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Business Update

It occurs to me that I haven’t spoken much on our business Tumblr about certain things going on in the background of running this Press. Usually, on Sundays, we try to post an informational post about writing, a prompt list, or some other significant content, but that’s been noticeably absent the last few weeks, and here’s why.

Hi, I’m unforth/Claire/Nina Waters, any pronouns (I don’t care if people default to she/her, which most do), and I own this Press. I’m 39, enby, aroace, mother of two, and queer platonic married to ramblingandpie. And I’ve had problems with my back on and off for almost 15 years. In the last 4 years that’s very much been more “on” than “off,” and in the last year it’s been continually “on.” Over the summer, it lingered at a constant 2-or-so on a ten scale where 9 is “giving birth without painkillers,” which I have done. Twice. Over the early fall, it was bad enough that I started getting help lifting and moving things. In November, it went into precipitous decline, and I started to get alarmed.

Early December, my doctor said “give it six weeks, see if it goes away on it’s own.” Spoilers, it didn’t. I saw a specialist, finally, on December 30th, and they immediately sent me for an MRI (I’d been trying to get my PCP to send me for an MRI for 4 goddamn years). A week and a half ago I saw the specialist again, and we reviewed the MRI results, and basically, one of my discs is bulging and pinching my spinal cord (less basically, the disc between my L4 and L5 vertebrae is herniated and causing spinal stenosis and radiating sciatic pain down my right leg). At this point, even on massive amounts of painkillers and anti-inflammatory meds, I can’t drive and can hardly walk right now – I get about 5 minutes on my feet before the pain is too excruciating and I have to sit and rest for 5 to 10 minutes before I can do more – and I also can’t sit at my desktop computer at all. And, the meds make me tired and dizzy. The specialist said I should see a surgeon, and while she hedged her bets and suggested there was a chance I wouldn’t surgery, she also considered the case urgent enough that she tried to flag the surgeon down in the hallway and have him see me immediately, and spent the rest of the appointment discussing surgery like it was a foregone conclusion. But I couldn’t make an appointment with the surgeon, because his secretary was out with Covid…and by the time she got back on Monday, the surgeon had also caught Covid, and is out for two weeks, as is another of the 4 total surgeons that the Spine Clinic at the local hospital employs.

I’m seeing one of the ones who DOESN’T have Covid on Wednesday, and again, while there’s a chance I don’t need major back surgery, it’s a very small chance. Based on our research and knowledge and what the pain specialist said (my wife has medical expertise too), we think the only real question on Wednesday will be how soon they’re able to schedule it, considering how bad Omicron is spreading here. The MRI indicates that right now I’m literally continually, potentially, a moment a way from catastrophic nerve damage. Like, if something twinges wrong, I could end up incontinent for the rest of my life, or with permanent leg weakness, or even theoretically paralysis, and I have a list of circumstances under which I’m supposed to go to the ER immediately and have the surgery with the on-call surgeon (who will be one of those same two who don’t have Covid, I feel bad for them they must be SO overworked right now, what a mess). It’d be a huge surprise if I don’t have surgery within the next week or two – we’ve been planning as if it’s a foregone conclusion, and I have a go-bag ready for the ER, because it really is that serious – and once I do, recovery is about 6 weeks of bed rest, followed by months of PT and the slower healing that just takes time.

All that said, post-op success rates on this surgery (I believe it’s a laminectomy?) are very high – if I follow all the medical instructions, I should heal back to 100%, unless I’ve already got nerve damage (which is unfortunately possible but. What can ya do?). Even then, surgery should heal the pain, and I’ll just have leg weakness.

All of which is to say…since early November I’ve been dealing with some pretty damn major health problems. Especially challenging has been my inability to sit at my computer, because that’s where I do most of my writing and all of my graphic work and editing.

I know I’m over-sharing personal things here, and I’m sorry about that – I’ve tried to hold off on sharing it at all, this has been going on for almost 10 weeks, but I think we’ve reached the point where the health issues are major enough, and the impact it has on the business is visible enough, that it’s better for me to simply disclose. I’m not looking for pity; I’m trying to make clear why the business is behind on certain things we’d said are imminent.

Our goal is to have this impact the business as little as possible, but since I’m our only full time employee, and our primary coordinator for major projects, there’s simply a lot we can’t do when my work time is greatly reduced by health issues. The good news is, once it became clear how serious this was, I used basically the business’s entire rainy day fund to buy a nice laptop, so I’m now able to work from the couch (which is about the only place I can sit comfortably). That’s how I’m typing this update – the laptop arrived on Wednesday and I’ve spent the days since getting it set up to do all the things I usually do from desktop, which means I can move forward on some of the things we had to delay.

Specific implications of all the above, as applied to our current projects:

1. The And Seek (Not) to Alter Me Kickstarter is temporarily delayed. We’ll make an announcement (and finally do the cover reveal!!) once we can plan a specific timeline for launch – hopefully, we’ll know that in about a week, after I’ve spoken to the surgeon. In terms of our actual preparedness for launch…I’m behind on my share of the editing, but all the stories have had at least one editing run, and about half are ready for immediate publication. The art is also all ready. We have all the merchandise art ready, and some are in the printing templates. The Kickstarter copy is complete written and edited and has been approved by KS (like, from that standpoint, we could literally launch right now), but only 4 out of the 6 graphics we need are completed; I’m hoping to finish the rest imminently, so that as soon as my health allows and I know I’ll be recovered enough to manage the KS fulfillment (which involves a LOT of box lifting, which is impossible for me right now) we can hit the “launch” button.

2. There are no delays in review of applications for He Bears the Cape of Stars and She Wears the Midnight Crown. We’ve already finished reviewing the applications from “returner” applicants (people who have written with us before on one of our two anthologies or have done a Patreon story with us) and have a preliminary list of accepted authors (no one will be notified until we’re done reviewing all applications). Our team doing the review (myself, A. L. Heard/jhoom, Alessa, P. J. Claremore/Foop, K. B. Vimes, and Lacey Hays/Owlish) are about halfway done with the mlm applications and a quarter through the wlw – I personally am a reader for every applications and I’m finished with the mlm and will be starting the wlw ones today. All of which is to say, we’re making good progress and do not anticipate a delay – we still expect to notify all applicants of their acceptances or rejections by January 31st.

3. The two novels I’m supposed to edit – one by A. L. Heard, the other by Tris Lawrence – I’ve been unable to make progress on, so these are currently delayed, and the authors are in the loop and know.

4. We’re a little behind on Patreon backer rewards, specifically the Patron-exclusive stories. However, we’re working on catching up, and we anticipate that (hopefully) by the end of February, we’ll have published all the backlog and caught up. Other Patreon rewards have not been impacted.

5. There’s a few other things that were in the works when this all started but that we hadn’t publicly announced yet…those are, as would expect, on hold. (As a teaser for anyone dedicated enough to have read this far…this includes our first erotica title and an erotica imprint to go with it, with it’s own logo and sub-website on our main page, and our plans for our fifth anthology, and a call for manuscript submissions, and more!)

As we see it…these are uncertain times for everyone even without “extra” things happen, and something like this health issue couldn’t have been predicted. However, nothing has changed in terms of our commitment to Duck Prints Press and all we set out to do. We truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we, and I especially, get through this. We’re striving to catch up and get back to “normal,” and we can’t wait to share with you all the amazing things that we’ve been working on. And Seek (Not) to Alter Me is a.may.zing, y’all, and the submissions pitches for the two new anthologies are blowing our socks off. Seriously, we’re so excited.

Stay tuned – there’s so, so, SO much more to come!

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Kickstarter, Blockchains, and Crypto

We received an e-mail regarding Duck Prints Press’s official view on Kickstarter’s recent announcement of their intentions to go transfer to a block-chain based system, and if Kickstarter’s actions would influence Duck Prints Press working with them in the future.

For those who many not have heard, Kickstarter has indicated their intention to transition to using block chain in…some fashion…to “decentralize” and make their organization more “open and collaborative.” Their own announcement is posted here, and despite a lot of glitzy-sounding copy, it basically reads as nonsense. Maybe a crypto-bro would understand it but it all sounded pretty meaningless to me (you know, a well-educated professional author and editor). There are lots of websites who have posted more readable explanations, and which thoroughly roasted them, and I imagine the way I’m writing this already makes clear our position, but since we were explicitly asked, and answered, I see no reason to keep our answer a secret.

When I submitted And Seek (Not) to Alter Me to Kickstarter for approval and review, they asked me to take a survey. The survey primary cared about demographics, but there was a free answer item at the end, and I used that opportunity to tell them in no uncertain terms that if they do more with blockchains and/or cryptocurrency, we will no longer work with them. We have zero interest in being a part of anything like that.

Based on my understanding of their announcement, so far they’ve only declared a “commitment” to this change, and started an organization to “develop the protocol.” Which means, for now, we’re still willing to work with them, mostly in the hopes that in light of the blowback they’ll change their minds. However, if they don’t change their minds, we’ll discontinue working with them and switch to a different crowd-funding platform, most likely Indiegogo based on the currently available options and the information we currently have.

I am still slightly reticent even to continue with Kickstarter as things stand now, because if they DON’T back down, the fees they collect from us will go to fund something we truly utterly do not support, but we feel committed at least for our next campaign. Depending on how the situation progresses, though, that may change by the time we’re discussing our third.

Hope this makes it clear that our attitude amounts to “fuck that noise,” and reassures anyone who shares our concerns that we will absolutely not continue to be involved with them if they go in this direction.

And if you actually support them doing this…uh…well, um, good luck with that, I guess?

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“Add Magic to Taste” Kickstarter Update

Things have been a little quiet around our social media as, over the past few weeks, we’ve kicked into high gear to finish fulfillment of the “Add Magic to Taste” Kickstarter. We’re pleased to report that we’re nearly done – all backers who’ve done their backer surveys have had their merchandise shipped, and most have received their things. There have of course been some issues – when aren’t there? – with damaged packaging and address errors, but the rate for such as been very low, and so far we’ve been able to replace everything that people have contacted us about.

With the campaign mostly done, we’re hoping to launch the e-book on our website within the next week or two, so that it’ll be available for sale to people who missed the campaign, and we’ll also have an extras sale featuring much of our merchandise. Make sure to keep an eye on our social media platforms if you’re interested in the extras sale – we’ll have extras of the following items to sell!

The book (seconds/lightly damaged ones only):

Keychains (all are seconds with various degrees of damage/problems, but we have a LOT of them):

Enamel Pins (mostly undamaged, with maybe a handful of seconds at a lower price point):

Bookmarks (all undamaged):

Stickers (small numbers of each, undamaged):

Magnets (both undamaged items and seconds):

Mugs (mostly undamaged, though there’s at least one second):

We may have a few sets of the art prints to sell, but we’re not sure yet.

We do not have any extra of the mini-books or the postcards.

As soon as we’ve set prices and the date the sale will begin, we’ll make another announcement. We expect it’ll be at least two more weeks; we want as many of our international purchasers to have received their backer rewards as possible, both because we feel that campaign backers should have their rewards before new people get a chance, and also because we need to be sure we have enough extras on hand to replace any damaged or missing orders placed by our backers. Sales will be handled through our website store portal. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or thoughts on this!

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The “Add Magic to Taste” Kickstarter is Done!

Wow – what a month we’ve had! Over the past 30 days, our 744 amazing backers contributed $25,808 to make this project a success, and we couldn’t be more grateful. All our authors will get paid 8 cents US per word, up to $400 per author, which is a.may.zing, and backers will get this excellent book, lots of fun merch and extras, and the privilege of saying “I was there when Duck Prints Press launched their first anthology!”

For people who backed, we posted about our “next steps” in this Kickstarter update.

For people who didn’t back – couldn’t afford to, were on the fence, missed the deadline, only just found out about it now, all that jazz – we’ll be having an extras sale, most likely in late fall or early winter, once the majority of the KS have received the packages.

The following items will definitely be available in the extras sale:

  • mugs
  • rubber duckies
  • both enamel pins
  • bookmarks
  • small glossy prints of the third piece of artwork

The following items might be available in the extras sale:

  • art prints
  • copies of the trade paperback book
  • postcards
  • stickers
  • mini-book extra
  • magnet

The following items will not be available in the extras sale:

  • keychains
  • tea

In addition, at or around the same time, the e-book will go up for sale on our website, and will remain available there for as long as the Press is in operation!

As we said in our advertising – the only guaranteed way to get the book was to back the Kickstarter, and that remains true. We may have a handful of extra books, but it’ll depend on how many get damaged in shipping and need to be replaced, how many we decide to keep for future campaigns, etc. Right now, we’re only expecting to print about 20 copies above the number purchased, so if we have any at all, it’ll be a very limited quantity.

Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or comments! It’s been a very exciting time, and we can’t wait to start making everything and getting backers their rewards!

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The Add Magic to Taste Kickstarter ends at 11 AM Eastern on Saturday, August 14th, 2021

If you love queer fiction, and you love fanfic, and you love fluffy tropes, you are not going to want to miss Add Magic to Taste, an all new collection of 20 heartwarming queer stories set in modern, magical coffee shops, bakeries, cafes, and tea shops!

We won’t say this anthology has it all – there are too many identities in the world for us to fit all of them into one anthology of 20 stories – but if you want some queer fluff and happy feelings, you’ve come to the right place. Add Magic to Taste features characters of different races, ethnicities, sexualities, romanticisms, gender identities, religions, and home nations, united by the common theme of finding someone (or more than one someone) to enjoy a muffin and a cuppa with – for today or for a lifetime, romantically or otherwise!

Each story is never-before published and approximately 5,000 words. Our authors were selected through a rigorous process where we reviewed over 100 fanfiction authors to select those we thought best suited to working with our Press on this specific anthology – and the results are out of this world!

Our Kickstarter has also done exceptionally – we’re only $300 US shy of our second-to-last stretch goal, with under 24 hours to go! So, check out our Kickstarter, read about the book and our merch, read teasers and biographies of our authors, and more!

Backing this Kickstarter is the only guaranteed way to get Add Magic to Taste in print! We will be printing to demand, and more copies will never be made!

LEARN MORE NOW!

Don’t miss this chance!

(also, psst…did you know? If you support our Patreon you can get Patron-exclusive extras when you support the Kickstarter too…)

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“Add Magic to Taste” Kickstarter: 48 hours Left!

We’re in the home-stretch of the campaign for Add Magic to Taste! There are just over 48 hours until we’re done. If you’ve been on the fence about getting it – this is essentially your only chance to get this wonderful anthology in print! The e-book will be on our website, but we won’t be ordering many print copies above demand – we may have a few extra for an extras sale or that we can offer as add-ons for future campaigns, but once those are sold? There’ll never be more copies in print. So, if you want a copy? Back it now!

For those who have backed and want to know what our latest news is – and for those who haven’t yet backed and want to know what they can get – here’s some updates on our progress toward our stretch goals!

First – our Backers unlocked an option for a third piece of art, and we’ve commissioned @joshua-beeking to do it! He sent a preliminary sketch yesterday and, well – it’s pretty darn amazing.

This image will be included as an inset in all e-books and print books, and backers at levels 3, 4, and 5 will get it as an art print!

Second – our most recent addition to the campaign? A magnet of our mage Dux! We asked our Patreon supporters on Discord which of our Dux they’d like, and this was their choice…

All backers at Levels 2, 3, 4, and 5, will get this adorable dux as a sticker AND as a magnet!

Third – thanks to the level of support the campaign has had, we’ll be able to pay all our authors 6 cents US per word they wrote – up to $300 per author. If we can raise another $1,250 over where we’re at as I write this, authors will get another raise, to 7 cents US per word, and if we can reach $25,000 by the time the campaign ends on Saturday (11 AM Eastern!), all our authors will get paid 8 cents US per word. This has always been our ultimate goal, and we can’t reach it without your help – so, please, please, signal boost this post and help us spread the word about this project – and help us get this amazing book into the hands of as many readers as possible, cause we’re sure ya’ll are gonna love it!

Learn more on Kickstarter right now!

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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!