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Magazines for unique tastes find niche

Print's not dead yet. Magazines with ultra-specific target audiences show signs of good health that mainstream outlets would kill for -- lots of ads, glossy paper, high reader engagement.

We dug through "Writer's Market 2011," a dictionary-thick listing of publications seeking freelancers, and selected 50 or so that accept "general interest" stories. These are the ones that answered our emails. We hope they'll answer our emails when we need jobs, too.

*Rosicrucian Digest, biannual, read for free at Rosicrucian.org

Target audience: Members of the Worldwide Rosicrucian Order, and any other seekers of truth who want to know about Gnosticism, Neoplatonism and Christian mysticism.

Vocabulary: The "Corpus Hermeticum" is a book written by third-century A.D. Egyptian mystics about Hermes Trismegistus, a mashup of gods Hermes and Thoth.

Useful in real life: "With loving performance of these techniques (vowel chanting, meditation and 'inner silence'), we will modify our mundane vibrations into more and more subtle ones." Translation: Quiet your mind and you'll find God.

Best headline: "I Was a Priestess at Delphi: A Historical Meditation"

Personality in need of a daytime talk show: Christian Bernard, "Imperator of the Rosicrucian Order." He even has his own official insignia.

Chile Pepper, bimonthly, $6, Chilepepper.com

Target audience: People who love their taste buds so much they want to shower them in flame.

Vocabulary: "Chile" is the pepper. "Chili" is the soup. Don't mix them up.

Useful in real life: You really can incorporate chiles into every meal, as evidenced by the Habanero Apple Crisp recipe showcased in the January/February issue.

Best headline: "Ghana Make You Smile," about chile pepper farming in Ghana.

To be continued: An ongoing series called "Chile Pepper's Rib Challenge," a search for the best ribs in the country.

Writer most deserving of syndication or possibly a spot on "Hoarders": Vic Clinco, who writes the "Sauce and Tell" column, owns more than 4,000 bottles of the hot sauce.

Living Aboard, bimonthly, $5, Livingaboard.com

Target audience: Those who either do or aspire to live aboard their boats full time.

Vocabulary: "Liveaboards" are people who make their home on the water.

Real-life application: The tips for shedding belongings would help even the most land-bound hoarder.

Best headline: "Dock Approach Anxiety."

Poet's corner: The November/December issue features a poem called "Ode to My Dinghy Pump"

Muzzle Blasts, monthly, $4, Nmlra.org

Target audience: Members of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, people who like their guns the way the Founding Fathers carried them.

Vocabulary: "Blank load" means the gun will go boom but you won't kill anybody.

Useful in real life: The January 2012 edition teaches you how to stalk a deer so slowly and carefully you can get right up to it before you kill it with your flintlock rifle.

Best headline: "Tecumseh's Tomahawk and the War of 1812." (Muzzle Blasts does not care for witty puns.)

Fashion to revive: Many of the men pictured are wearing actual coonskin caps.

Renaissance, bimonthly, $6, Renaissancemagazine.com

Target audience: People who don't so much go to Renaissance fairs as live for Renaissance fairs.

Vocabulary: The "groom of the stool" was the lucky courtier who got to take care of the backside of Henry VIII after bathroom visits.

Useful in real life: Crafters, rejoice! For now, you can learn to make "no-hassle tassels." In another article, a seamstress recommends using old curtains to create costumes for a noble.

Best headline: "Didst Thou Know?" is the name of the brief trivia pieces.

Breakout personalities: All the busty women raising money for breast cancer research by appearing in the Dresslikeapirate.com "Booty for Boobies" advertisement in issue No. 80.

Mushing: The Magazine of Dog-Powered Adventure, bimonthly, $5, Mushing.com

Target audience: Devotees of sports in which dogs pull stuff over snow.

Vocabulary: "Skijoring," a winter sport in which dogs (or horses or motor vehicles) pull humans on skis.

Useful in real life: Howling Dog Alaska's Ear Protector ($11, Howlingdogalaska.com), designed to prevent frostbite in racing dogs, is useful for keeping long-eared dogs' ears out of the food dish.

Best headline: "The Unfortunate Death of a Not Very Good Sled Dog." You don't even have to read the story to know it will end in bawling.

Personalities in need of an Animal Planet show: Miriam Cooper, who writes about "connecting to sled dogs on a more personal level" in her "Off the Trail" column; and Ichabod and Hermes, her sensitive, handsome, once-troubled lead dog.

Grit, bimonthly, $5, Grit.com

Target audience: Those who embrace the "rural lifestyle tradition." So, people who live in rural areas, and urbanites who raise chickens in their tiny backyards.

Vocabulary: "Boilers" are chickens raised for meat. "Layers" are the other kind. A fast-growing boiler breed can be ready for dinner in eight weeks.

Useful in real life: Buy the special issue on bread baking and make the pretzels. They don't keep well, so you'll have to eat all eight of them in one sitting, which was easy.

New use for used media: A combination of large newspapers -- "national papers like The New York Times and The Washington Post work great" -- and mulch, layered over weeds, will kill weeds without harsh chemicals.

Cocktail party tidbit: A machine called the "Featherman Pro" will scald and pluck four chickens at once.

Blade, monthly, $6, Blademag.com

Target audience: Anyone who likes to collect things that slice and dice.

Vocabulary: A "field-use hunter" is a knife taken by a hunter to dress the animal after killing.

Useful in real life: They test knives by stabbing them into the Yellow Pages and cutting pine stakes, rope, cardboard boxes and dense foam, so you should, too.

Best headline: "Going Hogue," about Hogue knives.

Cocktail party tidbit: Victorian ladies' pocketknives usually included a button-hook for buttoning shoes or corsets.