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Welcome to May Trope Mayhem 2024!

A graphic with a pale blue background. The header reads "May Trope Mayhem: A Multi-Fandom and Original Work Creation Challenge 2024 List." Below this is a numbered list of 31 items. The Duck Prints Press logo, surrounded by rainbow duck prints on two sides, with the white dux mascot on the right and the words "we print diversity" below that, is in the lower right corner of the image. The full list reads: 1. Secret Relationship 2. Mistaken Identity 3. Accidental Ownership 4. Space Western Setting 5. Marriage Before Love 6. Time Loop 7. Wound Tending 8. "This is our get-along shirt." 9. Reincarnation 10. Mutual Pining 11. Forced Proximity 12. Sentinel/Guide 13. Vampires 14. Outsider Point of View 15. Monster F*ing (censored in the image) 16. Foodservice Setting 17. Meet Cute 18. "Keep your dog on a leash." 19. Mecha 20. The Soulmate Goose of Enforcement 21. Steampunk 22. Love Requited Too Late 23. Bottom Storage 24. Werewolf/Shifter Character 25. Fake Relationship 26. Reciprocal Idiots 27. There Was Only One Bed 28. OMG They Were Roommates 29. Soul-Bonding 30. Homoerotic Swordfighting 31. Free day!

May Trope Mayhem is a multi-fandom/original creation event open to writers, artists, and creators of all kinds! We’ve put together a list of 30 of our favorite tropes (plus one free day!), one per day through the month of May, and we encourage creators to join us for this month of fun tropey mayhem.

Our goal is to promote motivation and help with habit building, so we’re encouraging authors to keep their ficlets under 1,000 words, artists to stick to making just a sketch, gif makers to only do a single image, etc., as applicable to whatever you’re making.

This event is primarily held on Tumblr, but you’re welcome to participate anywhere Duck Prints Press has an account (you can see all our current platforms here) and we’ll keep our eyes on our tag everywhere!

How can you participate? It’s easy! There’s just a few simple rules:

  • write a ficlet or a poem, create art, make a gif, or create any other content that you want, aligned with the prompt for the day!
  • post your correctly tagged fills to Tumblr, and we’ll reblog them! We’ll reskeet works on Bluesky, retoot those on Mastodon, you get the idea. Note: we do not use Twitter.
  • you must tag warnings such as gore, MCD, sexual content, etc., so that people can make informed decisions!
  • please also tag fandom and ship, so people can find what interests them!
  • we ask that you put the tags at the top of your post, so they’re easy to find.
  • if you write more than 1k words and post the whole text on Tumblr or wherever, please use a read more if the platform allows.
  • if you create something with NSFW content or potentially triggering material, please put the entire work under a read more.

Ping us (duckprintspress) or tag your creations “#may trope mayhem” and so we can find them! We’ll reblog all fills that follow the above rules and are posted between May 1st and June 8th, 2024.

If you post to AO3, you can also add them to our collection there!

You don’t have to sign up for May Trope Mayhem, just post your fills. You don’t have to be a member of the Press nor do you have to be following us. You don’t have to be part of a specific fandom. We’re open to all ships, genres, formats, etc.! You don’t have to post fills on the corresponding day, though we ask that if you’re creating for a day that hasn’t happened yet, please wait for that day to post.

Participating in May Trope Mayhem? Want to chat fandom, books, creation, and more? Join our Book Lover’s Discord Server!

This is a low-pressure event, held in good fun, and we look forward to seeing what you create!

MAY TROPE MAYHEM Prompt List, with some links and definitions for ones we were worried might be confusing or challenging for folks!

  1. Secret Relationship
  2. Mistaken Identity
  3. Accidental Ownership (Character A accidentally ends up the owner of Character B)
  4. Space Western Setting
  5. Marriage Before Love
  6. Time Loop
  7. Wound Tending
  8. “This is our get-along shirt.”
  9. Reincarnation
  10. Mutual Pining
  11. Forced Proximity
  12. Sentinel/Guide
  13. Vampires
  14. Outsider Point of View
  15. Monster F*ing (censored in the image)
  16. Foodservice Setting
  17. Meet Cute
  18. “Keep your dog on a leash.”
  19. Mecha
  20. The Soulmate Goose of Enforcement
  21. Steampunk
  22. Love Requited Too Late
  23. Bottom Storage (or however you feel like interpreting it!)
  24. Werewolf/Shifter Character
  25. Fake Relationship
  26. Reciprocal Idiots (like idiots to lovers, or however else you feel like interpreting it!)
  27. There Was Only One Bed
  28. OMG They Were Roommates
  29. Soul-Bonding
  30. Homoerotic Swordfighting
  31. Free day!
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Upcoming Event: A Big Gay Market!

A graphic with a simple background in orange, blue, and purple. It's entitled "A Big Gay Market" followed by a heart with the colors of the Progress Pride Flag on it. Beside this, it reads "Next Market: Sunday, April 28th, Washington Park, Knox Street Mall, 11 AM - 3 PM. Rain Date: Sunday, May 5th." In the middle of the image is the Duck Prints Press logo - the business name, with a rainbow of duck prints on the left and bottom sides and the white dux mascot on the right. Beside this is a purple circle around a duck print with rainbow stripes. At the bottom of the graphic, in the lower left it reads "Our Beneficiary: Unirondack Queer Youth Advocacy Retreat" and "Current Sponsors: Gabriella Romero Democrat and Iovo." In the lower right, it says "Learn More Below: www.abiggaymarket.com."

This Sunday, April 28th, we’re thrilled to be among the 100+ vendors who will be selling their wares at Albany’s quarterly A Big Gay Market! We’ll be there with our latest books and merch, and all our old favorites, and a few new never-before-seen things too, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Washington Park on the Knox Street Mall in Albany. The forecast is looking gorgeous – high of 73, partial sun, chance of showers in the afternoon and evening. Definitely a day to wear sunscreen!

Even better? 10% of our net profits will be donated to Camp Unirondack!

So, if you’re anywhere near the Capital District of New York and are looking for an awesome opportunity to do some shopping, get some fabulous stuff, and support a great cause, make sure to come say hi (and claim your very own free tiny duck…)!

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Upcoming Event: Boskone!

A black square with the word BOSKONE on it, underlined by the exhaust from a stylized rocket ship.

We’re a week and a half out from Duck Prints Press’s next vending appearance – we’ll be back at the Westin Boston Seaport District, this time in the vendors room for Boskone on February 9th through 11th! Boskone is the flagship convention for the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA), and special guests at this year’s convention include Ben Aaronovitch, Emily Hurst Pritchett, and John Scalzi. There’ll also be over 30 vendors, an author’s alley, an art show, and of course scads of cool panels!

One of the authors we work with, Tris Lawrence, will also be in attendance, participating in panels and signing books. You can check out her schedule here.

We’re really excited to be heading back to Boston again, and hopeful that we’ll see some familiar faces from Arisia and meet some new folks too. If you’re gonna be there, make sure you come and say hi!

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This Weekend: Duck Prints Press at Arisia!

Arisia, the largest, most diverse sci-fi and fantasy convention in New England, runs this weekend from Friday, January 12th to Monday, January 15th, and Duck Prints Press will be there!

Held at the Westin Boston Seaport District hotel, Arisia draws several thousand SFF fans for four days of panels, cosplay, shopping, music, and more. The guests of honor this year are Ryka Aoki, Winona Nelson, and Tanya DePass, and over 50 vendors will fill the vending hall with all the sci-fi and fantasy stuff you could dream of…including us!

I (unforth/Nina Waters) will be manning our vending table the entire time the dealer’s room is open. The hours are:
Friday, Jan. 12th: 5 PM Eastern – 9 PM Eastern
Saturday, Jan. 13th: 10 AM Eastern – 7 PM Eastern (closed 1 PM to 2 PM)
Sunday, Jan. 14th: 10 AM Eastern – 7 PM Eastern (closed 1 PM to 2 PM)
Monday, Jan 15th: 10 AM Eastern – 2:30 PM Eastern

Where can you find us? Easy! We’re at Table D14 – just look for the Dux!

A map/floor layout of a convention center focused on the dealer's room. Doors and rooms are labeled. The main area shows numerous tables, with each area labeled with a letter and each table marked with a number. The table numbered 14 in section D is circled in red, and a duck (our Dux mascot) stands at the table.

We’ll have merchandise and campaign leftovers from all our past campaigns, AND we’ll have print copies of Many Drops Make a Stream by Adrian Harley, To Drive the Hundred Miles by Alec J. Marsh, and Aim For The Heart: Queer Fanworks Inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s “The Three Musketeers” – a week before they and their related merch go up for sale on our website.

And, if you sign up for our Patreon during the con, come to the booth and you can get a free bonus sticker! (If you’re already a backer and come say hi, you can grab a sticker too. 😀 )

We’re really excited to be kicking off our 2024 convention schedule by attending this awesome event, and we hope to see you there! There’s gonna be a lot of other awesome vendors there, too. I hope I’ll have time to meet some of them!

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A Big Gay Market Event Report!

A photograph of a table set up under a pop-up tent. A banner hangs behind the table and reads "Duck Prints Press. We Print Diversity. www.duckprintspress.com" and it has pictures of a brown duck and a white duck. In the foreground is a table laden with merchandise and books. Visible items include enamel pins of animals, stickers of ducks, paw prints, and a lemon, mugs with ducks, a teacup, a book entitled "Commit to the Kick," and two baskets. Two people sit behind the table, one mostly hidden, the other smiling at the camera.

Yesterday, Duck Prints Press owner Claire, author Catherine, and Claire’s mom attended A Big Gay Market in Washington Park in Albany! The weather was honestly dismal, and the event organizers ultimately ended the market after only one of the scheduled 4 hours. We stuck it out as long as we could and stayed for about half the planned time, and I’m glad we did! The few shoppers who came by were lovely, and we had a really good day. Honestly, despite the cold and wet, we have no complaints, and we’re already looking forward to the next time A Big Gay Market will be held, in April of 2024. (Though hopefully they’ll find an indoor venue next time!)

A few shout-outs to people we met!

Fashion A-Fare Boutique: they had some awesome, fun merch – I especially loved the Barbie movie inspired earrings and the d6 earrings (I want to get a pair for my wife!).

Art.with.a.Waddle: super cute art and penguins. How can one possibly go wrong??? Bonus, the owner Zoë was dressed up as Tony Tony Chopper (vendors were encouraged to wear Halloween costumes).

Adirondack Crystalry and The Artful Woods: these two cool folks were sharing a cozy-looking booth! I especially noticed the Crystalry’s cool wands and the wood-cut earring rainbows with dangling crystals at The Artful Woods.

Fawnduu: she had me at “lesbian cowboys.”

Bonus, I ran into Calivarn from Eclectic Arts again! At Fandom Fest, they were across the path and just to the right of my booth…and yesterday…they were across the path and just to the right of my booth! It’s nice to go to local events and start meeting the same people multiple times. <3 I’d hoped to run into the lovely folks from Pastel Prince, too, but the weather was so bad that I didn’t get to explore the whole market before it closed, so I only got to pass by maybe a quarter of the vendors.

My only purchase for the day was these two cuties:

A photograph of two crocheted dolls. One is a caterpillar with segments in pastel blue, white, and pastel pink, in the distinct shades of the trans pride flag. The other is a bee.

I picked out the bee for my son, and the trans-flag caterpillar for my daughter. Unfortunately, I foolishly didn’t catch the name of the creators! I’m so frustrated with myself, it means I can’t shout about how lovely they were (and one of them was dressed as a mushroom and it was a.dor.a.ble). So, if you are or know the creators of these precious stuffies that my kids love, please tell me so I can sing their praises by name!!! (They might have been Honey Strands Crochet? I’m looking through the vendor list and trying to figure it out.)

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out, and whether you came or not, we hope to see you at A Big Gay Market next time!

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Upcoming Event: A Big Gay Market

This coming Sunday, October 29th, Duck Prints Press will be vending at A Big Gay Market in Albany, New York. This outdoor, open-air market is in Washington Park right downtown, runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and features over 100 vendors. Vendor registration fees benefit Unirondack Queer Youth Advocacy Retreat.

About the Market: A Big Gay Market is a designated safe and affirmative space for LGBTQI+ individuals, especially for those in our community that have intersecting marginalized identities, to join together in queer and trans joy for a cause. This market aims to benefit Camp Unirondack’s Queer Youth Advocacy Retreat.

About Camp Unirondack: Founded in 1951 by the Universalists, Unirondack is a radically inclusive Camp and Conference Center located on Niiohehsà:ne (Beaver Lake) in the forever wild forests of the Western Adirondack Mountains on Haudenosaunee Land. Unirondack is a community that is shaped and re-shaped each summer by its staff members, campers, and volunteers. We offer some things in common with other summer camps: a beautiful lakeside setting, a wide range of daily activities, family-style meals, and the chance to spend time away in the woods. But what truly makes us unique is the energy, caring and creativity of the people who call Unirondack home.

About Us: Duck Prints Press LLC is an independent publisher based in New York State. Our founding vision is to work with fancreators to publish their original work. We are particularly dedicated to working with queer authors and artists to publish stories featuring characters from across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

We’re really excited to be part of an event that so closely aligns with our goals and interests as a Press, and we hope we’ll be able to see some of you there!

In addition to the donation of the vending fee paid, Duck Prints Press will be donating 10% of our net proceeds from sales at the Market to Camp Unirondack. For those unable to attend in person, we encourage you to shop in our store on October 29th, 2023. All purchases made that day, we’ll donate 10% of the net proceeds to Unirondack, just as we would if you bought from us in person at the market.

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Duck Prints Press Summer 2023 Con Wrap!

We’ve now vended at our first two cons, and we wanted to take a few minutes to blog about it!

I (press owner Claire Houck/unforth) attended Fandom Fest in Schenectady, NY, and Albacon in Clifton Park, NY, and vended on behalf of the Press. Authors Nova Mason, Shea Sullivan, Catherine E. Green, and Tris Lawrence helped me out with manning the booth, handling transactions, participating in our first DPP panel, and more, so huge THANKS to them. (Also to Prof. Robert Heverly from Albany Law School, for contributing his expertise on copyright law to our Fandom Fest panel). I wrote about our Fandom Fest panel here, and about our events at Albacon here and here.

To be honest, we really had no idea how things would go, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that we far exceeded our expectations. Going into this, I’ll own I was very afraid – would people be interested in our Press? Would we make money? Or would we be that sad, lonely table that everyone walks quickly by? But things couldn’t have gone better – they went so well we’re already looking at more events to attend in the future.

From a fiscal standpoint, we made almost double what I anticipated and completely made up the expense of buying the supplies and equipment necessary for us to vend at these events and going forward. From a panel perspective, our events were nicely attended. From a “growing the business” standpoint, we added many names to our mailing lists and gained social media platforms. And, from a networking standpoint, we had a fantastic time and met a lot of awesome people – and that’s primarily what this post is about!

You already know about us; we’re here to shout-out some other folks we’re now very happy to know!

The amazing Syrren and I bonded instantly over our shared love of the men of Mo Xiang Tong Xiu books and Stardew Valley romance options. I miiiight have ended up with some merch (though the Genshin Impact ones are gifts for a friend).

According to the Fandom Fest organizers, it was 100% a coincidence that we ended up next to Duck and Cover, but we couldn’t have had a cooler or more appropriate neighbor. A con attendee felt it was so on-brand for Duck Prints Press that they actually bought us this one-of-a-kind hand-painted James Bond duckie! We also talked with Duck and Cover about maybe offering some of their custom ducks as campaign add-ons in the future, so be on the lookout…

The owner of The Cogitation Zone, Lisa, is a long-time friend of Tris Lawrence, who commissioned us this custom Duck Prints Press business card holder that’ll be accompanying us to all our future cons! Lisa also had made a large number of adorable creatures, and I miiiight have traded a copy of one of our anthologies for an axolotl. Because. Axolotl.

The Consol Collection, sadly, has no website that I can find, but they had a lot of things such as this adorable Totoro sticker I got for my kids. And when the owner of Eclectic Arts approached me in an absolutely fabulous Hawaiian shirt featuring Pride-flag-colored twenty-sided dice, I instantly agreed to a sticker trade. On the right, jiadoesart had many lovely things, and I picked out some stickers for my Ghibli-loving kids.

Some Other Neat Folks We Met:

Pastel Prince Shop: lots of gorgeous queer art and merch; I’m hoping to get one of their asexual pride bracelets in the future (it got sold before I could grab it, sadly).

Bear and Bird Boutique: a local business that was vending at Fandom Fest, too, they have a lot of amazing bits and baubles, both fandom-related and original. We’ve bought everything from the Hilda graphic novel to a dragon puzzle at their store.

Picnocline: the only reason I didn’t buy things from Picnocline’s shop is that there were so many cute things that I literally couldn’t pick.

It’s Getting Dicey: dice, one of my true weaknesses! They have metal pride-flag dice sets, and lots of queer dice trays. I wish I could get them all…

Two-Penny Nerdlesque: a local burlesque troupe; they were very enthusiastic about And Seek (Not) to Alter Me and our queerifying of Much Ado About Nothing, and delighted told me about their own very queer versions of Shakespeare and other plays – I’m definitely going to have to check them out in the future.

(There are others too, but I didn’t grab everyone’s information, and I think this is plenty for one post. 😀 )

If any of you all are seeing this post, it was an absolute delight to meet you, and please don’t be a stranger!

Going forward, we’re looking forward to participating in more events and making more connections with other creators, especially other queer creators! Just today, we’ve applied to vend at A Big Gay Market, taking place in Washington Park in Albany on October 29th, 2023. We’ve also got a tentative schedule for 2024, and we’ll post more about where you’ll be able to find us as the dates grow closer and we find out if the juried shows have accepted our applications. We’re going to do our best to continue the success we’ve enjoyed at our first two conventions by pursuing vending as a way to meet potential readers and customers, grow relationships with other queer creators, and get the Duck Prints Press names out there for the benefit of all the authors, artists, and others we work with!

Got a con in New York State or Massachusetts that you love and think we should try to attend in 2024? Let us know in the comments or by dropping us an e-mail at info@duckprintspress.com!

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Albacon Panels Now Available!

Did you see me talking on social media about the panels we’d be participating in at Albacon and think “oh wow, I wish I could hear that, but I’m not able to attend the con so I guess there’s no hope”? Well, there IS hope – all FIFTY Albacon panels and readings are now available online for anyone who registers to attend the con as a hybrid attendee – and you can still register as a hybrid attendee, for only $15, for the next month (you can register, and watch, until October 11th).

I personally participated in two panels and did one reading – Starting a Small Press, a reading from my story in Add Magic to Taste, and Crowdfunding for Print.

We had great discussions at all three – Starting a Small Press also feature Bianca D’arc, Ian Randal Strock (owner of Fantastic Books), and Inanna Arthen (panel moderator, owner of By Light Unseen Media). We had a great chat with a lot of specifics and details related to owning and operating small presses. Crowdfunding for Print included me, Bianca, and Ian again, with Tris Lawrence (whose work with Duck Prints Press can be found here) and Alex Shvartsman contributing their expertise as well.

And, if you register, you can access all the other awesome panels and readings as well, including those featuring the guests of honor Walter Hunt and Linda Addison, the special guests Allen Steele and Dan Kimmel, and all the other con panelists!

You can register HERE if you want to check out all the awesome!

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Con this Weekend: Albacon in Clifton Park, New York!

I’ll be at Albacon in Clifton Park, NY, this entire weekend! Even better, Albacon is a FULLY HYBRID convention, so even if you can’t get to Clifton Park, you don’t have to miss out on the awesome panels and cool guests!

The entire schedule is here, if you’re curious, but I know you’re really here to know what yours truly will be up to, so here’s my schedule.

Friday, 9/8, 5 PM (yes, this is in less than 4 hours, no I’m definitely not nervous even slightly why would you think that?): Starting a Small Press panel with me, Inanna Arthen, Ian Randal Strock, and Bianca D’Arc

Saturday, 9/9, 10 AM: Reading! I will be reading from my story Knishes and Noshes, published in our anthology Add Magic to Taste.

Sunday, 9/10, 10:30 AM: Crowdfunding for Print panel with Bianca D’Arc, Alex Shvartsman, Ian Randal Strock, and Tris Lawrence (it’ll be nice to panel with a friend!)

We’ll also be vending on vendor’s row, and I’m hoping to get our virtual vending set up too, though no promises there (you can always just check out our shop!)

Tris Lawrence will be there too, helping out with vending and participating in several other panels and doing a reading, so don’t miss her things either. 😀

Some come on out to Clifton Park or join us hybrid if these are topics that interest you, and I hope to see some of y’all there!

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Next Weekend: Duck Prints Press at Fandom Fest!

Proctors logo

Fandom Fest 2023 – the largest con aimed at fantasy enthusiasts in Upstate New York – is taking place next weekend, Saturday, August 26th, and Sunday, August 27th, at Proctor’s Theater in downtown Schenectady, New York!

As fate would have it, where is Duck Prints Press based? Why, in Schenectady, New York! So of course, we’ll be there – vending at a convention for the FIRST TIME EVER! We’ve been hard at work gathering all our merch, organizing the print books left over from our past campaigns, getting supplies so we can easily get set up (we own a hand truck now!), and PREPARING FOR OUR PANEL!

Yes, we’re hosting a PANEL! Featuring yours truly (I’m unforth, aka Nina Waters, aka Claire Houck – last one’s my actual name 😀 ), authors Shea Sullivan, Catherine E. Green, Tris Lawrence, and Willa Blythe, and Albany Law School professor Rob Heverly! Our author Nova Mason will also be putting in a cameo at our booth, handling sales while the rest of us are en-paneled.

Fans show their love of their fandoms in many ways, and one of the most common is by writing fanfiction! Among fanauthors, it's common to dream of a future in publication. How can fanauthors make that dream a reality? That's the topic of this panel! Hi, we're Duck Prints Press, an indie press based right here in Schenectady, and we're fans who work with other fans to publish their original work (ofic). There are many considerations when looking to make the transition from fanauthor to ofic author, and we'll be looking at many of those considerations and answering your questions. We'll discuss several common paths people follow when they seek to get published, "barcode scrubbing" and other fanfiction-specific publication concerns, copyright concerns and contract pitfalls, what our Press does, and more! Bring your curiosity, your favorite blorbos, and your questions—we look forward to seeing you there! 

So, if you’re gonna be at Fandom Fest (it’s not too late to get advance tickets!), make sure you come say hi! We’d be thrilled to meet ya!

(and, while I know we’ll be your main inducement for attending, might I mention that Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, and a bunch of other celebrities will be there? and a bunch of gaming? and of course a cosplay contest? it’s gonna be lots of fun, y’all…)