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: Lyn Weaver
Biography: Lyn Weaver has been writing fanfiction for over a decade and original fiction for even longer. Her preferred genres are fantasy and horror, and her preferred tropes are ‘enemies to lovers’ and anything to do with identity issues. She won’t read a story if something bad happens to the cat.
Story Title: The Thing with Feathers
They say the masked Delvers who harvest the Dungeon’s riches become monsters if they stay too long or dig too deep, and that those monsters flood out of the Dungeon at night and kidnap women. That was why the tower was built so close to the gaping wound leading to the earth’s core: so you would learn to be grateful you weren’t down there. In your experience, the Dungeon is an ugly hole in the ground and the Delvers are your fellow prisoners. Precious few would choose to step into a pitch-black hole in the ground they might never return from, after all. Most of them are out there because they can’t live any other way. Or they’re simply being forced to, the way Nasha was. To top it all off, you haven’t seen a single monster. Not until tonight.
A soft thump rouses you from uneasy slumber. You sit up, rubbing the sleep from your eyes, and freeze. There’s a woman on the windowsill. The windowsill hundreds of feet above the ground.
“Huh,” she says. “Three years of searching and you were just outside home all along.”
You blink. Then you shoot upright and stumble toward her. Her skin is grey in the moonlight, short wild hair reaching up toward the moon. Something about the shape of her isn’t quite right, but she’s the first person you’ve seen up close in three years. You don’t care.
He Bears the Cape of Stars Contributor Spotlight: Louise Long
Biography: Louise Long (she/they) lives in Cardiff and writes contemporary and urban fantasy. She also writes speculative fiction as J. L. George, and her first novel, The Word, is published by New Welsh Rarebyte. In her other lives, she’s a library monkey and an academic interested in literature and science and the Gothic.
Links: Personal Website | Twitter
Story Title: Give Him a Mask
Tam’s shoulders bunched up; he forced himself to relax. “Most people round here are a little weird,” he said. It was true: the Pearl teemed with the arty kids, the queers and outsiders. “Lot of them don’t talk about their families much, either. Better off without them.”
Defensiveness made its way into his voice, and the stranger looked at him curiously. “Are you better off without yours?”
“They’re arseholes.” Tam sighed and pushed himself upright. Anna was beckoning him from the stage door. “I’d better go. Stick around and watch us, if you like.”
“Maybe I will.” The stranger took a half-step forward, held out his hand for a second, then let it fall back to his side. “I’m Emlyn, by the way.”
Tam could hardly give his real name. “Starry,” he said, after a moment.
Emlyn blinked at him. “Starry?”
“Starry Knight.” Tam’s cheeks warmed. “It’s a stage name.”
“That’s terrible,” Emlyn informed him, solemnly. But there was a twinkle in his eye, sudden and unexpected. It did equally unexpected things to Tam’s insides, putting a vertiginous, swooping feeling in his belly.
He grinned, suddenly reckless with it. “Wait ’til you see me onstage.”
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!