The Beauty of Small Cons

Guest post by Thurston Howl. Thurston is the editor-in-chief of Thurston Howl Publications. The author of several novels, short stories, and poems, he prides himself in the Ursa Major Award winning essay collection he edited, Furries Among Us. He received his BA in English at Vanderbilt University and his MA in English at Middle Tennessee State University. Aside from running a publishing house, he teaches English at a local college, plays piano, dances, and is actively training to be a coffee connoisseur.

Ed. note: I got so overwhelmed with other stuff that I forgot to post this! My apologies to Thurston and to his readers!

All year long, furries see it all over the social media: “3 days till AC!” “Can’t believe I’m on my way to MFF!” Or, my personal favorite, “Suffering post-con depression after that big con.” Yet, we never hear enough about the less famous small cons. Wikifur has published a list of conventions by attendee participation. It shows 55 furry cons, ranging from 58 participants to over 7,000. The arithmetic mean (average) of the participants for a con was 1,027. Yet, cons that average around that number are generally called “small cons.” I have been to more small cons than large ones. So, here I shall provide five reasons for why small cons are better—or at least, as good as—large cons.

Continue reading The Beauty of Small Cons

[adjective][species] at Further Confusion 2017

[a][s] contributors make the occasional appearance and presentation at conventions around the world (well, okay, a few cons in the US plus Confuzzled in the UK), and Further Confusion is one of our regulars! This year, [a][s] folks have a few panels at FC2017, so if any catch your eye, stop on by and say hi!

Note that times/dates are tentative until scheduling gets locked in by con staff. Bookmark this page and we’ll keep it up to date with any changes. Data was snagged from the panel system directly, but if I missed any [a][s] contributors’ panels, shoot me an email or leave a comment!

Friday

Gender and FurryMakyo – Friday, January 13 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Hilton: Santa Clara

Both gender and furry touch on very important aspects of identity, and the fandom often provides a space in which to explore one’s gender in a safe manner. Join Makyo from Love – Sex – Fur to talk about what gender is and how it interacts with the furry subculture.

Write Now! Jakebe, Kyell – Friday, January 13 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Marriott: Salon V

Having trouble starting that short story? We’ll present a simple structure for thinking about your story–then you’ll take half an hour to actually start writing it!

The Love – Sex – Fur Guide to Healthy Relationships Makyo – Friday, January 13 – 1:00PM-2:30PM – Marriott: Blossom Hill

Interested in what all goes into having a happy, healthy, positive relationship with you and your partners? Curious on how to make long-distance and in-person relationships work? Come join us in an open panel discussing safe and healthy relationships.

Saturday

Resources and Tech for Furry Writers Makyo, Chipotle Coyote, Blackfeather Tanfur – Saturday, January 14 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

There’s a dizzying array of software, hardware and resources, both online and off, for both established and aspiring writers to use. We’ll talk about our favorites (and least favorites), from Scrivener to InDesign, writing guilds to libraries, and all points between.

Exploring the Fandom Through Data Makyo – Saturday, January 14 – 1:00PM-2:30PM – Marriott: Salan I/II/III

Come join Makyo from [adjective][species] to explore what it means to be a furry using data from seven years of the Furry Survey and several other resources. We’ll investigate the demographics and interests of the fandom to see what it is that makes us who we are.

What’s Your Problem? Jakebe, Kyell, FuzzWolf, Ryan Campbell – Saturday, January 14 – 4:30PM-6:00PM – Marriott: Almaden

Your surefire story was rejected? The panelists talk about common errors (and maybe a few not-so-common ones) that get manuscripts turned away by editors.

Adult Furry Writing Kyell, Rukis, Ryan Campbell – Saturday, January 14 – 10:00PM-11:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

Adult stories are a mainstay in the furry fiction world. Listen to some experienced authors talk about how (and why) to create effective adult stories.

Sunday

Brainstorming in Real Time Jakebe, Kyell – Sunday, January 15 – 11:00AM-12:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

Don’t just stop at your first idea—it’s probably not your best idea! We’ll talk about generating ideas and show you the value of brainstorming in real time, mining for idea gold. Leave this panel with free story ideas!

Philosophy and Furry MakyoCorgi W – Sunday, January 15 – 1:00PM-2:30PM – Marriott: Salon V

Curious about the ways in which we find meaning? How do furries actualize themselves in the world? Come learn about philosophy within furry from Corgi and Makyo.

The Love – Sex – Fur Guide to Safer Sex Makyo – Sunday, January 15 – 3:00PM-4:30PM – Marriott: Blossom Hill

Interested in what all goes into having a happy, healthy, sex-positive relationship with your partners? Curious on how to stay safe while playing? Come join us in an open panel discussing safe and healthy sexuality.

Mindfulness and Transformation in Action Jakebe, Kannik – Sunday, January 15 – 3:00PM-4:30PM – Marriott: Salon V

Being present and mindful is at the heart of nearly every philosophical tradition. This workshop will introduce the fundamentals of Buddhism and Philosophical Ontology, teach some practices that are useful in diffusing and bringing possibility to everyday situations, and will end with a short mindfulness meditation.

Unsheathed Live Kyell, K. M. Hirosaki, Ryan Campbell – Sunday, January 15 – 10:00PM-11:30PM – Marriott: Almaden

Everyone’s favorite highly irregular furry writing podcast returns for a Further Confusion tradition! Join Kyell Gold, K.M. Hirosaki, Not Tube, and special guest Lady Gaga. Or a manatee.

October 2016 is Furry Book Month

This October, we’re raising the profile of anthropomorphic literature and bringing furry stories to a wider audience.

The Furry Writers’ Guild has joined forces with some of our fandom’s great authors and publishers to offer special deals during the month, from free shipping and discount codes to free books.

If you don’t read furry fiction, take advantage of the special offers and try a furry book in October.

Already a reader? Give a book to a friend, try a new author, or write a book review. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads needn’t be long, and really help authors. Got lots to say? Submit a review to [a][s]Flayrah, Dogpatch Press, or Claw & Quill.

What will you do this Furry Book Month? Spread the word on social media using #FurryBookMonth!

Visit furrywritersguild.com/furry-book-month/ for the list of offers.Furry Book Month logo

Furry Book Month logo by Ultrafox

Furry Writing – Fall / Winter 2016

Guest post by Thurston Howl. Thurston is the editor-in-chief of Thurston Howl Publications. The author of several novels, short stories, and poems, he prides himself in the Ursa Major Award winning essay collection he edited, Furries Among Us. He received his BA in English at Vanderbilt University and his MA in English at Middle Tennessee State University. Aside from running a publishing house, he teaches English at a local college, plays piano, dances, and is actively training to be a coffee connoisseur.

The past several years, a growing trend has entered the furry publishing market: the anthology. While anthologies became a most popular form of literature, particularly in genre fiction in the mid-twentieth century, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the furry anthology became a popular form of furry literature (explicitly marketed to the furry community). By now, however, almost every furry publishing house has their own signature annual anthology. FurPlanet has its Bad Dog Books anthologies, FANG and ROAR (both having just published their seventh volume). SofaWolf has the mostly erotic collection, HEAT (now with thirteen volumes), and New Fables. Rabbit Valley Press publishes the annual Tales from the Guild, featuring writers from the Furry Writers Guild. Thurston Howl Publications recently started its series, SPECIES, in which each volume centers on a different furry species. Note that most, if not all, of these houses publish many other anthologies every year, with Altered States; Inhuman Acts; and Gods with Fur coming to mind immediately. These types of furry anthologies have been the recipients of many awards, including the Ursa Major Award and the Coyotl Award.

Perhaps, it is no wonder that the genre has reached such popularity. Anthologies, especially in the furry fandom, have a myriad of strengths:

  1. They allow multiple authors a simultaneous chance at publication, drawing in a clientele for publishing houses.
  2. They allow readers diversity when they buy the books.
  3. They are easier ways for authors to build their writing credits; easier than a full-on novel contract.
  4. They are much easier to market as fifteen authors are sharing with friends and family, rather than just one.
  5. Having an annual anthology series builds a repeating fanbase, with fans who want Volume 2, Volume 3, etc.

Plus, the anthologies give incredibly unique flavor to the personas of each publishing house. Fred Patten has written numerous articles on the various differences between the houses, and many of these differences are reflected in their anthologies. While one favors sci fi and fantasy, another favors more erotic elements.

In essence, furry anthologies are great for the publishers, the writers, and the readers: a win-win-win scenario.

With the end of the year fast approaching and with the rise of new smaller houses, such as Thurston Howl Publications and Weasel Press, it is often a challenge for writers to either find the right calls-for-submissions (CFS) or keep up with the constant barrage of deadlines. Here is a link for a general schedule of CFS until the end of the year. This schedule provides all links to the submission guidelines as well as provides the same basic information listed below.

Below are some details for the upcoming anthologies:

Civilized Beasts – Poetry — October 1

  • Publisher: Weasel Press
  • Payment: Print copy
  • Editors: Dwale and Munchkin
  • Theme: This is a not-for-profit poetry anthology about animals with the following sub-theme in mind: “outside observation of animals, in the mind of animals, symbolism of animals.”

The Dogs of War — October 1

  • Reprints allowed: no
  • Word count: 4,000-20,000
  • Editor: Fred Patten
  • Payments $0.005/wd and print copy; future discount on print copies
  • Publisher: FurPlanet
  • Theme: “These can range from actual warfare to peacetime training-camp scenarios (which may be humorous) to recruiting; from large division operations to small commando actions. They can range from funny-animal multispecies armies to armies of one species versus another; from fighting in animal civilizations to uplifted animal soldiers fighting in human wars. The emphasis should be on military action, not politics; but as Clausewitz defined war as “the continuation of politics by other means”, a story may be heavily political as long as military action is at least threatened. Despite the title, which is a Shakespeare reference (to Julius Caesar), we want stories with a variety of anthropomorphic animals; not just dogs.”

Zoomorphic Anthology of Oceanic Life – Fiction and Nonfiction — October 10

  • Multiple subs: no
  • Word count: 500-3,000
  • Publisher: Zoomorphic
  • Theme: This will be ZOAC’s first printed anthology and centers around marine life.

Seven Deadly Sins: Furry Confessions — November 1

  • Word count: 2,500-8,000
  • Payment: Print copy
  • Reprints: acceptable
  • Multiple subs: up to three
  • Editor: Thurston Howl
  • Publisher: Thurston Howl Publications
  • Theme: Seven Deadly Sins has been a literary trope for centuries, popularized by Italian poet Dante. They are as follows: pride, greed, lust, wrath, gluttony, envy, and sloth. This collection will be divided respectively into the seven parts. We want to see anthro-animal characters at their darkest and weakest moments: at the whorehouse, at the chopping block, in the morgue, in the dining room with the candlestick. It is perfectly fine but not required if submissions are NSFW. We are honestly expecting a fair amount of horror—especially in Wrath—and erotica—especially in Lust. However, again, adult stories are by no means required for acceptance. All story submissions must be “furry” in nature.

Purrfect Tails — November 1

  • Editor: Tarl Hoch
  • Word count: 3,000-10,000
  • Payment: $0.005/wd
  • Simultaneous subs: no
  • Multiple subs: yes
  • Theme: Nekos: A neko is a female or male character with cat traits, such as cat ears, a cat tail, or other feline characteristics on an otherwise human body. These can range from just having the ears and tail, to having a light downy fur, slitted eyes, retractable claws, pointed teeth, etc. What we are NOT looking for is anthropomorphic feline characters. (ala: Furries) Neko girls and boys have been a staple in manga and anime for as long as those have been a thing. Ranging from saucy sex kittens to innocent pet characters, these nekos have been engaging readers, pulling them into fascinating stories of all types. This anthology is centered on engaging erotic stories that are about these feline beings. The story MUST have a neko character (boy or girl) who is either the main character or a major character. The neko character MUST be involved in the sex, and the sex has to be hot, explicit and needed to move the plot and story forward. The erotic content can be straight, bi, gay, or some combination thereof. The erotic content does not need to be vulgar or super graphic, but if that style fits the story then go for it. We are looking for erotica, not porn. Romance is welcome but not a requirement for the erotica. Ideally, we are looking for positive ending stories. This does not mean you cannot have a sad ending, just that there won’t be as many of those stories accepted into the anthology.

Equus — November 30

  • Payment: $10.00; print copy
  • Reprints: no
  • Simultaneous subs: acceptable
  • Multiple subs: no
  • Word length: under 7,500
  • Publisher: World Weaver Press
  • Theme: “Horses are represented in mythology and folklore from Paleolithic right up to modern times. What is it about these magnificent creatures that fascinates us and captures our hearts? Is it their intelligence, their power, their beauty or something else that draw us to them? That is just one of the questions we’re going to explore in Equus. I will be looking for stories about every kind of horse from the earthly to the mythological and though I’ll be placing a special emphasis on horses, unicorns and Pegasus, every kind of magical equine is welcome (and really, aren’t they all magical?). Stories with a strong sense of place will have an advantage, as will those which explore the connection (for better or for worse) between equines and humans.”

The Symbol of a Nation — December 1

  • Publisher: GOAL Publications
  • Editor: Fred Patten
  • Word count: 2,000-15,000
  • Reprints: no
  • Payments $0.01/wd; print copy
  • Note: email editor before starting story
  • Theme: “Furries that are the national animals of countries, such as Afghanistan’s snow leopard, Algeria’s fennec, Bangladesh’s tiger, Canada’s beaver, Denmark’s mute swan, Estonia’s barn swallow, France’s rooster (fighting cock), Gambia’s hyena, Honduras’ white-tailed deer, Italy’s wolf, the U.S.’s bald eagle … There are over 200 countries and most of them have a national animal or bird. For this anthology, we are extending the theme to the official animals of provinces and states. There are several animals such as the koala (Queensland) and platypus (New South Wales) of Australia, or the giant squirrel (Maharashtra) and red panda (Sikkim) of India, or the coyote (South Dakota) and raccoon (Tennessee) of North America that are not national animals, but are the official animals of provinces or states. But: this is limited to the officially adopted animals (including birds) of national or sub-national entities only. No sports team mascots, corporate mascots like the NBC peacock, political party mascots, or breakfast cereal mascots. No fictional official animals or countries like Transylvania and vampire bats. However, some countries have both a national animal and a national bird, such as Chile – its animal is the huemal, an Andean deer, and its bird is the Andean condor. We will accept stories featuring either or both. Please make sure that they are official. There are many animals that are often associated with countries, such as the eagle & snake on the Mexican flag, or Mexico’s Chihuahua, but they are not official animals. (Mexico’s official animal is the xoloitzcuintli. Don’t know what that is? Look it up.) If you would like to submit a story, write to the managing editor (Fred Patten) first to find out if that animal or country is already claimed. If you would like to use an animal or country but don’t know what to pair it with, ask the editor or look it up. Stories sent to the editor without checking first may be wasted effort. The rules are more complex than for most furry anthologies. (1) There must be a connection between the animal and the country. If you feature a tapir, the national animal of Belize, make sure that there is something about Belize in the story. (2) No funny animal stories where the characters could just as easily be humans. Make your characters feel like uplifted or evolved animals. Most animals with fur don’t sweat. (3) Try to match the animals to their environments. If they have thick fur, don’t have them wearing thick clothing in humid tropical lands. (Or justify the discrepancy.) Stories may be humorous or serious. There may be humans in the story as secondary characters, but the main character(s) should be furry.”

If you are considering submitting to any anthology, always remember to look closely at the guidelines to make sure you send the proper file format to the right editor. Hell hath no fury like an editor’s scorn at seeing their pet peeves. If ever you have questions / concerns, you can generally feel free to email an editor to seek advice on a particular concern. Plus, seeing your willingness to open a line of communication only speaks praise of your ability to communicate effectively if they do accept your work.

The Shadow of the Future Fell Upon Us

In the year 2001, the Usenet newsgroup alt.lifestyle.furry had been in existence for five years since it’s beginning in June 1996, and its first post in August 1996, and had become a popular site for furries around the world to communicate online. By the year 2000, 540 Furveys from newsgroup participants had been posted, indicating approximately the number of people participating. Posting news and comments on furry topics was the intent of alt.lifestyle.furry, but topics other than furry had become common. Beginning on September 11, their discussion became intensely focused on the terrorist attacks that occurred in the United States and which would soon affect many people all over the world.

Continue reading The Shadow of the Future Fell Upon Us

Editorial: On Irony

Sixteen years ago, I was a not-so-wee lad just starting his freshman year of high school. I had grown a foot and a half in the previous few years, and my voice had fallen down the staircase from alto to baritone. I had just come out to my mom as gay. My favorite saying, which my step-mother hated, was “sarcasm makes the world go ’round”.

And I had just found furry. That too.

Continue reading Editorial: On Irony

Now on Love – Sex – Fur: adult comics and furry

Today, on Love – Sex – Fur, we have a beautifully illustrated comic about the confluence of adult comics and the furry subculture!  Head on over to check it out here!  Note that, as with most all LSF content, the comic is not work-safe.

Yes, LSF is still out there and kicking!  All of our recent submissions have fit more under the purview of [a][s], though, and that’s okay.  This is your reminder, though, that both [adjective][species] and Love – Sex – Fur are always open for submissions, and as is evidenced by a comic post, we welcome submissions of all kinds!

[a][s] on The More You Know – S1E4 – Media in the Furry Fandom

[a][s] had the pleasure to take part in a podcast, alongside Dogpatch Press, exploring furry media.  That is, we wanted to explore how media works within the furry subculture, rather than the ways in which widespread media treats furry.  It was a wonderful way to do a deep-dive into how media – specifically written media – works and spreads within furry.  The whole thing is well worth listening to, so give it ago!

Embedding is disabled at the request of the podcast owner, but you can listen to it in its entirety on its post on YouTube here.

The Furry Canon: Watership Down (Roundtable)

This article in our series debating the Furry Canon is a roundtable discussion of Watership Down by Richard Adams, first published in 1972. Your panelists are JM, Jakebe and Huskyteer.

JM

Jakebe, Huskyteer

Thanks for letting me lead off this roundtable exploration of Watership Down for the [adjective][species] Furry Canon project. Jakebe, I know that this is a book close to your heart, as it is close to the heart of many lapine furries, and by asking me to read and comment you’re risking have me piss all over something personally important.

Continue reading The Furry Canon: Watership Down (Roundtable)