Transcript: Track 10: Bakery AU

Episode 10 posted January 22, 2021
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.

Transcript by Kaede (thank you!)

Jump to:

[Intro music]

EllenofOz: Hi everyone, welcome to the 10th episode of the Mixtape Book Club Podcast. My name is Ellen.

MalMuses: And my name is Mal.

EllenofOz: Each week we take a look at a different trope or subgenre in the huge collection of Destiel fanfiction. And this week we are going to be taking a look at a set of alternative universes that is much loved within the fandom. And that’s fics where at least one of Dean or Cas is a baker.

MalMuses: One of the fics we’re planning to discuss today will be Cupcakes and Kittens, and we’re very pleased to welcome the author herself, MandalaRose.

MandalaRose: Hello!

EllenofOz: Hello, welcome.

MalMuses: Can we, can we call you Manda, just so that we don’t have to say that out loud very often?

MandalaRose: Yes, please.

MalMuses: Thank you.

EllenofOz: The other two fics we’re going to discuss today are called I’ll Cross the Sky for You, which is by superhoney, and The Way to a Man’s Heart, which is by, and I really apologize if I’m pronouncing this wrongly, but it’s by LicieOIC. I hope that’s, like, close to the correct way.

But links to all of the fics we’re talking about today will be available in this episode’s post on and also included in our collection on AO3, which we’ll link in the post as well.

MalMuses: For our non-fanfic topic today, or our fanfic related topic, we are going to have a little discussion about comments on AO3: How to leave them, what kind of comments we leave, how to respond to comments, just, just everything about comments from three avid readers and writers for you.

EllenofOz: So, Fics where, where one or other of the guys is a baker, bakery AUs. It’s kind of like a subgenre of, like a subsection of the coffee shop AU kind of trope where like not, I guess not all coffee shops are bakeries, and likewise, that not all of the bakers work in coffee shops either, so, and I think there’s like quite a lot of Destiel fics that are tagged as, as a coffee shop AU, but not many of them are actually tagged as either baker!Dean or baker!Castiel.

So, I think this might be, I think there are other fics out there that aren’t tagged with the bakery tags at all as well, which makes it a little tricky to find them sometimes, but it’s one of those sort of genres where maybe the tags aren’t particularly consistent, but we’ve certainly found a few that we love. We all have favorites like, judging by the number of people on our social media this week when we announced that we were doing Bakery fics who, you know, cheered and said “oh I love it when they’re bakers.” So it’s a well loved trope, I think.

I’ll Cross the Sky for You [00:03:10]

MalMuses: The first story that we’re going to discuss today will be I’ll Cross the Sky for You by superhoney, which also has art by, I believe that it’s pronounced Aceriee. It was published for the Dean/Cas TropeFest in 2017. It’s 33,000 words, and it is Explicit. And the summary says: 

Castiel thinks it sounds ridiculous. A spaceship that’s also an Earth-style coffee shop? But upon his first visit to the family business, he quickly realizes that the owner, Dean Winchester, is incredibly handsome, the pastries are delicious, and the coffee is out of this world. One visit leads to another, and before long, Castiel is completely won over by both the coffee shop and its owner. It’s hard to maintain a relationship when you’re constantly flying across the vastness of space, but for the sake of both his heart and his stomach, Castiel swears he and Dean will make it work.

EllenofOz: Yes. Space gays! Yay!

MalMuses: Yes!

MandalaRose: We do love our Space Gays.

MalMuses: Ah, yes. I’m such a big fan of fics set in space. There are not enough of them. If there were, I would immediately demand that we do an episode just on Space Gays.

EllenofOz: Yes!

MalMuses: Maybe I need to write a few more.

EllenofOz: Surely there’s enough there to make a whole episode about Space Gays.

MalMuses: Yeah. We might have to look into that.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Put it on the list. Yeah. Okay.

EllenofOz: Not only is this a space story, it’s also a coffee shop story, which is just,

MalMuses: Yes. A space coffee shop. Amazing.

MandalaRose: No, it is a coffee ship story.

EllenofOz: Yes! [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: Yes.

MandalaRose: Which made me so happy. I have never met a pun I didn’t like.

MalMuses: [00:05:00] No, I love it. Just the concept of this one is so novel and fun. Like, it’s a simple enough concept, but it’s really, to use the space puns, it’s, it’s really out there. It’s great.

MandalaRose: And from the moment I read the title, I was sold on it because something about that title, I’ll Cross the Sky For You, just gave me such Firefly feels.

EllenofOz: Yes.

MalMuses: Yes, I started hearing the theme tune when I read that title. [ Laughs ] I was immediately like, yes, this one is for me. I’m going to like it.

EllenofOz: I mean, it’s almost Firefly… It’s almost a Firefly universe type thing because they do like, Castiel’s ship and crew are the ones sort of ferrying people to different planets or whatever and, you know, taking on jobs, I guess, similar to the way that, that happens in Firefly. So.

MandalaRose: Just maybe a slightly more legal,

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Yeah. Yeah.

MandalaRose: Although they do run across some unsavory people in their business. 

EllenofOz: They do. Well, I think that was one of the things I really loved about this is that because, Cas and his crew are, you know, taking on jobs and ferrying around, it kind of ended up with a bit of an episodic kind of feel to it because they, each, each job they took on, they introduced another member of the, the cast of characters from the show.

You know, and I thought they brought in, the author brought in a lot of well-loved characters just briefly into the story as they were taken. So, I could, this is only 30,000 words, I could have read, like, 200k of this. I loved the way that it, like the actual concept and the way that they brought in all the different characters for different jobs. And you know, it kept coming back to the, the coffee shop in between kind of thing. I thought that was brilliant. Loved it.

MandalaRose: I really could have too. I really… part of me wanted to see more detail with the, you know, I don’t want to give it away, the conflict and the resolution at the end of the story, I would have loved to have seen more of that.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MandalaRose: At the same time, that probably would have made it less of a bakery or coffee shop AU and more of just a space AU. 

MalMuses: Yeah, I think the length really served the kind of story that she was telling.

MandalaRose: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: I just really enjoyed it enough that I wanted a lot more.

EllenofOz: Yeah, that’s, yeah.

MandalaRose: Exactly.

EllenofOz: Yeah. Yeah, if it had been a lot longer, it might have been a bit drawn out, and there would have had to be more of a complex kind of conflict, I guess. But the way that it was done was, yeah, very more-ish, I would have liked more.

MalMuses: Yeah, exactly. And you know what, the good fics do leave you wanting a bit more, really, don’t they? So, no matter how long they are.

MandalaRose: Yep, they do. And like you said, the kind of story that she was telling, it really did help to focus on the bakery trope, and that was really kind of a core component of this story, and I loved that, and I loved that, you know, when you see bakery AUs and kind of the, I guess we’ll call it the bakery trope or the baker character trope, you sometimes see it in two different ways. It can either be part of the plot and it drives the plot, or it’s more a part of the characters and you know, what drives that character and illustrates them.

And I think it was the second one for the story because really, you know, the author uses that trope to illustrate Dean’s character, and, you know, he’s very much a character who uses baking to show his love for people, and we all know that Dean, that’s, you know, he’s much more an acts of service kind of guy, he’s gonna show you he loves you, he’s not gonna tell you that he loves you, and in this, he, you know, makes a big effort with all of his customers, but, you know, especially that one special customer to find just the right pastry, to invent just the right thing for him, and to let him know exactly how he feels without ever having to, you know, say those words.

MalMuses: Yeah, I loved the tension at the beginning where, and I don’t think this is a spoiler because it’s the very beginning of the fic, but where, you know, Dean is Dean, he’s this kind of slightly flirty, confident guy, to the point where Cas just … Doesn’t really think that it’s genuine. He just sort of assumes, well, you know, this is his business, he probably treats everyone like this, he just wants me to buy coffee and cake. And it took that little bit of time for Cas to realize that there was more to it than that. 

EllenofOz: Yep. It’s like a very short slow burn. It takes a while for him to get on board. 

MalMuses: Given the length of the fic, yeah, there was only so much scope for slow burn in there,

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: But we still got it in there. Yeah. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: But once he’s on board, he’s like all on board. He’s, Cas in this one as a little bit of an awkward bean, I feel like at the beginning, but yeah, once he knows that, that Dean really means it, he’s like, right, I know what I want, I’m going to get it.

MandalaRose: [00:10:00] Yeah, and that’s kind of a unique thing, you know. Usually we see coffee shop AUs and bakery AUs as meet cutes, and this was more of a meet ugly, and I don’t know if I’ve ever really seen that kind of a dynamic at the beginning of a coffee shop or bakery fic. I’m sure it has to be out there, but it’s not very common, certainly.

MalMuses: Yeah. Well, I think the final thing that I’d like to say about this fic in general is just the way that it’s, it’s written, superhoney in general is an author that I’m very fond of. I read, you know, read pretty much everything that they share. So as soon as, as soon as I saw the title and that it was by her, I knew this one was going to be a winner for me. But I just really click with the writing style as well, because she manages to get that very descriptive, lyrical way of writing without lingering so much on things that you kind of get bored and skip a bit, you know? And I really appreciate that, I appreciate that about her writing style, it’s, it’s kind of lyrical but clean. And I’m very fond of it, so definitely worth reading just for the quality of the writing itself, even if this isn’t necessarily maybe one of your favorite tropes. Definitely give this one a go, I think.

EllenofOz: Yes.

MandalaRose: Absolutely. I’m a big fan of superhoney. 

MalMuses: Mm-hmm. 

EllenofOz: She tends to write a lot of historical stuff, right?

MalMuses: Yeah, she writes really good historical stuff, so.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: We’re turning into the superhoney fan club. We love you! [laughs]

EllenofOz: Yay!

MandalaRose: And she actually has another bakery AU too.

MalMuses: Oh, really?

MandalaRose: With vampires. Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: Yes.

MandalaRose: So another, another bakery AU with a not commonly seen twist to that.

MalMuses: Yes.

EllenofOz: Well, before we go on, I know that like, this one as well, but also all three of these fics, being bakery AUs, have some really delicious food in them. [Laughs]

MalMuses: They make me hungry!

EllenofOz: And you know, pastries and hot, you know, drinks and all that kind of thing. Did you, I don’t know if this one’s got any actual recipes in it, but like, I know I’ve been inspired to kind of go and bake some stuff after reading all this stuff, how about you guys?

MalMuses: This story made me drink hot chocolate, actually.

MandalaRose: Ooh. I read both of the other fics that we’re discussing today right around Christmas. So you know, I had time off of work, and so I’m like, oh, let’s read bakery AUs getting ready for this. And so I read several of them in a week’s time, and it was also Christmas, and I baked so many Christmas cookies. I don’t think I’ve ever baked that much in my entire life. 

MalMuses: Yeah, the week that I read them all, I made … banana bread using a recipe that we will discuss later. [Laughs] I, I made like cherry turnovers, which, they were so good. And I also just drank a lot of hot chocolate and coffee and sat around reading while nibbling. But you know, sometimes you have to expand the experience beyond what’s on the page. Sometimes you just need to lean into it and accept it.

MandalaRose: It’s a multi sensory experience.

MalMuses: Exactly. How anyone can read these stories without being hungry is beyond me. They have skills that I do not have.

EllenofOz: Yes. Shall we go on?

MalMuses: Yeah.

MandalaRose: Sure.

The Way to a Man’s Heart [00:13:25]

EllenofOz: Okay, so the next story we’re going to talk about is The Way to A Man’s Heart, which is by LicieOIC. I assume that’s how you pronounce it again. This one was published just in November 2020, so around the time of the, the finale of Supernatural itself. It’s 50,000 words long and it’s Explicit as well. The summary is quite short and sweet. It just says:

In a fictional version of Lebanon, Kansas, Dean owns the Pie Hole, which he runs with his brother Sam. Castiel works at a rival bakery, Your Daily Bread. They meet anonymously over the internet. Sparks fly.

So basically this, this is an adaptation of the movie You’ve Got Mail, which is also an adaptation of older work, older stories, sort of going back in a chain of the long tradition of you know, basically fanfiction, I guess, retelling of older stories. But this is like … like Dean and Cas are exchanging messages or emails through a forum, an online forum, and then afterwards in emails. And then they meet in real life as well, so. It is a two person love triangle, and Licie is also a really amazing artist, so there’s some beautiful artwork in this story too. [00:15:00] So definitely, even just to have a look at the title banner, and you’ll be like, hooked on trying to read to find the rest of the art. This is really beautiful.

MandalaRose: And there was no way I was not reading this after seeing that banner.

EllenofOz: Yes. Like the special kind of talented people who are able to write beautifully and create amazing art.

MalMuses: I know. All that talent, I mean, share some around, people. I know.

EllenofOz: This is an interesting one, a little different to the earlier one, where Dean and Cas are both bakers. But Dean makes, specializes in pie and Cas works, he works for his family business I guess with Chuck and his siblings making bread and cake. So that’s sort of how they meet, exchanging tips about how to bake the other thing, which I thought was an interesting concept.

MandalaRose: Yeah, I liked that, you know, I mentioned before that, you know, in bakery AUs you sometimes either have baking being more of a character driven thing, and sometimes it’s more, it drives the plot, and this is definitely, baking is really central to the theme and the plot of this. Like, that’s kind of what the whole fic is about, is them baking, and yeah, in their respective bakeries, and then you know, getting to know one another, like you said, through trying to give one another baking tips and eventually trying to learn to bake the other’s specialty, so to speak. And yeah, I really liked that.

EllenofOz: I liked, I liked Cas’s attempts at baking the pie with the, he tried, he tries to bake this pie like so many times and it’s got some … I don’t know if it’s like chili on top of it or something, there’s some weird, like, spicy thing involved that I thought sounded super interesting.

MalMuses: Like bonnet peppers, I think, that’s what it was. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Yeah, I don’t know.

MalMuses: So, that would have been like, super spicy, but then I guess balanced out with other things in … the, the pie. And I just, it made me really want to try it. I’m that person that if something sounds weird, I immediately want to just try it.

EllenofOz: Yeah, I’d love to try it.

MalMuses: So, I, I wanted to try that one. Yeah. And there was one he made later on with mangoes, I think. I wanted to try that one as well.

MandalaRose: That was the one I wanted. I want the mango one. Yeah.

EllenofOz: There’s some beautiful like, I don’t think the actual recipes themselves are in this fic at all, but the way that she describes the making of each of these different things is just, ah, my mouth was watering the whole way through this one, it sounded so delicious.

MalMuses: And all of Dean’s baked goods in this had really kind of interesting expressive names, which just made them seem very much more Dean to me.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: Like even on the banner, you can see that he has Cheap Date Drunken Pecan Pies and Falling in Love Chocolate Pies, and obviously Apple of My Eye Pies, things like that. And it was, it was very Dean. So I think it very much, even though, as we said, the baking is very plot integral here, it was also done in such a way that you could tell a lot about each of their characters from the way that they bake.

EllenofOz: Yep.

MandalaRose: Yeah, Cas starts out by baking breads, you know, and breads are very practical. And, but he kind of, you know, he has a desire to be more creative in his baking and to branch out from that, and he isn’t able to do that working with his family business. So I thought that was, you know, this idea of Free Will applied to a bakery.

EllenofOz: Yeah, there’s a lot of metaphor in this, isn’t there?

MalMuses: Yeah, like he has to rebel a little bit and go beyond his family.

MandalaRose: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: And of course Dean is the one to lead him astray with cheesecake pie. So definitely some, some canon echoes there. [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Not enough cheesecake in the actual canon. [ Laughs ]

MalMuses: But that’s the age old question, like, would Dean consider cheesecake to be pie? Or cake.

MandalaRose: Ooh!

EllenofOz: Oh my god.

MalMuses: [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: It’s like some kind of existential crisis.

MandalaRose: Now I want to know, someone, someone ask that at a con, please, when those restart.

MalMuses: Is cheesecake a pie or cake?

MandalaRose: Question for Jensen.

EllenofOz: Dean likes a bit of both, we know that.

MalMuses: I’ve heard people call it pie so many times, I’m like, but it says cake in the title. I’m distressed. [ Laughs ]

MandalaRose: I don’t care what you call it, it’s delicious and I’m going to eat it.

EllenofOz: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Label it what you will.

MalMuses: He doesn’t care for labels. He just wants it in his mouth.

All: [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Write that one down.

MandalaRose: That’s our bisexual pie baking hunter. Yes.

MalMuses:  Oh, okay. So yes, really enjoyed this bakery AU as well, especially with the two person love triangle twist, because I am a slut for two person love triangles in every possible way. So this was nice to scratch that itch, definitely give this one a try if you are into bakery AUs or two person love triangles.

EllenofOz: [00:20:00] Yeah, I mean this one’s a really interesting two person love triangle because it’s entirely from Dean’s point of view, which means that we don’t, in a, in a love triangle situation, we might hear both sides of the story, so we know, we, we might not have known how Cas was feeling about the whole thing, but as it is, it’s all from Dean, so we never really know whether Cas knows that you know, Dean is the pie man, or in, in, in two person love triangles, there’s like a, a bit of a, a range of ways you can do it, like you can either have them both finding out early on what’s going on, or one of, sorry, one of them finding out early on what’s going on, or you can have them both just totally oblivious until they both find out at the same time, like in Four Letter Word for Intercourse, for example, where it all just builds up until all of a sudden they both find out what’s going on and it’s like amazing.

But in this one, like Dean knows very early on who, that Cas is AngelCakes and, and for various reasons chooses not to tell him at the time. So that does make for an interesting dynamic with… I, I read it kind of feeling like I wanted, Cas to find out, like, really desperately, by the time he actually did find out. And because of the way that it is based on, You’ve Got Mail or whatever, that when he does find out, there’s no sort of big drama about it. He just goes, oh, I wanted it to be you after all, whatever. So, I don’t know, did that change the, the way that you saw this story, guys, or? What do you think?

MalMuses: I, I wanted to yell at Dean a lot.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: I wanted to yell at him a lot. I was like, no, you will not manipulate that man.

MandalaRose: I did yell at him at one point. I even yelled at him in my, my comment to the author that I yelled something. Well, he was flirting as Dean with Cas and I was like, Dean, you keep it in your pants, and you leave that man alone until you’re ready to come clean. So yeah, I did get a little frustrated with him as we got closer to the end, and it was really, you know, Dean was getting to his wits end and couldn’t really keep up the charade much longer.

But it also, you know, it did give a lot of suspense throughout the story, like I went back and looked at some of my comments throughout, and it was a lot of, you know, me just incoherently shouting like, “Oh my god, does Cas know? He knows, right? He has to know!” And, you know, for many, many chapters and trying to, you know, get to that point where the big reveal happens. But I do think that, you know, Cas did have a little time to… he gave himself a little time to warm up. It wasn’t just he found out and then immediately confronted Dean, so it would have been interesting, I think, to see his point of view during that, but only having Dean’s point of view, yeah, we’re kind of guessing at what Cas was thinking.

EllenofOz: Yep.

MalMuses: I would have liked to, how he kind of saw the sudden change in his life. Cas went from this quiet life with his bread and his bakery to suddenly having effectively, two men throwing themselves at him. [Laughs] So I’m just wondering, you know, what that was like for Cas all of a sudden.

MandalaRose: “This has never happened to me before!” [laughs]

MalMuses: I couldn’t keep it under wraps enough to just stick to one of his personas, so.

EllenofOz: He must have known. I think you’re right, he must have known early, like, surely, like, come on.

MandalaRose: Yeah, I think he had suspicions? And then there was a point where it was made very clear that there were some very clear hints dropped to where you knew that he knew.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MandalaRose: But I think even before that, he had, obviously in my comments, I shouted that again and again and again. But he had to have had some suspicions. He had to have been going mmm … maybe …

MalMuses: A little too much coincidence here. Yeah, he had to have had an inkling, I think.

MandalaRose: Cas can be an oblivious bean at times, so I don’t know.

Cupcakes and Kittens [00:24:05]

EllenofOz: Well, speaking of two person love triangles, we have to move on to the third fic in this episode. So, Cupcakes and Kittens is by MandalaRose. And it has some really gorgeous artwork in it that is by our friend LadyRandomBox. It was,

MalMuses: Yay!

EllenofOz: Yay! It was serially published in, during 2020 and 74,000 words and it’s Explicit as well. And Manda, would you be willing to read the summary for us?

MandalaRose: Absolutely. 

Dean Winchester is not a cat guy. But one soft-hearted Sasquatch brother and a mad dash to the pet store later, Dean somehow finds himself the sole caregiver for an abandoned baby kitten. It’s a good thing that quirky pet store girl gave him the Twitter handle for her cat rescue buddy, CJ. Dean doesn’t know about the kitten, but he sure as hell could use some rescuing right about now.

[00:25:00] Castiel Novak is not a baker, but one interfering best friend and some dismal Yelp reviews for his brother’s coffee shop later, Castiel somehow finds himself standing in front of a cooktop in his very first baking class. His non-existent baking aspirations literally going up in smoke around him. It’s a good thing his gorgeous, green eyed classmate is there to rescue him.

EllenofOz: Yay!

MalMuses: Well, I think we have to talk about Cupcake first, right?

EllenofOz: Yes! Ok.

MalMuses: Cupcake is definitely the driving force for this whole story. Cupcake the Kitten.

EllenofOz: Like, how, like, not only is this a bakery fic that everyone loves, but it also has kittens, which everyone loves too. I love a kitten story.

MandalaRose: It does. So this story kind of came about, this was actually a fic that I wrote for the FicFacer$ auction last year.

EllenofOz: Oh, yeah.

MandalaRose: And this was … kind of derived through conversations with my winning bidder, the awesome Amanda Canzo, who was just so lovely to work with and is now a really good friend. And problem was, she bid on me and was wonderful, and then I’m like, okay, so, you know, what’s your prompt? And it was kind of, oh yeah, I need one of those. So we talked about, you know, I said, what do you like and, you know, she’s really into baking and really likes bakery AUs, especially baker!Dean. And she also likes cats. And I actually had a little drabble, you know, one of those little plot bunnies that you sit down and all of a sudden you pour out 5,000 words and it’s going great until the story goes absolutely nowhere, and you have no idea what happens next, and I had one of those sitting in my drafts with an abandoned kitten that was actually inspired by an abandoned kitten that I found one day when I came home from work in my driveway. And I was very much Dean in that instance, where I was like, there has to be someone out there who is better prepared to take care of this tiny little defenseless kitten, and I know who it is, it is anyone but me.

So my, my scramble and my husband’s scramble at the pet store was kind of the inspiration for the beginning of this story. And then, with a little help from her, I kind of just grew from there. And that is the origin story of Cupcake the Kitten.

EllenofOz: Ooh. That’s so good.

MalMuses: 2020 was the year of … running around with abandoned kittens, because you had one, I had one, Dean had one. There was a lot going on. So, we should say Sam is the instigator of the kitten in this case, and he kind of slightly dumps it on Dean. [Laughs] 

MandalaRose: He does, just foists it right off. [Laughs] That was one thing I loved writing about Sam in this story. Sam is just, he’s just a teenage kid, he’s an ordinary kid, you know, he’s thinking about girls and, you know, going to study groups. And I just, I really had a desire to write Sam just being a happy, normal teenage kid doing happy, normal teenage kid stuff. Like, you know, spontaneously taking in a kitten and then just trusting that your big brother is gonna take care of it for you as you go off and hang out with your friends.

MalMuses: Because, in most AUs, and obviously canon, Sam is very used to Dean dealing with things and taking care of things, basically. And I think that was a really good extension of that. Also on this topic, one of my favorite tiny details in this fic that I absolutely loved was that Dean’s contact in his phone for Sam is Samantha The Teenage Bitch. [ Laughs ] And every time I scrolled past the phone screenshots, which there are, you know, several throughout the, the story for various things, every time that would give me a little chuckle. Because it’s just so something that Dean would do.

EllenofOz: So, why, how did you actually come up with like, the idea of putting images with the text sort of in there? Like, it’s a really effective kind of way of using that. Like, a lot of people struggle with the formatting of including text messages in their text, but like, what did you actually use to put those text kind of bubble chat things in there?

MandalaRose: I used, I just Googled text message generators and Twitter message generators and then kept playing with ones until I found ones that kind of looked like I wanted and that were easy enough to use.

EllenofOz: Okay, so it just generates the image.

MandalaRose: I’ll have to find the links for those, yeah, I’ll have to find the links for those and I can give those to you. You can actually put them in the blog if you wanted to, so if other people want to put themselves through the hell of creating those, they can. [ Laughs ] [00:30:00] You know, I don’t know why I did it this way. I, you know, I’ve written other stories where they’ve texted, and I’ve done text messaging different ways and I really … I wanted to distinguish the text messages from the Twitter messages, and I thought that since, you know, those Twitter messages between Dean and Cas, especially, were going to be so central to that plotline, and I wanted to really kind of keep that relationship separate from the relationship developing between Dean and Cas in person, that the visuals would be a good way to help with that.

So, they were a lot of fun. I feel like they added to the story, I hope they added to the story, ‘cause they were actually quite time consuming to do. They were,

MalMuses: The formatting, the formatting must’ve been.

MandalaRose: It was a little bit of a nightmare, it’s, you know, it was, and having to size them too, because, you know, I can’t just, I couldn’t just use code to make them the size of the screen like I normally would an image because you don’t want this giant text message taking up your entire screen if you’re on a computer so I had to size each one individually. So it was, it was quite a bit of, of work. I mean, I loved it, and I’m glad I did it. I don’t know that you’ll be seeing a lot of those from me in the future.

MalMuses: Well, I don’t know if if anybody would be interested in this, but I do think that actually one of AO3’s most recent updates would probably help with that with the image sizing. They’ve actually changed the way that they do that. Where I think images are going to size differently on different screens now. I haven’t played with it yet, so I can’t kind of fully say how things are gonna look. The next time I post a chapter or something, I will, I will play around with it. But yeah, they did recently.

MandalaRose: It does work?

MalMuses: Maybe. I mean, I noticed something in the update notes, because I am that sad nerd that reads the AO3 update notes. But yeah, I did notice something in there that they’ve changed the way that image sizing is working, so. 

MandalaRose: Well, you know what? I was excited about that, but I was also annoyed because I just learned how to do that myself. [ Laughs ] Like, just recently, with the last couple of fics that I posted, learned how to make my banner size down to the screen for smaller screens. And so now that I know how to do it, of course, they’ve made it automatic. And I actually, I had to look up a link for one of my older fics where I did not know how to do that recently, and it is nice and pretty and small now on my smartphone. So it, it works. You don’t have to worry about sizing your images anymore. You can just pop them in.

EllenofOz: Don’t have to use the work skins anymore.

MalMuses: Yay for AO3 updates.

MandalaRose: Yes.

EllenofOz: Yes. Well, it was a very simple thing that they needed to change. I mean, the actual CSS for doing that was only a few lines. So, I guess to do it on every fic just makes sense.

MalMuses: Yeah. RIP to the people with lots of images in their fics who have done that manually for the past however many years. [ Laughs ] Going forward, that will be a nice feature.

EllenofOz: So speaking of formatting, in a, in a random tangent, your, I noticed that your chapter titles for this fic are spelling out a recipe. Is that correct?

MandalaRose: They are, yes.

EllenofOz: Ah, good.

MalMuses: Which I made the week that I re-read it.

EllenofOz: Oh, is that the banana bread?

MandalaRose: Yep, that’s the banana bread.

EllenofOz: Ah!

MalMuses: So when the fic was actually posting week by week, I was kind of trying to work out as I was going along, because obviously when you just have a couple of lines of a recipe, it could be anything. But as the weeks were going on, I was like, hmm. And I remembered something in my head about just Manda talking generally about making a lot of banana bread. [ Laughs ] So I was like, this has to be it. This has to be the banana bread recipe. So by the end, by the end, I just kind of tried it and I was like, yes. It is a banana bread. I don’t know what it would have turned out like otherwise, but you know.

MandalaRose: It is, and I didn’t tell anyone what the recipe was for until the very last chapter, when I posted the rest of it so they could actually make it.

EllenofOz: What a good idea.

MalMuses: It’s delicious though.

MandalaRose: Just one more way to … yeah, it’s a good banana bread, right?

MalMuses: Yeah. I mean, all banana bread is good.

MandalaRose: It’s true.

MalMuses: Like, just put that out there. But, there are definitely some better recipes. And this is a really good one.

MandalaRose: Well, I made several different recipes before I stumbled on this one. So, there was a lot of comparing and contrasting. It was a whole experience. And that’s, that’s one of the funny things about writing this, this story was that you know, I seem to have given people the impression that I actually know how to bake. And even that I might be, you know, good at it. And neither of those things is actually true. So, sorry if I’ve ruined the illusion for anyone, but, [ Laughs ] I get tagged in a lot of baking stuff now, which I love. Don’t stop doing that, I love that. [00:35:00] But just, just don’t be disappointed to learn that I can’t actually bake. So there’s a reason that Dean was an amateur baker in this. And that is so that any errors or mistakes that I made along the way, I could just blame on Dean not knowing what he was doing, instead of it really being me not knowing what I was doing.

EllenofOz: [Laughs] That’s fair enough.

MalMuses: No, I think you did good though. You did good with this one. Like, the baking was very convincing, I think. There was enough detail that it was a very convincing bakery without it being kind of overwhelming. Another story that made me incredibly hungry.

MandalaRose: Fun, delicious research.

EllenofOz: And you’ve included a lot of recipes, like, links to recipes in your notes as well, I noticed, so, yes.

MandalaRose: I feel like I deserve, you know, I should be doing promos for Sally’s Baking Addiction because I used that website so much and I think I’ve referenced it several times in those author’s notes.

EllenofOz: Yeah. They do have a lot of great stuff there.

MalMuses: Hashtag [ unclear ]

MandalaRose: She’s an unofficial sponsor of Cupcakes and Kittens.

EllenofOz: Well, I hope this, people who’ve read this fic now will have been inspired to do some baking.

MalMuses: Yes, start with the banana bread.

MandalaRose: I hope so. They were inspired to throw lots of baked goods at me. I do know that.

EllenofOz: That’s a good start.

MalMuses: There’s always that week when you’re posting a work in progress kind of serial posted fic, there’s always that week where you have to duck and see what particular objects the readers are going to, gonna throw at you that week.

MandalaRose: I think it was like a month where I was doing a lot –

MalMuses: Baked goods aren’t too bad though.

MandalaRose: – of hypothetical ducking.

MalMuses: Yeah, baked goods are a nice one, so.

EllenofOz: I’d be quite happy if someone would throw a cake at me, that’d be fine.[laughs]

MandalaRose: Well, no, well, someone, the person who liked to throw cupcakes at me specified it was going to be the store bought cupcakes with the gel blue icing that is impossible to get out of things. [laughs]

MalMuses: Oh no.

MandalaRose: Someone else followed that up with glitter, like, yeah, I was a big mess for a while.

MalMuses: I made the mistake of using that blue icing for my child’s first birthday smash cake.

MandalaRose: Ooh, oh no. 

MalMuses: Bad move. I had a Smurf baby. [ Laughs ] I would, I would like shower him off and then the next day I was sending a, yeah, I was sending a picture to my mom and she was like, he looks kind of blue. I’m like, well, that would be because he is. I promise I’ve washed him several times. Okay. Yeah, obviously we can cut that tangent out if you want. That’s just a random tangent about the blue icing, but that stuff is lethal. So,

EllenofOz: No, I like tangents. It’s good.

MalMuses: Okay.

EllenofOz: All right. I’ve got all these questions for you from other people because I asked on our… so I’ll just, I’m going to segue into this now randomly, but because yes, it’s come up, but in, in the Profound Bond Discord server, if you’re a member of the server you probably already know about this, but we have a channel in there now, just called Mixetape Book Club Channel.

Thank you so much to the, all of the mods from Profound Bond for giving us our own channel to talk about episodes of our podcast. Oh my God! If you, if you want to, if you’re not a member of Profound Bond Discord server and you’d like to join, anyone can join, we’ll put a link up in the show notes to be able to join and you can ask for a special role to be notified of when our new episodes go up.

So that’s pretty exciting. But randomly this week I asked if anyone had any questions for you, Manda, about this fic before the, so that we could ask you while we’re recording. So I’ve got a couple. Firstly your, your other half, Amanda Canzo who I’ve now decided to call you guys A2 since you’re, you know, the, the Amanda’s.

MandalaRose: That’s right, that’s our,

EllenofOz: That’s your ship name.

MandalaRose: Our new ship name. I like it.

EllenofOz: She, she asked: How do you manage to keep your muse going when writing for a story that was a prompt that was given to you? Because she struggles with that personally, she said. So, when you’re given a prompt by someone else how do you keep your muse going?

MandalaRose: So I think a lot of it, you know, and I’ve talked about this with other authors too, I think a lot of it really depends on the prompt and on the person giving it and kind of that, that relationship. So, you know, Amanda was just awesome to work with. So, I mean, that’s just, I feel like that’s just kind of cheating because it was just so easy to write for her and I loved writing for her.

You know, I talked about kind of the origin of the prompt and how we kind of work towards it together. [00:40:00] So she, she gave me a lot of freedom and I’m actually gonna be writing another story for her because she’s wonderful enough that she’s bid on me a couple times, and she did the same thing with the other one, she gave me a basic prompt, that one’s a song fic, but then she gives a lot of control for creativity over that to me, and so that makes it very easy to merge my writing style with her preferences and interests. So, I think sometimes it might be harder if someone has a very, very specific prompt. Not impossible, just maybe a little more challenging if that doesn’t immediately mesh with your style as a writer if they have very specific things or a very specific approach to it.

But I was very lucky in, in this case, and I’m very lucky on the one that I’m working with now that I’m, I’m working on another fic right now that is another auction. I’m doing less auctions this year. I’m so behind … for another auction and, you know, for a friend of ours and, you know, she and I just have very similar styles and we have very similar philosophies, very similar approaches to the show and our thoughts on the characters and our thoughts on, on where we wanted this to go. And so, it’s just been a really easy back and forth.

So I think that’s kind of, of the trick is just, you know, have prompts from really awesome people, and it makes it a lot easier. But I mean it is, you know, it is kind of a challenge at times, I think, when you’re trying to write for something, and there’s a different kind of pressure knowing that you’re writing something for someone else, you know. You want it to be, you know, extra good, I guess. You don’t want to let that person down. So there is definitely a different kind of pressure there.

And I had a lot of fun writing this for Amanda. I kind of you know, I didn’t know her incredibly well when I started this. I know her much better now. So I, you know, sort of stalked her, and, you know, I, I talked to other people who knew her and got some insider information on other things that she liked and interests she had that she hadn’t actually told me. It sounds really creepy when I explain it, I actually just asked –

MalMuses: I just suddenly had a flashback memory to that actually of you asking me about her coffee order.

MandalaRose: Yes!

MalMuses: And rather than being a normal person and just telling you, [ Laughs ] I went back through a year’s worth of photographs to find a picture of her coffee order for you. And I don’t know why I did that, but I did.

MandalaRose: It made me feel a lot less creepy just so you know. [ Laughs ] I’m like, this is gonna sound really creepy, but I know that you’re friends with Amanda and I need some insider information. Things like, what does she like to watch on TV? What are her other fandoms? What was she, what is, what is her coffee order? It really sounds [ unclear ]

MalMuses: And then I responded in the creepiest way possible with, I have a picture of it.

All: [ Laughs ] 

EllenofOz: So I guess the the trick to keeping your muse going is to have friends who are more creepy than you!

MandalaRose: Fortunately, Amanda was a great sport about it and did not find it creepy when she started discovering these things in this story that sounded very much like her life. 

EllenofOz: Aww, that’s really awesome though. All right. Now the other question is a little more technical in nature. Okay. So you have other, like your other much loved favorite fic, fandom favorite fic, I say that like five times quickly, is Stay With Me Sweetheart, which is a very long and beautiful you know, story about someone who has an accident, like Cas has an accident and Dean looks after him.

And it, I’m not going to, let’s not go into that one as well just right now. But what I mean is, it’s a very long story and it’s based partially on events that really happened. And also, this, Cupcakes and Kittens, is quite a long and complicated story. During your writing process, do you plot, do you, do you have like, I know that you have very detailed outlines. Do you plot your entire fic before you start writing, or are you more of a, have a vague idea of what’s happening and then just pants your way through it?

MandalaRose:  It depends on the story. Longer fics really do, I really do tend to have a pretty big outline. I will say the outline tends to grow and change as I go, and the outline for, you know, you mentioned Stay With Me, Sweetheart, was actually significantly shorter when I first started. I thought that story was only going to be around 80k. It ended up being 140.[00:45:00] So part of that was just me not knowing how to estimate my writing and part of that was, it kept getting longer. So this story as well got longer. It was supposed to be, I want to say, like 11 or 12 chapters, including the epilogue at the beginning. And it’s a couple chapters longer than that.

You know, things just, you know, conversations the guys want to have and you know, the smut happened later in this than what I originally intended because they just want to talk when I write them. It’s really, really hard to get them in bed together.

EllenofOz: Sometimes they just want to do that, don’t they?

MandalaRose: They do.

MalMuses: Or don’t want to, as the case may be. Yep.

MandalaRose: They really do. So, it just depends. Like, I would say that my outlines tend to be pretty detailed, but they’re more detailed because there’s a lot of dialogue and half-written scenes in them. Not necessarily because every single plot point is worked out. And then there have been times where I have written out plot points and changed them, or I will know how the story is supposed to start, and I will know how the story is supposed to end, and then there’s this pesky bit in the middle, and so I might just skip that part and assume that I’ll figure it out when I get there, so that, I had another story that I, I wrote last year for my Harlequin, where I kind of stalled in the middle because I had done that. Like, I know how it ends, I know how it starts, and it took me a while to figure out that middle piece.

EllenofOz: Yep.

MandalaRose: But yes, I do outline and people have asked me for Cupcakes and Kittens, how I kept the two person love triangle straight and, and things like that, and in addition to the outline, I also did have a couple of other documents where I had a list of things that were Dean and Cas and a list of things that were, you know, Dean and CJ.

EllenofOz: Yeah, yeah that’s a good idea. Yeah, I guess two person love triangles are a bit like, except for the last one that we were talking about where Dean knows from early on, but it is like having, like, developing two completely separate relationships. It’s like two stories in one.

MalMuses: Yeah, I color code a lot of stuff when I’m doing two person love triangles. Like, my entire outline will kind of be color coded between the two different couples.

MandalaRose: Oh, that’s a good idea.

EllenofOz: Yeah, really good idea.

MalMuses: With both going through, that the pacing works for both of them. So.

MandalaRose: Yeah, it’s so much fun working in those little, those little bits where, you know, you’re almost going to give it away and then it doesn’t happen. [ Laughs ] I had a lot of fun with that.

MalMuses: Yes, that is the most fun part. And it’s the most fun part to read as well for me. Like, I love it when you’re like, Oh, are they going to find out? And then they don’t. But so close.

MandalaRose: Oh, I have a, I have a favorite one of those moments from Four Letter Word, that is just one of my favorite fic moments ever in which he did that, and, and then I, I, you know, screamed at him in the comments and laughed and I thought it was absolutely hilarious. It was one of those moments where, and it kind of ended with a cliffhanger with that, everybody thought that this was going to be the thing that gave it away and the comments were filled with that. Like, oh, they’re going to figure it out! And the way he resolved that without revealing it in the next chapter was just phenomenal and hilarious to me.

EllenofOz + MalMuses: Yes.

EllenofOz: That fic, like, if we, if we, when, when we eventually end up doing a two-person love triangle episode, we’re definitely going to have to talk about that one because it’s like,

MalMuses: Yep.

EllenofOz: The tension is just so good. Really good.

MalMuses: So, so well written and enjoyable, but yes, we can gush about that one when we do. 

EllenofOz: We’re talking about baking. Sorry.

MandalaRose: To be fair, the part that I’m referencing was about baking.

MalMuses: [ Laughs ] That’s true. There’s, there’s a lot of pie baking in that fic. 

MandalaRose: It was about pie. Yes, it actually was about pie. It was on topic in my head. I’m just trying not to be too spoiler-y. I guess, I guess pie is not really spoiler-y, but.

EllenofOz: Yes.

MalMuses: No, pie is never a spoiler when it comes to Dean Winchester.

MandalaRose: This is true. It’s just a, it’s a core facet of Dean’s personality.

EllenofOz: Well, before we go on, let’s just, we can wrap up this fic by saying that we haven’t actually talked much about the content of the fic, actually, but, but that’s okay.

MalMuses: Go read it.

EllenofOz: If you, if you love two person triangles and you love baking delicious food and exquisite tension between the two of them that makes you want to shout at them on more than one occasion, definitely give this one a go. If you haven’t read it already.

MandalaRose: And if you love artwork,

EllenofOz: Oh yeah!

MandalaRose: And seeing art in fics, I just want to mention that LadyRandomBox was just absolutely incredible for this, this fic. [00:50:00] This really, like, this is, this is, sorry, another plug for FicFacer$, not intending to do that, but I guess I should intend to do it because it was a great experience, a lot of fun. But I had actually bid on her for an art piece for this story, specifically, because I, I knew her style was gonna work with it so well, and I knew exactly the image that I wanted in my head. And she … she blew it out of the park. I mean, she really just brought what was in my head to life, and then she kept going.

MalMuses: Yes.

MandalaRose: You know, she, yeah, she did that, and she’s like, and I want to do another one for you at the end, so be thinking of what you want for that. And then, you know, I thought about, you know, asking her for maybe like, a sketch of a little paw print or something to use for my, my scene dividers. And she’s like, and how about if I draw you artwork of Cupcake the Kitten doing different cute stuff for every chapter?

EllenofOz: Oh my God.

MandalaRose: So that was, I know that was all her and she was absolutely amazing, and is also now a friend. So this, this was a great, this story was just such a great experience all the way around. I got to make new friends and got to share something happy and loving and light-hearted and it was posting along with the second half of season 15 of Supernatural. So, when I think we all needed something a little fun and light hearted.

MalMuses: I was just gonna say that actually, other than the main storyline, one of the things I really enjoyed about this fic was a character. And that was the way that you wrote Gabriel. Because I think we have a tendency to go kind of one way or the other with him, but I think you balanced him really well in being a character that at first glance was very careless and very out for himself in very kind of early seasons, canon Gabriel. But then in actual fact, turned out to have a lot more heart than you would have expected at first glance.

And I really love that characterization of Gabriel. And I think you did him really well, and he was always kind of good comic relief in the scenes that he was in. So I really enjoyed how you did that. I kept on kind of hoping that he would show up in the scenes, like in all of the scenes at the coffee shop, I was like, are we gonna get a little bit, a little bit more Gabriel in this one? Yes, we are. He was really good in this fic.

MandalaRose: Thank you. I love writing him. He’s probably my favorite side character to write.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: He’s very, very fun to work with, isn’t he?

EllenofOz: He actually appears in quite a lot of bakery AUs. Like, I find, like,

MandalaRose: Mm-hmm.

EllenofOz: Maybe it’s the coffee shop thing.

MalMuses: We can’t possibly leave him out.

EllenofOz: Yeah, I mean, it’s other, he doesn’t always appear in other AUs, I guess, but in, in the coffee shop kind of, and bakery genre, his sweet tooth kind of comes into play a lot, I think.

MandalaRose: Mm-hmm.

EllenofOz: And he… he’s often there, like, working either with Dean or with Cas in there.

MandalaRose: Which is, it’s kind of funny because the thing that he, you know, the Trickster vibe from canon, he’s always eating sweet things, and when you have him working with food, he can’t be eating food at the same time. So, it’s kind of funny the way that, that translates, but it works. 

MalMuses: I always find him really fun to kind of pit against, not necessarily against, but to put with Dean as well, because I find that when they both kind of get on the banter train, they can actually be quite similar in certain ways.

MandalaRose: They’re so similar.

MalMuses: It’s really, and I, I kind of feel like maybe that’s why a lot of the time in fics they don’t like each other that much.

MandalaRose: Mm-hmm.

MalMuses: Because it’s like looking in a mirror and you’re like, wow, am I really like that? But yeah, it’s, it’s a lot of fun to read when they kind of … bump heads a little bit or start bantering back and forth at each other’s expense.

EllenofOz: Yes, and I am going to say, and you can’t back out of this one now, but your Russian to the Altar, another bakery fic, which I was going to mention later when we’re, you know, rec’ing other stuff. But your relationship that you had between Dean and Gabe in their bakery, it was like, I really love that as well. It was, they just, the way they, you know, snark at each other and kind of get in each other’s way all the time and just, you know, get mad at each other for being, you know, Gabe often knows what’s going on with Dean and Cas before they do in a lot of fics, I find. He’s like, same kind of deal with Sam, like Sam usually knows what’s going on before the guys do.

MalMuses: Because anyone with eyes should be able to pick up on it.

EllenofOz: Yeah, yeah. Anyone close to them knows, right?

MandalaRose: Yeah. I, I love Gabe and Dean as friends and, you know, you do usually see them more pitted against one another, you know, more playfully than anything, but I really have a special place in my heart for, for fics where they are friends and best friends and so I loved that in Russian.

[00:55:00] It was wonderful. Russian to the Altar, which is by the way the most popular baker!Dean fic in the Destiel fandom.

EllenofOz: We couldn’t get away with not mentioning it. [Laughs] She’s hiding.

MandalaRose: Did we lose Mal? There’s silence.

EllenofOz: She’s under the cushions.

MalMuses: I have a pillow over my face.

MandalaRose: She’s having technical difficulties over there. Her mic went out. That’s what it is.

MalMuses: I really don’t like talking about my own stories in any kind of depth on the podcast because that’s just, you know, it’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to talk about other people’s stories. And I also get really bad just, just imposter syndrome embarrassment at the best of times. So right, just here with just, just a pillow in front of me.

EllenofOz: Alright, we’ll, we’ll stop gushing, but it’s definitely, it’s going to be in the list. So if you, I think probably people who are listening to it, to this episode, probably know what we’re talking about already, but definitely there’ll be a link.

MandalaRose: There might be like, two people out there that haven’t read it, and they should go read it.

MalMuses: God, you guys.

EllenofOz: Anyway, anyway, alright. Let’s go on, shall we. So, after talking about your, your writing process, Manda, I have to go on to a complete different fic-related topic and that’s leaving comments. Now what, I think I can speak for both of Mal and I here to say that you’re one of our favorite readers because we love it when you leave like your wonderful long comments on stories.

MalMuses: Yes, Manda is a very skilled commenter and comments are essentially how I met Manda, really. Just kind of talking back and forth in comments. So, I mean, we talk on a much more regular basis now, but I think that, that’s how most of us met you originally was because of your comments on fics.

EllenofOz: Yeah, so we thought that since you’re here talking to us, we might go into some discussion on commenting and how… and our experiences with it.

MalMuses: Yeah, I often hear or, or read, as the case may be, a lot of people saying that, they don’t comment on fics because they just don’t know what to say or they’re kind of awkward about it, and I guess the first thing to say about that is, as long as you’re being kind and respectful, it doesn’t matter what you say, like you can keysmash or you can just leave an emoji. I have a lovely reader that just leaves an emoji on every single chapter of every one of my fics, and I look forward to it, even though it’s you know, just an emoji, that one thing, like, you still look forward to it. So,

EllenofOz: Yes. We love a keyboard smash.

MalMuses: Although there’s a lot to be said for, yeah, there’s a lot to be said for comments that kind of talk about what happened in the chapter and all that kind of stuff, but don’t think that that’s the only worthy way of commenting.

MandalaRose: Exactly right. Like, commenting is, you know, whether as a reader or as an author, it’s my favorite part. Like, and I, I love readers who don’t comment, I love readers who just leave kudos, who just read. I love readers who, you know, might not, you know, they might download the fic and read it and then mention it somewhere else. Like, I just, I love all sorts of readers, but commenting for me is just, it is, it’s that engagement with other people about love of the thing, you know?

That’s why we’re all here in fandom. It’s because we love this thing and we want to share our love of this thing with other people like us who love the thing too. And comments are such a fun way to do that. So I, I love comments and, you know, I love, you know, long comments that really delve into the chapter or say what you like, those are, are phenomenal and I love those or, you know, I get comments where people will share things from their life that they related to in the story and I absolutely love those too. Or, you know, quote back favorite lines. There isn’t an author alive who doesn’t love those.

But, you know, like Mal said, even if it’s something, you know, as simple as an emoji, you know, I have a commenter who always leaves three heart emojis and I adore those. I actually told them during, during Cupcakes and Kittens that, you know, I’m waiting for the day that I disappoint you, and I only get one heart, and it’s going to break me. So, like, that won’t happen. They, they would never. Well, actually, they, they did at my next cliffhanger, but then, quickly, they were joking. So, I set myself up for it. It was, like, very well timed on their part.

But no, I love those. And here, and the thing is that, you know, if you ever feel awkward about leaving a short comment, or… or something small, or you feel like it’s not gonna be adequate enough, I mean, as much as I love comments, they do take a lot of time to respond to, and if every comment was as long as the comments that I usually leave … nobody would ever be able to respond to all of them, and I really try to respond to every comment. [01:00:00] So as much as I love the long comments, having, you know, shorter comments where someone just shares one thing they loved, or just says, you know, I loved it, I thought it was great, or, you know, I was laughing, or leaves a keyboard smash those are, are just as much loved.

MalMuses: They are. I remember, I had someone on a … fic that I posted quite a long time ago now, that I posted as a work in progress each week, and each week they would tell me where they read it. So I would just get a comment that was just like, I read this on the subway this morning. And then I could like, see going through. And the great part was that the further I got through the story, they were like, I couldn’t manage to get out of bed before I read this one this morning. [ Laughs ] So it was kind of, I could see the enthusiasm even through something as simple as just leaving a little comment like that, so.

MandalaRose: Oh, I love things like that. I’ve heard people say, you know, I read this in the car before I went into work, or how dare you post this right now, I have somewhere to be, I have an appointment. 

EllenofOz: It’s the, it’s the unique thing with fanfic, I think, in that you get that instant kind of feedback. Like, if you, if you wrote a story and published it traditionally, I guess, in book format, you don’t, like, you have to wait for years sometimes to actually get any feedback from a reader. And I think we’re really lucky in that this is part of the attraction for posting our stories online is that we do get, you know, instant feedback and people can tell you how you’re going with the story as you’re going through, you know, without being an actual beta reader.

MalMuses: Yeah. Like Manda said, like, we’re all here because we’re excited about the thing, right? So it’s really nice to be able to share your excitement about the thing. I mean, I have people I know we all do that will respond, and the comment isn’t even necessarily about the chapter. It’s about something that you mentioned in your author’s note, and they’re just, they’re just chatting with you. They’re just, you know, making that relationship between the author and the reader. And that’s lovely as well, like there is no bad comment as long as it’s, you know, a polite comment, I really don’t think there’s any bad comment.

MandalaRose: Yeah, it’s funny you mentioned that Mal, people commenting on like the author’s notes. I, you guys know this, I’m rather wordy.

EllenofOz: No. [laughs]

MandalaRose: So my author’s notes, not, not me, my author’s notes are like a, you know, a compendium, like a second, a second story within the story. Someone actually told me that in a comment recently, it was like reading a second story for, it was for this fic, ‘cause they’re, they were quite hefty in this fic.

And I try to do that. I try to always put something in my end notes for every chapter when I’m serial posting, like a question. Sometimes it ties back to the fic, sometimes it ties back to something from just life. When the show was going on, it was things discussing the show. That way, if people, you know, people who don’t know what to say about the story, can talk about that instead. Because I found there are people who want to comment and say something, they just don’t know how to convey what they want to say about the story. But if you give them a topic on something else, then you, you know, you’ll get a comment about the something else. I might get like a “Oh, I love this chapter” and then I might get you know … I got a lot of stories about cats with this one. That was one of the glorious unexpected benefits of this story, was that I got a lot of cat stories and cute cat pics. So.

MalMuses: I think that is actually a really good point to, to drive home there, like what you just kind of brought up really. So, almost as a tip for authors, if you don’t know how to encourage comments on your stories or you never quite, quite know what to say when you’re responding to people sometimes, I think a really good way to drive conversation is just, in your end note, just treat your readers like people and just directly ask them a question.

Just ask them about something that was in the chapter, or specifically ask them how they’re dealing with something that’s going on in the real world right now, anything. And I often find that a lot of people will respond to that. People who kind of are kind of lurker readers. Like, they’re those lovely people that, you know, leave kudos and read every single chapter, but maybe they don’t have time to comment, or they don’t feel confident enough to comment. But sometimes if you ask a specific question, they’ll be like, oh, well that I can answer.

MandalaRose: Everyone loves to talk about food. If you ask them about food, they will tell you their favorite food. I ask a lot of food questions, and I am never disappointed with the answers. Except for all of you oatmeal raisin people, you’re still wrong.

MalMuses: Ooh, throwing hands now. [Laughs] I’m sorry, we’re ending this episode of the podcast early so that I can go out the back and sort this out with Manda because oatmeal raisins are the best cookies.

EllenofOz: Oh dear. 

MandalaRose: Granola bars. They’re just granola bars.

MalMuses: [01:05:00] Oh, granola bars aren’t sweet and delicious. Granola bars are just chunky and hard. 

EllenofOz: Alright, alright, stop, no arguing. Now listen.

MalMuses + MandalaRose: [ Laughs ]

EllenofOz: Speaking, speaking of arguments, it is, it is okay to have a civil argument in a comment section but there’s a few rules that we’d like to, not rules, but, I mean, guidelines that we’d like to share about not, what not to do when you’re commenting in general. Like, I guess Wheaton’s law applies: Don’t be a dick. Try to, try to,

MalMuses: It applies to almost everything in life, doesn’t it?

EllenofOz: Yep.

MalMuses: Yep.

EllenofOz: Yeah, absolutely. Criticism is, is only sort of welcome in certain situations where it has been asked for. If you, so if you’re beta reading or, you know, something like that, then criticism is, you know, expected, I guess. But not in a comment section. Just have a, like, authors are people too, like, have a think about, even if you would be okay about receiving a comment where your writing was criticized, not everyone is like that, so I know that we’ve all received comments at times that have been, that have, like, you know, maybe not been a very pleasant tone or, just criticize something in the story without explaining, without like, lightening the mood afterwards, I guess.

MalMuses: Yeah, because I think the important thing to remember there is that everyone’s kind of tolerance level is different. I, for example, with, with comments, I have a moderately high tolerance level for genuine crit in comments. However, there’s a lot of it which is not actually that, it’s just mean. So, you know, there is this kind of fine line between something that’s just being nasty and something that you may think that you’re being critical, but you’re actually just being mean.

And the thing is, my, my tolerance for that is completely different to somebody else’s. So I always worry, every time I see a comment like that, I’m like okay well, I know if, you know, my friend received this, it would ruin them for the next couple of days. They’d be really upset about it. And, and then that kind of worries me that then, you know, these people are out here giving this stuff out for free, it, you know, it’s, it’s not a contract where somebody has paid money for this object, therefore they get to criticize it. It’s something that’s being given to them for free. And I always wonder how those people react to birthday gifts they don’t like. [ Laughs ] I’m like, do you, like, do you just immediately start criticizing the wrapping paper and throw it back in the face of the person that gave it to you?

EllenofOz: I mean, it’s different online though. Like if you’re with someone’s face, like you’re in front of a person, you’re less likely to actually say something nasty than if you’re behind a computer screen and you, you know, can let it out.

MalMuses: It’s that relative anonymity.

MandalaRose: Absolutely.

MalMuses: But, yeah. But you know, writers are people too. 

MandalaRose: Yeah, there’s someone on the other end of that screen reading that comment. And there’s a difference between, you know, like I occasionally get people who, you know, oh, there’s a spelling error, especially my older stories. So I do occasionally get someone that’ll point out something like that. And I don’t mind that at all. I think my favorite one ever was I used r-y-e instead of w-r-y, and they’re like, you know, I don’t think you want to give him a bread smile.

So I, I, I didn’t mind that at all. And I do now want to write a crack fic where they’re baked goods just so that I can say Dean has a rye smile. So, there’s a difference between correcting a simple spelling error and criticizing content. We are not talking about or tone policing comments that address things that are problematic or that are trauma triggers or things like that in fanfiction. There is a very big difference between a comment that is addressing genuinely problematic content and a comment that is along the lines of, you know, you don’t do a very good job world building, your characters suck, and, oh, well, actually, here’s a thousand word essay on the inner workings of the internal combustion engine, and you might want to reference this the next time you write a garage scene. Two completely different scenarios. 

MalMuses: Yeah, that’s a really good analogy. And we’re also quite lucky as well, in that the way that most of us are in some way active on social media. So I would say, because like I said, everyone’s tolerance level is different. So, it’s a case of, if you’re going to tell somebody that they have lipstick on their teeth or toilet paper on their shoe, you do that privately, generally. [ Laughs ]

[01:10:00] You don’t walk up to somebody in a public space and point at them and yell that they have toilet paper on their shoe. And so I would say if you come across something in the story where you think that the author has just made a genuine mistake, because we all do, all the time, like, we are human. If you could see our beta documents, like, seriously. We, we make some mistakes around here. Like, personally, what I do when I come across that is I just privately message the author. I just speak to them on Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook or any of the other places and say, hey, I think this might have slipped by you, and I didn’t want to leave it in a comment, you know, in case it was deliberate or anything like that, but I thought I would mention it to you.

And I’ve always received a really positive response to that. Not that I’ve done it a lot, but there were just one or two things where someone that I knew had just genuinely made a mistake. And they didn’t have, yeah, they didn’t have a beta for that chapter. And I was like, ooh, I think they meant to, something different there. And I think just doing that privately is just a way around all of it. Like, doesn’t need to cause grief for anybody. You can just privately, you know, get your point across in a kind way. 

MandalaRose: It is and I think, you know, with, with social media being what it is, if someone doesn’t have a social media presence, and their only presence is on AO3 or on you know, whatever posting site they’re using, then they probably don’t want to be approached and they probably aren’t going to want that kind of feedback. So I would just let it go in that case. Same thing if someone makes it clear by explicitly stating that they don’t have a beta and they don’t use betas because some people are very, you know, their writing is very personal to them, even though they’re sharing it online, the process is very personal to them. And they make the choice not to have anyone beta read or edit.

So I would say at that point, if they wanted feedback, even on, you know, typos and grammar things, they would have a beta or an editor to do that. They, you know, they wouldn’t state outright in their author’s notes that, you know, I don’t have a beta, I don’t use betas, because some authors do do that. I can think of a couple in particular that I know that deliberately don’t have anyone beta read for them.

MalMuses: Yep. Mm-hmm.

MandalaRose: So just, you know, respecting their preferences and if, you know, if you come across someone like that and they do have a lot of minor errors and that’s something that breaks up the flow of the story for you, well, maybe they’re not the author for you.

MalMuses: Yeah. You can hit that little X button on the top of the tab. Yep.

EllenofOz: Yes. Taking the author kind of perspective into account as well, if you leave, like there are quite a few authors out there, I think, who also … not like there’s, there’s a lot, like I know that we all do try to respond to every single comment, but there’s also some authors who don’t do that, or they respond to a few comments and not all of them.

And that can be due to like, just volume overwhelming, like as you said earlier, Manda, it does take a long time to respond to comments if you get a lot of them. So don’t take it personally if, if the author doesn’t respond to your comment when you leave one. We see, well, most people see all of the comments that come in and we appreciate all of them. So, so please don’t let the fact that that you may not get a response stop you from leaving a comment. We definitely will still see it and appreciate it.

MandalaRose: Absolutely. And I’ve seen, I think most commenters that I’ve interacted with are people that I’ve interacted with, you know, whenever somebody asks a question like that in a, in a group or on Twitter, you know, how authors who have, feel about comments, you know, and how commenters feel if they do or don’t get a response, I think the overwhelming response is usually, you know, oh, when I leave a comment, I don’t expect to get a response.

Which, you know, it just kind of shows you how many lovely people we have. And overwhelmingly, the vast majority of comments that I think authors in our fandom receive are just beautiful and positive and amazing because those are just the kind of people that we have in this fandom and not, from what I hear, not everywhere is like that. So I, I’m just really grateful for that.

I do want to say though that the kind of the one, kind of the exception here we’re talking about less than positive feedback. If there is something in a fic, and it happens, and sometimes we miss things, we deal with a lot of very heavy topics in fanfiction sometimes, it’s not all lighthearted bakery AUs. And so … some of those topics you know, deal with a lot of trauma and can be very triggering for people. And most of the time, most authors are really good about tagging those things. Occasionally we miss something. So if there is something that is a major trigger in a fic and it isn’t tagged, if you have a way to let the author know, if you can let them know privately, then, you know, I’d recommend going that route.

[01:15:00] But you know, there have been some where they, they didn’t have a way to let them know privately. So I have let them know, you know, Hey, you might want to consider tagging this. It, you know, it could be a trigger for some people. And then whether they do or not, that’s their choice. But I do think that’s kind of an exception because I know the vast, like I would be devastated if I, you know, if I missed something like that and then no one told me. I’d be devastated anyways, I’d feel, I’d feel terrible either way, but I would much rather know so that I could then go back and fix it. 

EllenofOz: Yeah, it’s hard to know sometimes what those things are too because there’s just so many that, everyone’s got a different kind of things they don’t like to see. And there’s been a couple of cases where, like, I would never have thought that people would want to be warned first for you know, pairings with, of the guys with other people, for instance, like it’s,

MalMuses: Yeah, but that’s a really big thing for some people. 

EllenofOz: Oh, yeah, absolutely. That’s what I mean. Like, for me, I would never, I don’t think about that when I’m writing it, but, but for people, other people, that’s like a really big thing they want to know about. So, for someone to tell me that I need to tag that, I’m like, oh, of course I will, you know, but I need to know, you know, you don’t know what you don’t know, I guess. So.

MalMuses: Yeah, exactly. We all have different kind of things that we’re comfortable with and not, and we don’t always automatically think beyond what we’re comfortable with.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: We try to, definitely. Like, we always try to.

EllenofOz: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MalMuses: As writers. You try to kind of get your head in the space of, you know, would somebody else be upset by this? But we don’t always know, and I don’t know a single author that personally that would be … you know, irritated or, or upset if somebody came to them and said, Hey, would you consider tagging this because X, Y, Z. Like personally, I would be perfectly okay if somebody said that to me, I would probably be very apologetic that it hadn’t been tagged in the first place. So.

EllenofOz: I mean, that’s the beauty of AO3 is that we have like such a great tagging system that allows you to filter out exactly what you don’t like. So the more, and you don’t have a limit on the number of tags you can include. So, you know, always worth adding tags if you need to.

MandalaRose: And I would say the only other thing that I would say, I mean it’s, it’s, I’m trying to think of how to phrase this. We can address sometimes very serious issues or topics in fanfiction and sometimes those are a central part of the story, but we are all our own people. We have our own limitations, our own biases, our own privilege, and there are times that that comes through in a story as well, and we may not be aware of that and I, I’m not going to discourage anyone from bringing that up either.

So, I mean, now there are times that it might be central to the story and it’s, you know, it’s, that’s what the story is addressing. I mean, obviously, we deal with a lot of you know, A/B/O and, and things like that deal with a lot of gender role issues and a lot of very serious stuff in those stories, and that’s a part of what that, that genre does. But those, once again, are things that you might want to, you know, tag for, but, you know, and I, I can think of an example from, I, I’m not going to call anybody out, but I have an example from my own, one of my own stories that is, is why I’m saying this, is that someone pointed out something to me and they were absolutely right. And it was, you know, a miscalculation on my, on my part. It was, you know, it was, it was wrong.

So there was a part of it that, you know, there were, there were various things, but there was a part of it that I just think was absolutely a wrong choice. And they, you know, pointed that out to me. They were very nice, as nice as they could possibly be, I think. But I’m grateful for that, and it’s something that I learned a lot from and that I wouldn’t have known. So I don’t want anyone to think that by saying you can’t, you shouldn’t leave negative comments, that we’re tone policing, is what I’m getting at.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MandalaRose: That’s not the intent here.

MalMuses: No, and I think a lot of the time it’s in the way something is addressed. That, that’s really key, I think. A lot of the time you, you can have two comments, which are making exactly the same point, and one of them can be a positive comment and one of them can be a negative comment. I think a lot of the time it’s in the way that it’s approached and addressed and if you’re, if you’re, if you’re not sure then like just go ahead and use the authors social media if they have it and talk it through with them.

[01:20:00] But I think you know you can bring up these things without, like I said earlier, being mean, like there’s a difference between a critical comment and a mean comment. And people’s, people’s tolerance for both of those is going to be very different, but definitely don’t feel like you can’t approach an issue that has been brought up because of reading a chapter or a fic. There’s just a right way and a wrong way to do it.

EllenofOz: Manda, I’ve got to ask, like, you write such beautiful, long comments that often address a lot of the things that have happened in each chapter that you’re reading. How, do you have a certain way that you go about writing those? Like, do you keep notes as you’re reading? Or do, because I find that when I get to the end of a chapter, I often just, I end up leaving really short comments generally, because I don’t remember all the feelings I had while I was reading a chapter. So I just ended up going, this was good, thank you. Like, that’s it. But you always leave such thoughtful comments.

MandalaRose: So it really depends, you know, so those really, really, really long comments usually, yeah, I have scrolled down and noted things, or copied and pasted things that I liked from the chapter as I’m reading. Like, I scroll down and paste it, and then I go back up and read some more. Because, yeah, if I get to the end, then I forget, and, you know, or I’m like, ah, I wanted to talk about that one part, and then I’m going back through trying to find it. So yeah, I usually do kind of comment as I go, so it’s more like a live reading, you know, than it is a comment at the end.

But sometimes, you know, it just depends, it depends on, you know, and I don’t always leave long comments, especially now because, I don’t know, there’s time to write or there’s time to read and comment, and so there’s, there’s constantly a, you know, not enough time situation going on. So, sometimes I do just wait until the end of the chapter and then it might be a shorter comment.

MalMuses: I think that the final thing that I would kind of want to say about comments, just generally, is that for anybody that kind of sits there and isn’t quite sure what to comment or is kind of shy about commenting or thinks, well, I don’t really know this author, this author doesn’t know who I am. Why are they gonna care what I think? All that kind of stuff. Just, just remember the authors actually have the ability to turn off comments for the, for their chapters or for their whole fics. So you can pretty much assume that if the author has the comments turn on, it’s because they want to hear from you. It’s because they care about what your opinions are or what’s happening, if you’re excited about this bit or that bit, or that they just love getting feedback.

Because I know as a, as an author myself, it’s very motivating to do that. Like, there are days when, you know, I sit down and go to write, and I think, ugh, I’m just not, just not feeling it today. And then I’ll go back to answer comments on a previous chapter, and it can completely turn my mood around. So … Just a reminder, if those comments are open, it’s because we want to hear from you. It really is. So, so don’t feel awkward about it or like that comment is not wanted because maybe you’ve never commented before and you’re like, well, they’re not going to know who I am. Well, then comment.

And we will know who you are. Believe us, we do recognize names that keep popping up. You know, if we start to see your name pop, popping up a couple of times, or maybe you leave a comment on more than one fic, like we do actually recognize that even when you get, you know, like, if you’ve got a couple hundred comments to go through because you’re like me and you avoid your AO3 inbox for a little while, because life hits you in the face, but when you go back you do notice that those same names cropping up again and you do kind of, like, start to have kind of a relationship with those readers where you end up thinking when you’re writing something later, oh, like, so and so is gonna love this part or, I know that I personally have actually added in little things.

There was a specific part in Russian to the Altar, actually, where someone mentioned something, the, My Beloved Dons, actually, mentioned something in a comment, and the second that she said it, I was like, no, I have to write that in for her. Like, I went ahead a couple of chapters and specifically edited something. So I was like, no, this, this has to happen.

I have the ability to do that because I write so far ahead when I’m posting things anyway. But, you know, the comments, comments matter. They do. Like, just because you’re just expressing enthusiasm about a thing, that means that we then know that you like that thing, so you’re likely to get more of that thing.

MandalaRose: It’s so funny. One of our, one of our favorite commenters, all of our favorite commenters and now friends, is the reason that Sam and Linda at the end of Cupcakes and Kittens kind of worked their thing out and she kind of came around to him and warmed up to him. Because she was wanting the, the commenter from, like, the very beginning of the fic and kept mentioning it throughout. [01:25:00] And I was like, okay, I have to give her this. Like, I was, like, waiting for that chapter to come up this entire time because I knew that she was just going to be so excited over how that situation resolved itself.

And I’ve done that before too where I’ve written other things in. Someone pointed out in a comment, I don’t even think it was on my fic, it was on somebody else’s fic, they pointed out in a comment that I have a real thing for Misha’s ACDC T-shirts, and that, like, it, yeah, it was one of those things that’s become a, a thing in my fics that it pops up again and again and I hadn’t realized it until then that I kept doing this. So now it’s a very deliberate thing where, yes, like that, that T-shirt shows up quite frequently. And yeah, now that’s definitely a thing that I do because of that comment.

EllenofOz: And I have to definitely, I, I assume you’re talking about anupalya.

MandalaRose: Yes.

EllenofOz: And I’m going to give a shout out to her because I love her shouty comments, all caps flailing,

MalMuses: Getting yelled at by you as a privilege. 

EllenofOz: All caps flailing is the best, so thank you.

MandalaRose: I got her to like swear at me multiple times. I was so proud. Like, I felt just like, I don’t, like, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten this level of a reaction from you. Like I just, that was a very proud moment for me.

MalMuses: Yep.

EllenofOz: Yes.

MandalaRose: Her comments actually I used to read her and like, I think I’ve told her this now. So speaking of creepy things that Manda does, you know, I, I’m one of those people that I don’t just read the fic, I read the comments on other people’s fics.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MandalaRose: You know, so I, I like to read other people’s comments and I used to really, like, I was an anupalya fangirl before I was a writer because I would read her comments on other people’s fics and I used to think, you know, it’d be so cool to actually be a writer and get a comment like that. So, you have heard a thing probably for some of my, my dedication to commenting because, and then I remember the first time I got one of her comments, I was like ecstatic.

EllenofOz: Yeah, I was the same with that because I’ve been, I’ve been following her comments on Waiting for a Signal, I think, like when I, when TrenchcoatBaby and CBFirestarter were posting that and then you know, that was sort of when I first, I think, was introduced to her comments and then, when she started commenting on the Magic Boyfriends, I was like, oh my god, it’s you!

MalMuses: Hehehe.

MandalaRose: I know you! But I can’t tell you I know you, because that’s going to sound creepy.

EllenofOz: Sorry, I’m fan! Anyway.

MalMuses: I suppose there’s a clarification to be made there, just, just in case anybody, you know, does wonder about this, there is a difference between a negative comment and yelling at us. Sometimes we want you to yell at us. 

MandalaRose: Oh, yeah, yeah, yell at us. Yelling at the author is encouraged.

MalMuses: Like if we leave you on a cliffhanger, then scream and curse and do whatever you need to do.

EllenofOz: Yeah.

MalMuses: We are, we are going to read that positively, believe me.

EllenofOz: I mean, it’s, it’s a certain, it’s a way, like, in a way it’s to do with your relationship with the author too. Like if it’s someone I know who’s screaming at me, but … you know, what have I done to them, this is the worst thing, then I’m gonna be happy about it. Whereas if it’s someone I don’t, I’ve never heard from before, and because it’s so difficult to give tone across in, in text, right? So if, if it’s someone I don’t know and they’re telling me this is terrible and I’ve done the worst thing, I’m going to feel worse about it than if it’s someone I already know. So, I don’t know, maybe,

MalMuses: Don’t have that be your first comment, I don’t think.

MandalaRose: Yeah, leave a happy comment first so that we know you like us.

EllenofOz: No, no, it’s like you can scream, you can scream and say, these boys are so stupid, like, what are they doing, I hate them. But then maybe in brackets afterwards just put, by the way, this is really great, I’m enjoying it. You know, I don’t know, something, you know, just –

MalMuses: Just clarify a little bit so we know –

EllenofOz: – I don’t actually hate you. Anyway, where were we? We better stop talking about commenting.

MalMuses: I don’t, we went on a, yeah, massive, massive tangents in that, but,

EllenofOz: Bottom line is, please comment. We love comments.

MalMuses: Don’t be shy about it, it’s fine. There’s no bad comment as long as it’s polite.

MandalaRose: But if you don’t, say, if you don’t have the energy or the spoons or the time to comment, like, we’re not trying to guilt you here, it’s okay.

MalMuses: I’ve even had people that don’t want to comment on AO3 because it’s, I guess it’s almost like a permanent record of that comment, like once they have said what they were gonna say, it’s there attached to the story and other people can read it. So I, I’ve definitely had people who have contacted me on social media just to yell about a certain chapter or, or tell a story that maybe they don’t want to share with everybody, but they want to share in relation to that chapter,

MandalaRose: Because they don’t want creepers like me who read comments to read it. Yeah, that makes sense.

MalMuses: I don’t want strange people like Manda reading your stories all the time, but you know, that is perfectly valid too. [01:30:00] Just to say like, that’s, I personally, as an author generally don’t find that annoying. I’m sure you can get an idea from, from the story that you’re reading, if you kind of get to know the author through their author’s notes and things, in what kind of ways they are personally happy to be approached by readers.

But I’m always perfectly, perfectly happy with that personally. If somebody wants to just send a message in a different, a different format because they don’t want to put it out there on AO3, I think that’s perfectly valid. And it’s also just valid to, like we said, just not comment at all. And that’s, that’s perfectly fine. Like there’s no, there’s no obligation to comment at all. It’s more just, these are encouragement and guidelines for the people who do want to comment or who want to but aren’t sure how to go about it.

Other Recommendations

EllenofOz: You know what we haven’t done? We haven’t talked about other Bakery fics that we want to rec. So we talked about a few fics during our discussion there that were you know, other bakery fics. But we’ve got a few extras that we just want to shout out. Manda, you said you had one? 

MandalaRose: I do. Just Your Heart in Exchange for Mine by noxsoulmate. This one I think really is … more of a, a coffee shop fic, I mean it’s, it’s bakery, it’s baker!Dean and he does a lot of baking in the fic and he owns a bakery but it’s a, it’s one of those bakeries that serves coffee and it kind of has that coffee shop kind of feel, but there’s also a supernatural twist because this is a world with witches. And I had to mention this one because there is a black little cat. And that is kind of central to this story, is Dean finding this cat. So don’t want to say anything else and be spoiler-y, but I read this recently and I just absolutely adored it.

MalMuses: Yes, I have also read that one and I love it. I’ve read it multiple times. That’s, I’d say, kind of a comfort reread for me, that one. So. Yeah, and I don’t think we can mention bakery fics in general, without mentioning Kiss the Baker by Ltleflrt. I think that’s definitely one of the kind of big ones up there. Again, that’s an alternate universe where Dean is, I believe he’s a police officer in that one, and Cas is a baker. It is, I think, a relatively long fic, over 100,000 words. I’m doing this from memory. Again, that’s another one with a very strong, even from the title, you can tell, kind of a bakery thing in there. I believe it starts off because Jo has some, some pregnancy cravings for some slightly weird baked goods. So it’s a very, very entertaining story. So Ltleflrt is always a solid choice and that’s a really good fic, I think.

EllenofOz: We’ve got a bunch more fics that we have in our list here that I will include in the, in the post on, so go check it out if you’d like to read some more, if you’d like some more recommendations.

MalMuses: So we have one other exciting announcement this week. You may remember us talking a few episodes ago about our lovely logo that was designed for us by the amazing LizLee. Had a couple of people mention it to us, and I know that I myself desperately wanted to see that logo in my real life. So there is actually now a merch store available on Redbubble which will have pretty much every, every item that you can imagine from Redbubble with our beautiful logo on it, if you would like to obtain something from the podcast. And any profits from the sales of merchandise from there will be going to Random Acts. 

EllenofOz: Gotta say thank you very much for coming to join us, Manda.

MandalaRose: Thank you so much for having me, guys. This was great.

MalMuses: It was lovely to have you with us. And spend quite a lot of time talking about food, as it turns out.

EllenofOz: Any time you want to talk about food.

MandalaRose: Food and fic, my two favorite things.

EllenofOz: So if you would like to contact us and let us know your favorite Baker fic or any of the other things that we’ve talked about today, you can find all the links on and all of our social media platforms are at Mixtape Book Club.

Or you can email us, or now we have an extra one. You can come and chat with us in Profound Bond Discord in our Mixtape Book Club channel. I’ll put a link on, on the blog post about how you can join PB if you’re not a member already.  [01:35:00] So next week we’re going to discuss another favorite trope in our fandom, and that’s Soulmate fics. So if you, if you have any favorite soulmate fics that you’d like to rec to us, then yeah. Let us know. Thank you so much for listening this week, and we’ll talk to you again soon.

MalMuses: And as always, remember that the story isn’t over until we say it is.

[Outro music]

EllenofOz: And I’m totally going to say the next bit so that you have to say the last bit. Thank you so much for listening this week, and we’ll talk to you again soon!

MalMuses: And as always, remember that the story isn’t over until we say it is.

Ellen: Ha ha!

MalMuses: Fine [laughs]