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Announcing: The Contributors to “He Bears the Cape of Stars” and “She Wears the Midnight Crown”!

36 remarkable authors—18 for He Bears the Cape of Stars, 18 for She Wears the Midnight Crown—have come together for this project. These authors have been toiling away on their stories since February 1st, 2022, and we’re currently work with them on edits to get them publication-ready. We’re delighted to share their work with you!

Contributors to He Bears the Cape of Stars:

Contributors to She Wears the Midnight Crown:

You can read about them—in their own words!—see select author portraits, and more, by clicking this link:

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Prompt-a-Duck Masterpost: Feb 22, 2022

(a couple days late this time, sorry!)

Welcome to our latest Prompt-A-Duck masterpost, the weekly low stress prompt event run on the Duck Prints Press server for all of our authors and artists!

As an aside, we’ve made an AO3 collection where, once we get a spare few minutes, we’ll be making sure all the Prompt-A-Duck fills can be accessed.

This week, we had one word prompt and one AU prompt to choose from:

1. sybarite: a person who loves expensive things and pleasure

2. “We had a really bad break-up three hundred years ago, but neither of us realized the other was immortal until we met today while shopping for groceries” AU. Credit: https://dailyau.tumblr.com/post/667209828751572992/we-had-a-really-bad-break-up-three-hundred-years

Results:

Sarnakh: https://archiveofourown.org/works/37418728

Lucy K.R.: https://www.patreon.com/posts/63091773 (CW: a dead vampire victim and mention of hunting pigeons)

Zylaa: https://archiveofourown.org/works/37357432/chapters/93218782 (CW: mild references to past sexual activity)

As always, if you enjoyed their work, please give our authors some love!

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Prompt-a-Duck Masterpost: Feb 19, 2022

Time for the second week of our Prompt-a-Duck, the weekly low stress prompt event run on the Duck Prints Press server for all of our authors and artists!

This week’s prompts:

  1. Hatpin panic (or hatpin peril). All kind of needle craft also welcome, as this prompt was spawned by a discussion about the peril of little old ladies with knitting needles. If you want to read more on this phenomenon, follow this link: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/hatpin-peril-terrorized-men-who-couldnt-handle-20th-century-woman-180951219/ (CW: sexual harassment, period typical sexism).
  2. meet-cute or meet-ugly featuring the most awkward gift you can think of. Courtesy of a discussion in our general chat, this didn‘t have to be Valentine Day centered, but this prompt was spawned by an image of Valentine themed toilet paper, so make of that what you will.

And here are our results for this week:

Rebekah: https://rhosyn-du.tumblr.com/post/676497679679946753/by-the-pricking-of-my-thumbs (CW: animal harm, sexual assault, character death, implied murder)

Lucy K. R.: https://www.patreon.com/posts/62755250 (CW: violence, period typical sexism)

Thanks for participating and if you liked what you read, please let our authors know and consider giving us a like or a follow!

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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.)

*

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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Announcing: The Authors and Artists Contributing to “And Seek (Not) to Alter Me!”

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We are thrilled to announce the authors and who will be contributing to And Seek (Not) to Alter Me! (Though we may yet add an artist or three…)

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Artists

Miss 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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Joshua Beeking

I’m Joshua Beeking, an illustrator from Québec City that works in both traditional and digital medias. I have been working on sharpening my skills for over 10 years. I received formal education at Quebec’s O’Sullivan College, where I earned a diploma in 2D/3D Animation and Rendering in 2012. I won first place at the UQAM digital creation contest in 2011 for best character designs.

I’m currently a full time freelance artist with more than 200 commissions completed over the years, and aim to share my little touch of creativity with the world!

Links: Instagram | Patreon | Twitter

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Liz Brooks

I’m a freelance artist currently living in Michigan with my boyfriend and my dog Ringus Mingus (aka Gus). I’ve been doing freelance work for a few years now and am currently working on making a webcomic series about gay Renaissance Faire knights. In my free time, I enjoy reading, playing video games poorly, and baking.

Links: Carrd | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

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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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Taylor C. Fischer

Taylor graduated from the Maryland Institute College of art in 2010. They believe that there are experiences and stories that can connect all of us with the aid of illustration and design. Their previous projects include: Dauntless, Elderscrolls Online, Sid Meier’s: Civilization, League of Legends, and Xcom

Taylor’s continues to create personal work in their free time, but also enjoys raising farm animals, horseback riding, training horses, beekeeping, and lives in their Tiny House on wheels.

Preferred pronouns are They/Them

Links: TaylorCFischer.com | Twitter

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Gio Guimarães

Giovanna, or simply Gio, she/her, is a Brazilian artist, working for a long time as illustrator, comic artist and animator. Some of her works are the comics Robocop and Green Hornet, cards for Avatar: The Last Airbender, short animations for advertising and TV shows, and art for games. Since 2016, lives in São Paulo and works for an American game company as Senior Illustrator. Besides the “official” work, she is always working in personal projects, such as independent comics, short animations, illustrations, and fandom works.

Links: Facebook (giovannabcg) | Facebook (giosdoodlesandartworks) | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

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Alicia Matheson

Alicia Matheson (she/her), Bi-Demisexual and Elder Millenial circa 1982! Southern California native, currently living in the Pacific Northwest; has been writing and doing digital and traditional art for decades. She also works as an author under the pen name Licie Laine.

Links: Archive of Our Own | deviantArt | Patreon | Tumblr | Twitter

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Lauren Mugford

I’ve been drawing since my mom first put a crayon in my hand as a way to help express my emotions. This resulted in bedroom walls getting covered in elaborate story-filled murals, and I haven’t really stopped since (though my choice of media has changed a bit). My pronouns are she/her, and I currently I reside in the Toronto area, trying to figure out how to make this comic-making, illustration-drawing thing work. With a strong love for narratives, my primary focus is on making fan art for whatever fandom has me most recently captivated, and trying to create my own queer, nerdy works of fiction to put out in the world.

Links: Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

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Pimmy Oldham

A quirky queer published artist and hobby writer, mainly working in digital media for the last five years, but often drifting back into traditional media out of nostalgia for my long deserted youth.

I hobby art predominantly in the Supernatural fandom. Heller to the end of my days.

My home is in the UK, my heart is in Europe and my head is usually orbiting Pluto (she’s still a planet to me).

I usually have three or four cats vying to lie on me, my keyboard, or my graphics tab in no set order and live with them and my daughter in generally harmonious chaos.

Links: Archive of Our Own | RedBubble | Tumblr

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Meredith Pancake

I am a 30 year old artist from Indiana. After playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I fell in love with the game and with digital art, and haven’t looked back since! I enjoy creating fanart for whatever show, movie, or book series has my attention at the time, ranging from LoZ to the Witcher. I’m always exploring to find new artists to emulate and learn from, and trying new techniques!

Links: Tumblr

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Magnolia Porter

Magnolia Porter, 24; I’m an illustrator and painter who enjoys figure expression, both grand and sentimental, what it means to be a creature, and exploiting my exposure to the ideas of holy and unholiness for symbolism material, especially while exploring a mixture thereof (“I’ll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife,” anyone?). This will be my first published art, outside of a fandom zine or two. I also dabble in creative writing, though it is not quite my breath and blood like art is. I daydream of fantasy worldbuilding, but unfortunately my troubles with plot have kept those worlds from expanding. Currently, I am in my fourth year of Artfight (go team steampunk!), I cannot stop listening to The Oh Hellos and Will Wood and the Tapeworms, and I am quite looking forward to the new Good Omens series.

Links: Tumblr (mushrooms-and-blooms) | Tumblr (roseal-marrow)

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Sunny Powell

I’m a they/them ace-spectrum trash panda with a love for political science and working hard to change the world one act of kindness at a time. I’m a graphic designer by day, a multimedia creator and writer by night, and I’ve been involved with various fandom communities for nearly twenty five years. I live in Portland, OR with my 7 year old son and two cats.

Link: SunnyPowellArt.com

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Xanthe P. Russell

I’m Xanthe, she/they, a 23 year old queer freelance artist based in the United Kingdom. I am primarily a portrait artist who specialises in using portraiture as a way of expressing my love for both the subject and art world in general. I mainly work digitally, although love to dabble in traditional art from time to time (such as pencils, paints, embroidery, etc), and am constantly looking to push the boundaries of what my art can be! I recently graduated with a BA in History of Art, and often will use artists of the past and present as inspirations for my work. My art has been featured in a few primarily online magazines, such as the Kraze and MouthingOff, along with some fan-zine and independent projects.

My work is a mix of fan art and original character designs. I have a wide range of fandoms that I’ve been involved in over the years, but one that has remained consistent (and was also what got me interested in digital art back in 2013) is the Kpop fandom. Fandoms in general have been places where I’ve met a lot of really talented and lovely people who have helped inspire and motivate me as a creative person! I also have a love for music and writing, and have written a lot of my own music and stories in my spare time. Being creative has always been a big and happy part of my life, and I love being able to share that creativity with the world!

Links: Behance | Facebook | deviantArt | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

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Casei Solus

Casei is a self-taught artist from Florida, USA. She is known for her impressionist fanart and her minimalist pride merch. For work, she designs and mocks up merch for clients. She doesn’t care about her pronouns.

Links: Linktree

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Rima Sweet

I am a Luxembourg/Europe-based Media Writer. My preferred pronouns are she/her. I’ve never had an art piece published before, but a small screenplay made it into my university’s 10th anniversary anthology.

Growing up, art and literature were my passion. As an absolute language nerd, I went on to study English Literature and Linguistics with a heavy focus on Shakespeare, with Sociology as a Minor. Later, I switched to a BTS (“Brevet de Technicien Supérieur”) in Media Writing, which focused more on content creation for various outlets of media, be that visual, audio, print, online, film, journalism…what have you.

Drawing and painting have always been my preferred ways of expressing myself. I was gifted my first set of coloured pencils when I was three years old. Since then, there’s practically always been some sort of drawing utensil in my hand. I love to play with lighting, and my favourite scenes to depict are heartfelt moments with much emotion. I started drawing fan art when I was a teenager, and I am still enjoying it tremendously to this day. Outside of fandom, I like to draw and paint horses, especially in movement, and landscapes. I specialise in digital art but I want to get back into watercolour and gouache.

At the moment, my main fandom is “The Untamed”, or “The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation”. Outside of that, I enjoy Marvel movies, fantasy/YA novels, and French poetry. When I’m not working or drawing, you can catch me crocheting or preparing some kind of food, which I love to share with my long-term partner.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Tumblr | Twitter

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A. A. Weston

I’m best described as a jack of all trades but I practice art more than anything else. I am a neurodivergent and queer momma of the best kid in the world.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

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Authors

Len Amin

I’m a disaster pansexual woman, and a fresh graduate with my bachelors degree but absolutely no direction! Despite that, I don’t remember a breath in which I wasn’t creating stories in my mind. Weaving together worlds has always felt like just a different way for me to understand the human condition and to connect with others on a deeper, more spiritual level, and I never want to give it up. I crave quiet, relatable tales about the connection and love between people in whatever form that takes, and how people work through the tribulations that may come about from that intimacy. I am currently residing in the Midwest of the United States with my Palestinian family, our puppy Charles, and our lovely chickens, with a particular affinity of poetry, spending time with friends, and typing away on my laptop in our local cafe.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Discord: LenScribbles#2644 | Tumblr | Twitter

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Juno Caster

Juno is a queer woman in her thirties living in France; she teaches ESL and English literature. She’s been involved in fandom, mostly through writing fanfiction, for twenty years — first on forums and privately hosted websites, then on LiveJournal and FanFiction.Net, and now on Tumblr and AO3. She’s mostly into Asian dramas these days; other interests include foreign languages, true crime, and coffee.

Links: Twitter

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Era J.M. Couts

I’ve been a writer for over 20 years.

Well, if I actually think about it carefully, it has probably been longer than that. I do remember writing a story on MS Paint when my age was still single digits. I could have used Word but Paint was funnier, it let me draw my scenes there too.

So maybe I should rephrase it: I have been a fanfic writer for over 20 years. There, that looks a bit better. I wrote a few originals too, but those never saw the light of day. They will, eventually.

I like to write about characters and their development. I like to write about feelings and struggles and how complicated life can be even when it looks so simple. I like to write epic love stories that don’t always have a happy ending. But most often they do.

I will, one day, write a dystopian series that I’ve been plotting for over a decade. One day, certainly one day.
Aside from being a writer, I’m a reader, an opinionated mind, an Aries, an immigrant, a coffee lover, and a night owl that has been forced to conform to the social norm of waking up early only to become a “Morgenmuffel.”

I am passionate, energetic, lazy, and sarcastic. I’m a CrazyCatLady in the making, a food lover that cannot cook, the Man™ my grandma wanted me to marry, and a happy soul in my own shoes.

And, above all, I am weird. I am queer. And so damn proud of it.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Tumblr

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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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Adrian Harley

Adrian Harley is an almost-lifelong North Carolinian and a fantasy fiction aficionado who didn’t start delving deep into fandom until adulthood. In an effort to reduce the number of unread books in their hoard, they have recently started reviewing books they possess at booksinmyhouse.dreamwidth.org. They are an editor of research by day and an aspiring novelist, also by day. They go to bed early. They live in Raleigh, NC, with their husband and a perfectly reasonable number of cats.

Link: Twitter

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R.L. Houck

R. L. Houck is a 40 yr old woman who uses she/her pronouns. She resides in Virginia with her wife, two dogs, and six cats. She has been writing creatively for as long as she can remember, but this anthology will be her first original publication.

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Hayley Hyde

Hayley Hyde is a chaotic neutral writer and visual artist. Having recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Writings, she currently works as a freelance copywriter, while also fumbling about in her pursuit of a TV writing career. As a former writing center tutor, Hayley knows no bliss quite like tutees coming in with fiction assignments. She’s currently busy being a big ol’ lesbian in Philadelphia.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Discord: destihecker#2695 | Instagram

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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 writes anyway. Therefore, she has taken it upon herself to pursue an authorial career rather than shirking responsibilities in search of the writing time she needs. She is fortunate to be joined by her enthusiastic fiancée Tomo, a loving OG family, and a lively found family as well.

Though a new name in original fiction, she boasts a couple publications in local newspaper Flagpole, and has done some writing for board and video games. Most notably, her work will be featured in the upcoming board game Mageling: Rise of the Ancient Ones. She maintains an eager following for her Final Fantasy VII fanfictions, and in the past year began writing in the Heaven Official’s Blessing universe as well to warm responses.

She comes to writing with a background in upright bass performance, a general interest in most things, and little relevant experience. She is the kind of person who enjoys learning one piece of information about everything without ever acquiring a specialty. In her written works Lucy K. enjoys exploring the fragility and endurance inherent in humanity, the effects of trauma on relationships, and the paradoxical brotherhood of confinement and freedom in society.

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: Archive of Our Own | Twitter

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Nickel J. Keep

Nickel (they/them) was born in a galaxy far, far away. No. Wait. That’s not their origin story. They currently live in Pennsylvania with two of their three partners, their two children, and a fat, lazy, chonk of a cat named Sphinx. When not writing, Nickel can be found drawing, playing video games, or running Magic: The Gathering tournaments as an L1 judge. They can frequently be found lurking in the Haven, Leverage, and Witcher fandoms.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Twitter

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M.K. Mads

M.K. Mads has been writing stories since she was seven years old. While she is most prolific in fanfiction and has works scattered among more than a dozen fandoms, she has been making strides into original fiction. Her favorite genre to read is romance. When she isn’t reading, writing, or falling headfirst into a new fandom, she can be found baking, walking, doting on her niblings, or playing Pokemon Go.

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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.

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Theo Neidlinger

Writer with a focus on lgbtq+ themes. They/them.

Link: Twitter

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A. Reilly

A. Reilly is an avid reader, and has been writing stories as long as they can remember. Around eight years old, they saved up their allowance one nickel and dime at a time to buy a typewriter — which they still have, although they mostly use a Mac now. Adaille joined the fanfic and fanart scene in 2018 after years in the Supernatural fandom, and has been hooked on the community ever since.

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Notte Silhouette

Hi! I’m Notte (she/they). I’ve been a writer since I was 12 years old, which is when I started reading fanfiction and almost immediately felt compelled to write some, too. I started in the Percy Jackson fandom, then moved through various medias until my stories started becoming so AU they were practically my own. While I’ve never published original fiction before, I’ve been publishing fanfiction steadily over the last decade across various usernames and have published articles under my given name for multiple genres: interview, research, and more. I’ve also begun songwriting, and recently had one of my songs incorporated into a video game!

My fiction writing tends towards introspective, character-driven short stories, often laden with metaphor and double meanings. I love flowery imagery and poetic prose, and making characters suffer in the name of growth. More than that, I love using fiction as a way to connect with others: both through the text and through the process of writing. I’ve been running a fandom server for the past two years to build community and support other fanfic writers. I’ve also run two to three prompt months per year, and I’m excited to take on the beta and co-head mod role for a current zine!

When I’m not writing, I’m studying (for grad school, for a future medical school, for research work). Any time after that goes into reading as much as possible, or recently, graphic design, as I start creating graphics to enhance the quality of my events. I love talking to people who want to talk to me, and I will sleep anytime I’m presented with a soft surface to lay on (and sometimes even without). I can’t wait to share my work with you, thank you for taking the time to read it!

Links: Archive of Our Own | Tumblr (fandomsilhouette) | Tumblr (nottesilhouette)

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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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Theresa Tanner

Theresa Tanner (she/her): My father’s family was in newspaper journalism, and he taught me how to get to the heart of a story and how to proofread. My mom was an Army doctor, and her family included a long history of educators. I grew up to teach high school science and write stories, so I’d like to think both sides would be proud of me. When I retire from teaching, I plan to pursue writing as my second full-time career. When not teaching or writing, I enjoy playing with my cat, video games, knitting, listening to music, streaming TV, and, of course, reading. I live in West Texas now, but have lived in Maryland and Germany and traveled through much of the United States and Western Europe.

I’ve written several novels with the help of NaNoWriMo, although none are yet published. I have several hundred works on Archive of Our Own, primarily in the Supernatural and Yuri!!! on Ice fandoms. I currently also enjoy Miraculous Ladybug, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Boku no Hero Academia, Star Wars, Star Trek, Mass Effect, and The Lord of the Rings.

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K.B. Vimes

K.B. Vimes lives in West Virginia with his fiance and their six cats, four frogs, three lizards, one frog, and a number of fish. In his spare time he makes paper craft, takes long walks with his fiance, and visits state parks. He’s been writing since he was old enough to hold a pencil, and for years has told stories to anyone willing to hold still long enough to listen.

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Lyn Weaver

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.

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Nicole Wilkinson

Nicole has been publishing her writing for the public since she first stumbled into fanfiction back in 2007, when a college friend introduced her to the concept through the world of Final Fantasy VIII slash fiction. Since then, it’s been a roller coaster ride straight through dozens of fandoms, eventually leading to original content published through a variety of means. She’s in her mid-thirties, uses she/her pronouns, and more recently has discovered an intense affection for playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Links: Archive of Our Own | Tumblr | WordPress

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Cat Z.Y.

Cat currently lives in California with her succulent Teddy. She published her first novel by the name of “Guardian” with the pseudonym Ann O. Nemos (after reading too much Agatha Christie) at the age of 14. Besides writer, she enjoys fiber crafts and swimming.

Link: Archive of Our Own

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