All posts by GuestPost

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.

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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 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)

The Furry Canon: The Chronicles of Narnia

Guest post by HuskyteerHuskyteer writes stories and poems about talking animals. Most of these are published within the furry fandom, but sometimes one escapes into the wild. She enjoys motorcycle adventures, aviation museums, karate and cider.

It’s one of the most iconic moments in literature. Even if you haven’t read the books, or seen a TV or cinema adaptation, you’re probably familiar with the image of a little girl walking through the back of a wardrobe into a snowy forest lit by an old-fashioned streetlamp. Both the scene and the title of the book – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – are sufficiently recognisable to be used as shorthand and appear in parody.

If that scene is all you know, it’s worth delving deeper. As well as the wise and noble, but also slightly terrifying, Aslan – ‘not a tame lion’ – there are creatures ranging from sublime unicorns to ridiculous but heroic mice. Badgers, bears, moles, mice, not to mention non-humans like centaurs, fauns and dryads (the Narnian mythos tends towards the classical).

Continue reading The Furry Canon: The Chronicles of Narnia

Acceptance and Affurmation: Examining Queerness and Normativity Within the Furry Fandom

Guest post by Oxley. Oxley is a relatively new member of the fandom, having only been actively involved for a year–at the time this article was written, he hadn’t attended any conventions, but hopes to continue his work in this area at Midwest Furfest 2016. He is currently looking for feedback and other opinions on this article, and can be reached at his email.


The year is 2015, and marriage has finally been confirmed as a right for all Americans, whether gay, straight, or otherwise. Though the legislation has brought the queer community (sometimes referred to as MOGAI, or “Marginalized Orientations, Genders Alignments, and Intersex”) farther than it has ever been before in its fight for civil rights, talk of marriage now overshadows other important LGBTQ+ issues: many groups still find themselves marginalized and vulnerable in society. As the struggle slowly progresses, though, queer America has found both allies and enemies in the strangest of places. Individuals from some of the most conservative corners of politics have shown solidarity to the queer community, as have major corporations and brands. Nonetheless, their backing has often been motivated by political or economic gains—after all, in many places it would be considered political suicide to denounce marriage equality. Rather, various other communities and subcultures have often proven to be most readily and enthusiastically supportive of social progress. Countless YouTube stars have advocated for marriage equality or even used the site as a medium through which to come out, while common names in music have vehemently opposed restrictions on marriage.

Perhaps the most perplexing source of support for queerness in America, though, comes from the ever-controversial furry fandom. For years, furries have had intrinsic ties with the queer community, as only a minority within their numbers are straight. While furries as a whole have certainly never been a strong voice against equality regarding gender and sexuality, though, their advocacy of gay rights is nonetheless imperfect, and often detrimental to those who do not fit the more easily-recognized definitions of “queer”—that is to say, the transgender population. Still, observing a subcommunity as being a largely queer space offers a peculiar analysis of it, from an angle that is not often used. That said, the intersections between the queer community and the furry fandom provide a valuable insight into modern conventions of normativity, and the queer community’s interactions with society as a whole.

Continue reading Acceptance and Affurmation: Examining Queerness and Normativity Within the Furry Fandom

The Second [adjective][species] Poetry Collection

The moon hangs full and heavy over the clearing, and a bonfire crackles in the still night, sending up swirls of orange sparks as each log falls into ash and ember. Its smoke carries the fragrance of white sage and cedar, of sandalwood, of myrrh. Its light dances over the pattern of stripes, the white ruff, and at last the burning eyes, a wash of gold over emerald as the tigress’ gaze catches and holds.

Greetings, traveler, and welcome. You have the look of a seeker about you — how well I know that restless heart!

There are others of your kind here, ancient and modern, their songs dreaming, wondering, praising. Here, in their words, you might find a moment’s peace, or perhaps there will only be more questions. On a night like this, who can say? Those might be spirits gathered out there, beyond the reach of the flames — but then again, it may only be a trick of the light. That might be a drumbeat; it might be a heartbeat; it might only be your own.

The fire is lit. The smoke is rising. In the end, all questions become one:

Will you come and join the dance?

Continue reading The Second [adjective][species] Poetry Collection

Managing Anti-Social Behavior at Conventions: A Better Approach

Guest article by Flip. Flip has been involved with furry and other fandoms since the late 1980s, running conventions since the mid 90s, and generally being an uberfan. He helps organize Furry Migration, which is held in Minneapolis.

This article is a companion and counterpoint to JM’s recent article, Ideas on Anti-Social Behaviour at Furry Events.

It’s odd when I find myself in such contrasting agreement and disagreement with an article at the same time. For the most part, I AGREE with JM’s article in his goals and even parts of his methodology. However, I do not believe the use of “nudge” dynamics is the best approach. Nudge assumes a sort of passive aggressive control from the staff. Control should not the final goal; responsibility of membership should be the final goal. I am going to suggest a reframing of the argument to better meet this goal.

Continue reading Managing Anti-Social Behavior at Conventions: A Better Approach