"She Wears the Midnight Crown" and "He Bears the Cape of Stars:" Two Queer Short Story Anthologies
Project by Duck Prints Press LLC
"She Wears the Midnight Crown" and "He Bears the Cape of Stars" include 18 wlw and 18 mlm stories respectively - 36 stories total! - featuring magic and mystery, queer characters and happy endings, with a delightful variety of tales that push the boundaries of what a masquerade can be.
Mission StatementDuck Prints Press is a small book press owned and operated by queer and genderqueer creators. Everyone involved with the Press got their start creating fanworks and are transitioning to paid publishing work. Our mission is to promote LGBTQIA+ creators making works featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.
About The Project
Welcome to Duck Prints Press's newest project: two anthologies, entitled She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars, that explore wlw and mlm relationships developing, growing, and changing while the characters attend or participate in masquerades!
Our 36 contributors have stretched their imaginations to present innovative stories exploring what a masquerade can be…and, of course, tell rich, engaging tales of wonderful queer folk finding love, companionship, acceptance, the queer platonic relationship of their dreams, or the found family they deserve. The collected works feature characters in all the colors of the Pride rainbow, queer and genderqueer, and these diverse individuals inhabit worlds ranging from science fiction settings where everyone must be masked to breathe, to fantasies where no one wears a literal mask but everyone shows the world a false guise, to iterations of the real world where some people lean into deception.
She Wears the Midnight Crown:
Rebekah D. Cook
N. C. Farrell
B. T. Fish
D. A. Hernández
Lucy K. R.
Lex T. Lindsay
Alec J. Marsh
S. Z. Meriläinen
Bunny K. Solomon
He Bears the Cape of Stars:
Era J. M. Couts
A. L. Heard
Stephen G. Krueger
J. S. Lenore
M. K. Mads
J. D. Rivers
Tevye J. Schmidt
K. B. Vimes
You can read our contributors' biographies now by going here! And check the Updates tab throughout the campaign to learn more about the contributors, read teasers for their stories, get links to their social media accounts, and more!
Visit The Team tab to learn more about Duck Prints Press.
- e-books of She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars
- digest-size trade paperback book (5.5 in x 8.5 in/14 cm x 21.5 cm) of She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars (Printed by Mixam)
- 8 in x 10 in (20.5 cm x 25.5 cm) art prints of the cover art for She Wears the Midnight Crown and He Bears the Cape of Stars, with art by Friendly Pigeon. (Printed by PrintKeg)
- two different die-cut Dux stickers (3 in x 2.75 in/7.5 cm x 7 cm)—an mlm and a wlw version. Created by Alessa Riel. (Printed by Sticker Ninja)
- two different high-gloss, tasseled, two-sided 2 in x 7.25 in (5 cm x 18.5 cm) bookmarks, both with art by Pippin Peacock on the front and the signatures of our authors on the back. (Printed by UPrinting)
- two interlocking enamel pins, each approximately 2 in x 1 in (5 cm x 2.5 cm), with art by Miss Aceriee. (Cast by Alchemy)
- a 4 in circular (10.25 cm) woven, iron-on patch featuring art by Reship KMN. (Embroidered by Alchemy)
- a tote bag (21 in x 14.5 in x 7 in/53 cm x 37 cm x 18 cm) with our logo stamped on the side. (Customized by AnyPromo).
- a blue candle, approximately 2 in (5 cm) tall and 2 in (5 cm) circular at the base, scented Midnight Waters ("it smells like sitting by a lake in a pine forest") custom-made by contributor Alec J. Marsh, owner of Speculative Wicktion.
- a charm bracelet featuring seven charms (a book, a rainbow, a crown, a mask, a moon, a sun, and a star), hand-assembled by contributor and lead editor Nina Waters using decorative elements purchased from multiple Etsy sellers.
- a box of six chocolates, selected based on your preferences, from Uncle Sam’s Candy.
- a large rubber ducky (this one)
- a 2 in (5 cm) globe bath bomb (one selected from this collection based on your preference)
- a lace rainbow mask (purchased from E-Bay)
If you'd like to purchase add-ons, back our campaign! You'll receive a discount code for use in our Webshop.
$15,500: Authors earn 2 cents US per word (maximum: $120 per story)
$17,500: we commission two additional art pieces (artist to be determined) to contribute back cover art for each anthology. Backers at Level 4 or higher receive additional art prints (those who purchase wlw or mlm only get one additional print; people who purchase both books get both additional prints).
$20,500: Authors earn 3 cents US per word (maximum: $180 per story)
$23,500: Authors earn 4 cents US per word (maximum: $240 per story)
$26,000: we produce two additional pins featuring the wonderful artwork of Miss Aceriee. Backers at Level 4 or higher receive additional enamel pins (those who purchase wlw or mlm only get one additional pin; people who purchase both books get both additional pins).
$29,000: Authors earn 5 cents US per word (maximum: $300 per story)
$32,000: Authors earn 6 cents US per word (maximum: $360 per story)
$34,500: additional merchandise item to be determined (we’re considering postcards, key chains, a bonus sticker or two...we'll ask your input, if we reach this point!). We will also upgrade the wlw and mlm bookmarks to have gold gilding for the jewelry decorative elements!
$37,500: Authors earn 7 cents US per word (maximum: $420 per story)
$40,500: Authors earn 8 cents US per word (maximum: $480 per story)
The following projections are based on documentation provided by Seed & Spark, our vendors, USPS, and our past experience. They represent a best case scenario.
Late July: campaign ends. Information necessary for fulfillment collected from backers. Funds collected, processed, and forwarded to us. We order the enamel pins, as they take the longest to produce. Finalize edits for all stories and assemble the manuscript.
August: funds clear. We place all other orders. Authors are paid in full for whatever stretch goals the campaign meets. Merchandise and print books arrive.
September: Once everything has arrived, we repackage and ship to our backers! E-books are sent to backers as soon as all physical rewards have been sent.
September - October: Your purchase reaches you and the campaign is concluded!
Our worst-case scenario project has rewards sent by next winter at the latest. We will not ship out any merchandise, print books, or other rewards that do not meet our quality standards, so sometimes delays can't be avoided.
Want to help promote this campaign?
We encourage you to follow our social media accounts so you can reblog, retweet, share, and otherwise spread our social media posts—some are linked at the top of this campaign, and you can find the rest here.
Alternatively, make your own post!
Sample text: Have you heard about the latest project from Duck Prints Press? 36 authors have written 18 wlw stories and 18 mlm stories about masquerades—masked balls, hidden societies, you name it, this collection has a range of amazing stories you won't want to miss! tinyurl.com/mr2rjb9u
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
Duck Prints Press, LLC, is a small, independent publisher based in New York. Our founding vision is to help people who create fanworks—especially fanfiction authors and fanart artists—navigate the complex process of bringing their original works from first draft to print, culminating in publishing their work under our imprint. We are particularly dedicated to working with queer creators and publishing works featuring characters from across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. You can read more about us here.
Duck Prints Press LLC is owned by Claire Houck, pen name Nina Waters. The editors for these anthologies are Claire Houck, Lacey Hays, A. Reilly, A. L. Heard, and Adrian Harley. We’ve also retained professional services for areas in which we lack expertise.
Our Past Crowdfunding Campaigns:
Claire Houck (she/they/he), pen name Nina Waters, fandom name unforth, is the founder and sole proprietor of Duck Prints Press LLC. She is genderfluid, queer, 39 years old, white, Jewish/atheist/Unitarian Universalist, married, and a mother of two. Claire has been writing since the young age of seven, when she penned (well, two-finger typed and printed dot-matrix) the timeless classic “the story of my littl ponies and the glob.” Since then, her spelling, grammar, and prose have improved immensely. She has written almost four hundred short stories, a number of novellas, and 16 novels, some original, some fanfiction, including A Glimmer of Hope, which was successfully Kickstarted and self-published in fall, 2016. She’s also had three short stories published; the two anthologies she's previous edited, Add Magic to Taste and And Seek (Not) to Alter Me, both successfully Kickstarted. Before she became a full-time writer, Claire had a career as a self-employed professional grant writer and program evaluator, providing consultation services for the New York City Department of Education and other non-profit education organizations. She wrote grants that won her clients more than $25 million and successfully juggled as many as 12 projects at a time. After she left that position, she founded and ran an in-home bakery for a year, but shut the business down when she and her wife started trying to have children. Her dream has always been to create and help others create, and Duck Prints Press is the culmination of that dream!
Ashley, pen name A. L. Heard, fandom name jhoom, is a 35 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.
Alessa Riel has been reading and writing fanfic and creating fanart for more than twenty years in various fandoms. She lived through the great LJ-strikeout, witnessed the founding of AO3, and survived the Tumblr wars, and therefore regards herself as an internet veteran/grandma. She’s asexual and aromantic, as well as autochorrissexual. Alessa has a degree in media science and has worked as a graphic designer, among other things. She created the Duck Prints Press logo and mascot and supports the Press by creating graphics, covers, and teasers. Alessa hails from Germany and is happy to offer help with the language and culture where needed. She loves brainstorming and coming up with names, titles, and plot ideas.
Foop, pen name P. J. Claremore, fandom name formidablepassion, has been writing since a young age. Upon discovering fandoms and fanfic later in life, Foop instantly felt pulled to the community and the support found therein. Foop created a fandom writing challenge in 2017 that is still going strong. Foop is always happy to alpha read for both fan and original fic. When not writing, Foop enjoys spending time with the spouse and their horde of spawnlings, gardening, and crafting in one way or another. Foop is often found feeding and caring for mostly stray animals, watching the birds, and making plans to open a non-profit LGBT+ youth-support community and resource center.
Pallas Perilous (she/they) is an illustrator, writer, and designer who has been creating work inside, outside, and adjacent to fandom for twenty years. In her professional life, she primarily creates graphic novels for young adults through traditional publishers, but has also self-published half a dozen books, provided visual communications consulting for fancy tech companies, and done a lot of public speaking. She is active in several programs focused on mentorship and advocacy for emerging creators, especially those from fandom and marginalized communities.
When Lacey Hays isn’t dreaming of the stars or magical worlds, she can be found stomping around in the wild areas of Northern Oregon with her wife and son, or sipping on a coffee with her trusty notebook and fountain pens. Her writing journey began in the Star Trek: Voyager fandom and has continued for over two decades. At the moment, she’s plugging away at her first novel—a world that’s taken twenty years to come to life. Lacey is eager to continue sharing diverse stories set in dark, but hopeful, worlds.
Adaille 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.
Miss Aceriee is our art advisor, merch reviewer, and artist mentor. Biography: 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.
Willa Blythe helps with our social media presence, event running, marketing, and communication. Willa made her storytelling debut at age 4 with indie smash “Sam the Stinky Skunk” and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Her first audience—her grandparents—shared a love of art and craft with her that remains central to Willa’s writing practice over thirty years later. Today, she lives in New York with her family and primarily writes queer romance and speculative fiction.
Adrian Harley works with us as a copy editor. Adrian is an almost-lifelong North Carolinian and a fantasy fiction aficionado who didn’t start delving deep into fandom until adulthood. They are an editor of research by day and an aspiring novelist, also by day. They go to bed early. In addition to their published stories with Duck Prints Press, they have short stories forthcoming in OFIC Magazine. They live with their husband and a perfectly reasonable number of cats.
Hermit, whose name is Christine, does most of our manuscript text formatting and typesetting. Christine is a Canadian-based writer, fandom enthusiast, and cooking aficionado. When she’s not working, she offers custom typesetting for various projects because fonts are pretty and all the amazing stories that get created deserve to be made beautiful. She’s handled the typesetting of the previous DDP anthology as well as the Press-related title Commit to the Kick by Tris Lawrence.
Sunny Powell advises and helps the Press with graphic design. Biography: 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.