Tag Archives: Writing

Furry Non-Fiction Giveaway

There are a lot of writers within the fandom. By our estimates, something like 40% of furries consider themselves writers of a sort. That can mean a lot of things, of course. It could mean that the writer is someone who spends a lot of time writing stories and novels, or it could mean someone who writes one or two non-fiction articles a year for a website with a random wolf mascot.

Either way, there’s a lot of words out there, which can be attested to by the number of furry and furry-friendly publishing houses that have cropped up. One of those houses is Thurston Howl Publications, with whom I work as an editor. The thing that got me interested in working with THP was its anthology Furries Among Us. The first book was an excellent collection of essays on furry – what made it up, what furries did, who was a furry, and so on.

Howl invited me to participate in the second volume, so I had the chance to write a longer article than I normally do. It involves data and gender, to absolutely no one’s surprise ever.

Well, that second volume just came out! You can find it on Amazon for the wallet-friendly price of $7.99.

In a shameless attempt to boost furry non-fiction within and around the fandom, [a][s] is happy to offer a giveaway! Keep an eye on our twitter for the link – there will be ten copies up for grabs, first come, first serve. Note that the link is only applicable for the continental US – Amazon’s restriction, not ours, alas.

While you’re at it, check out Thurston Howl Publications on the web and on twitter.

Furry Migration, The Furry Writers’ Guild, and [a][s]

Howwwwwwdy!

This year, August 25-27, Furry Migration will be taking place in Minneapolis, MN! The guests of honor include voice actor and comedian Malcom Ray, artist Talenshi, and *drumroll* The Furry Writers’ Guild! The Guild’s mission is to support, inform, elevate, and promote quality anthropomorphic fiction and its creators.

I’m posting this here for two and one third reasons.

Continue reading Furry Migration, The Furry Writers’ Guild, and [a][s]

[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.

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.

Furry Cred in Furry Literature; A Furry Opinion

Being an old curmudgeon, I tend not to put a lot of credence in the opinions of others until I’ve established who they are and what they’ve accomplished. I don’t accept medical advice from non-doctors or nurses, for example. Similarly, should I ever experience legal difficulties I’ll spend the money to see an actual lawyer, not ask the patrons of a local bar what they think about the matter. Credibility, in other words, is an important aspect of human existence, and has been ever since we learned to communicate. It’s important, something we weigh and evaluate constantly while going about our everyday lives. Doctors and lawyers are pretty credible as a rule, in part because they belong to professional associations and go through certification processes that at least attempt to keep them that way. But… Is the car salesman who claims you can easily afford what seems to be an outlandishly high monthly payment entirely credible? Or, for that matter, a politician seeking your vote? Just possibly not.

In keeping with the above theme, let me therefore establish my own credentials and perhaps earn a bit of trust in my own right. I’ve been writing furry fiction—mostly transformation-themed—since about 1997. That’s a literary career of almost twenty years and counting. To clarify, I don’t mean that I’ve been poking around at writing for that long, or that I’ve written a story here and there over that period of time. Rather, I’ve been a serious, high-output furry writer for almost two decades, having written roughly twenty-five published novels and novellas, probably about the same number of short stories, and maybe another hundred mostly “internet storyverse” works of various lengths. Accomplishing this— alongside maintaining a full-time job and owning my own home— has required me, in essence, to think about furry fiction and very little but furry fiction and the furry characters which define it for many hours a week, over a span of time that constitutes most of the history of the fandom to date.

Perhaps the thing I think about the most is, why should a given character be furry in the first place?

Continue reading Furry Cred in Furry Literature; A Furry Opinion

The Role of Reviews in Furry: Another Perspective

JM Horse wrote an article Monday titled “The Role of Criticism Within Furry, or: Buy This Article,” which described pretty well the state of reviewing within the furry community (defined both as reviewing of furry works and reviews by furries, which are more or less a perfect circle Venn diagram at this point in time). There were a couple things he missed, namely describing some of the reasons particular to the furry community that shape the state of reviews. He also only really touched on the role of reviews in the fandom, so I’d like to offer my perspective as a long-time author in the fandom.

As he wrote, furry is a tight-knit community, and most members are also creators of one sort or another (note the number of disclaimers in this post). This is why I don’t generally review furry fiction unless I think it is something worthwhile that most people will overlook (Rukis’s “Heretic” was an example). Many other authors take this tack, and we have very few people in the fandom who are, like Fred Patten, dedicated readers, not authors, and good enough writers to pen a review.

Continue reading The Role of Reviews in Furry: Another Perspective

The Role of Criticism Within Furry, or: Buy This Article

The majority of furries create and contribute to our community in one way or another. Few furries are just consumers.

Our art encompasses a wide range of media, with a focus on creations that help bring our imaginary furry world to life. We have a lot of visual artists and a lot of writers, and it’s no surprise that two of our biggest online gathering places—Fur Affinity and SoFurry—were originally settled by each of these two groups.

With so many contributors and contributions, it’s inevitable that the quality of art is often pretty poor. That’s a good thing, because we are an inclusive community, where the emphasis is on contributing and sharing, rather some race for a prize. Furries draw and furries write because they enjoy the process, and because they are contributing to the collective community. In many cases, people hope to improve and aspire to take their art further. It’s the sort of collaborative environment that creates artists, and we within furry can be proud to have bred and encouraged so many talented people.

Some artists—the focus of this piece is on furry writing, but it equally applies to visual art—look to sell their works, in either hard-copy format or as ebooks. Those works that are for sale, ideally, should represent the best of furry writing and be worth their cost to the buyer. Sadly that is not always the case.

Continue reading The Role of Criticism Within Furry, or: Buy This Article

Further Reading

[adjective][species] may be the best place for furry non-fiction and opinion writing, but it’s not the only place. In recent weeks we have been blessed with some outstanding pieces published around the traps, which I would like to share with you here:

  • Some Notes on Contemporary Furry Affairs by Michael Arthur over on Hooded Utilitarian. It’s an intelligent and critical look at Scar (subtitle: A One Night Stand with the Lion Queen), Rocket Raccoon, and Bojack Horseman.
  • Rob Checks His Privilege on Rob Baird’s blog. Rob is a furry writer, talking about creating and consuming “problematic” art and porn.
  • An Interview with Neonbunny, by Patch over on Dogpatch Press, following Neonbunny from San Francisco counterculture to his promotion of furry nightclub Frolic.

Enjoy!

Furry Mythology

One day, a fox and a cat were walking through a field. The cat seemed unusually distracted, however, despite the fox’s animated conversation. While the fox surely noticed, she did her best to try and draw the cat out through sheer ebullience. It had worked in the past, why not now?

 

“What’s bothering you?” the fox asked, relenting.

 

“Oh, it’s nothing,” said the cat.

 

“Come on, if it was nothing, you wouldn’t be such a sourpuss, now, would you?” the fox joked.

 

The cat was unamused. “It’s…really nothing. I can’t say. It’s a secret.”

 

“That’s three things. Is it nothing, can you not say, or is it a secret?”

 

The cat blushed in his ears, “It’s a secret.”

 

“Can you tell me?” asked the fox.

 

“No, then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore!” frumped the cat.

 

The fox and the cat walked on in silence for a bit. The secret was clearly bothering the cat, but the fox couldn’t think of how to help.

 

“I know,” said the fox, brightening up. “You can tell your secret to my tail. Not even I know what my tail thinks. You can get it off your chest, and no one need actually learn your secret.

 

The cat thought for a moment, and then nodded, “Okay, but put your paws over your ears!”

 

The fox put her paws over her ears and stood still, admiring the scenery, while the cat put his muzzle in the dense fur of the fox’s tail and whispered his secret, weaving it through the fur. The fox heard nothing but the rustle of pawpads in fur, the cat felt immensely better getting whatever it was off his chest that he needed to, and the tail, to this day, has never let slip the cat’s secret. That is why it is said that a good way to feel better is to weave your secrets through a fox’s tail: they will surely be kept safe with not even the fox knowing them.

Continue reading Furry Mythology

When You’ve Said Too Much

I’ve long been fascinated by the art of communication. While writing is my forte, I’m also fascinated by radio—I was a teen-aged disc jockey for a time at an educational station—and just about all other forms of gasbaggery. One of the things that has struck me most profoundly over the years is how much all the various means of exchanging thoughts and ideas have in common with each other at the basic level.

Over the years I’ve chosen a very few favorite literary passages and other odds and ends of communication and thought long and hard about what makes them work so well. One is an excerpt from Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, more specifically the arrival of the Midnight Circus Train. Another is the last few paragraphs of Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, which never leaves me dry-eyed. A third is a lesser-known but still famous scene from book five of the Horatio Hornblower series (Beat to Quarters was the American title) by C.S. Forester in which the protagonist, half-mad from noise and terror and the strain of command in the most brutal sort of combat struggles to maintain his sanity as he (largely by pure force of will) stands for hour after hour in the hot sun with the corpses of his friends and shipmates piling up ever deeper all around him. These are all three of them brilliant gems of the literary art, and each achieved much of their impact using very different techniques. Indeed, they share only a single thing in common.

Not one of them is one syllable longer than they absolutely must be in order to achieve the effect intended. Indeed, each is remarkably short compared to the power they command in the reader’s mind. Not a shred of “non-essential” or “second-rate” material is present to water down the impact of the rest.

Continue reading When You’ve Said Too Much