

And of course, there’s lots of creatures and magic!

  • Animal shifters: 3
  • Dragon: 3
  • Fae and Fairy Folk: 3
  • Magic users: 12
  • Vampires: 2
  • Witches: 4

As well as gods, spirits, reapers, and many types of magic use from multiple cultures!

Warnings:

Lastly, of course it’s not all fun and games – we do have some warnings. Our stories are mostly fluffy, so these are generally mild, but we want to be sure readers have an idea what they’re in for, so some of our stories have warnings for aphobia, biphobia, transphobia, classism, speciesism, off-screen death of a relative, strained family relationships, dysphoria, and more.

In the print book and e-book, every story includes a list of tags – warnings included! – at the beginning, and there’s also an index to help find (or avoid!) stories based on the tags.

Story headers look like this:

And the index like this:

So, if stories with these tags sound like stories you’d like to read?

Then make sure you check out our Kickstarter! We’ll only be printing enough physical books and merch to fill existing orders (there might be enough extras for a post-KS extras sale but there is zero guarantee!) so if you want these items, it’s now or never!

Only ten days left to buy Add Magic to Taste!

(and, if you want to support us in general…did you know we had a Patreon?)

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Add Magic to Taste Author Spotlight: Scarlett Gale

Scarlett Gale is the author of His Secret Illuminations. Long ago, under  another name, she was the co-author of Needles and Artifice (Cooperative Press; 2012), featuring a rollicking romantic steampunk adventure novella and associated knitting patterns, of which she also designed several. She writes and produces fringe theatre plays based on  B-movies, such as Bodacious Barbarian Babes vs. The Indigo Empress, and Showgirls of Beast Island. She is a co-producer of the Alison-Bechdel-approved Bechdel Test Burlesque, which in 2017 was  included in the Women and Gender Studies curriculum at the University of  Oregon. She lives in Seattle with her wife, where she gardens, knits, reads, and drinks warm beverages. Unsurprisingly, she also has cats.

Link: Archive of Our Own | Twitter

Story Title: Unusual Blends

tags: bipoc character, getting together, the grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one, meet cute, mildly dubious consent, witches, witches have familiars, wlw

Teaser:

“Don’t look at me like that, Vivi!” she says, laughing at Vivian’s stern glare. “They’re not bad. They’re mostly pranks, with the odd self-defense jinx thrown in when someone needs it.”

“Pranks,” Vivian says, voice flat. She doesn’t look up from the scale where she’s measuring out burdock root.

“Pranks,” Gwendolyn confirms. “And good ones! The kind where everyone laughs. Making someone’s slippers run away from them is pretty freaking funny, and it only lasts thirty seconds.” She pokes Vivian in the shoulder, chin propped on her other hand, elbow on the counter. “C’mon.” She tugs at Vivian’s sleeve. “Admit it, Vivi, that’s funny.”

Vivian moves her arm out of Gwendolyn’s grip and pours the burdock into her mortar. She doesn’t respond. She can’t. Words always tangle up on her tongue, and it’s worse around Gwendolyn than anyone else, because Gwendolyn doesn’t stick to a script. She flutters around unpredictably, like a butterfly on the breeze, beautiful, glimmering… but absolutely, positively infuriating.

“You’ll see,” Gwendolyn says, unconcerned by Vivian’s silence. “One of these days, I’ll prank you and you’ll laugh and admit I was right and I’ll brag about it forever.”


Will the grumpy one actually be soft for the sunshine one? How will they work this out? You’ll have to read the story to see. Back the Kickstarter for Add Magic to Taste and found out!

Check it out!