Asian American And Pacific Islander Heritage Month Spotlight: Robert Baird

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another FWG interview! In honor of Asian American And Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’ve reached out to several Asian furry authors to gain their perspectives on writing, every day life, and more. Today’s interview features Robert Baird.

Robert has been writing and posting stories within the fandom for over seventeen years so there’s no denying their experience. They were born in the United States but are currently residing in Berlin. With the introductions finished, let’s get on to the interview.

FWG: What would you say makes a good story?

Robert: I tend to gravitate towards stories with characters I can relate to, I think. I think a good story should be able to put the reader in someone else’s shoes. Not necessarily just to see new places or have new experiences, but even seeing the familiar through someone else’s eyes. I like that kind of intimacy, I think.

FWG: If you could convince everyone to read a single piece of literature right now, what would it be?

Robert: Okay, talk about being put on the spot. I’ll lead in by saying that I’m not sure there is one single piece of literature that I think will resonate with everyone, or maybe that is important for everyone to read, I find that I come back to A Canticle for Liebowitz often. I find something evocative in the idea of rebuilding, and perhaps also in the idea that we, as readers, might be aware of the cycles of history and I guess perhaps to break them.

FWG: Speaking of history, how would you say your heritage has affected your writing?

Robert: That’s also been cyclical, I guess I would say. Growing up, I never really thought too much about other cultures, and definitely not really my own. My dad was very “American,” I guess—things like Japanese folklore or observations weren’t much of a part of our lives. That fell to my mom to be a bit more interested.

As an adult, though, I’d say I’ve become a bit more aware of the way that other cultures are portrayed in popular culture, and I’ve made the effort to be more conscientious about that myself. It is less, if you follow, so much my heritage makes me want to write about Setsubun as it is that it makes me not want to write about other cultures in a way that is… “flattening,” for lack of a better word?

FWG: Trying to make sure you’re accurately depicting other cultures, making them interesting and engaging so people understand their significance. Something like that?

Robert: Yeah. It sounds funny to even describe dad as “assimilated”—he’s second-generation, we had a very “American” kind of childhood. And so it really wasn’t until fairly recently that I started to realize the kind of subtler ways that representation matters.

Even in furry, I think — maybe because of its crossover with anime and perhaps some of the more exoticizing science fiction — there is a disconnect between, I guess, the reality of a culture and how it’s portrayed. Which from a writing point of view, that also means there’s so much nuance that gets lost. It’s almost like a reduction to the most monolithic common denominator.

FWG: Is there something you’ve learned about Japanese culture through your explorations as an adult you notice people tend to get wrong often?

Robert: I think, bluntly, there can be — or there was when I was in college, maybe; perhaps it’s started to fade — a sort of putting it on a pedestal, or treating Japanese culture as sort of aspirational, in a way that masks some of the maybe less savory aspects? I guess the converse is true as well, though.

Americans in particular tend to view East Asians, I think, as pretty well integrated into the American fabric. I was in my 30s when I realized that my grandparents’ names weren’t actually “Mary” and “Harry,” or that Japanese immigrant weren’t allowed to naturalize until the 1950s. That’s not something my dad talked about. As I said, there’s just a lot of nuance that makes for a great of complexity.

I think the way that cultures get reduced to evocative imagery or interesting stories also masks the extent to which that presentation is a deliberate construct. My dad and his parents were on their way to being interned before a white farmer decided he could use some extra help. But I never really heard about that. I heard more about my relatives who served in the 82nd Airborne at Normandy. That’s part of a deliberate process of constructing one’s own history.

FWG: On another tough issue, a lot of discussions have begun in the United States surrounding the Stop Asian Hate movement. As someone not living in the states, have you been forced to deal with any of the unfortunate bigotry people have been facing since the beginning of the pandemic?

Robert: So. Yes. But—and there’s a significant “but” here—the character of it is a little different in Europe, or at least in Germany. I’ve definitely had people warn me about parts of town it’s best not to go to, but for the most part it’s been subtler. Not overt dislike or even overt racism but more an awkward lack of familiarity.

That said, I know acquaintances here who’ve gotten some slurs or, you know, COVID-related accusations thrown at them on public transit, say. And I have, thankfully, not had to experience any of them.

FWG: Would you have any suggestions on how other authors (or any of our readers) can be allies and support Asian people during this time?

Robert: So I’ll say that in general I’ve been very fortunate, both here and in the United States. Most of it was sort of playground-level nonsense. I’d say that kind of points at my answer to your question.

Two things. One is that, if you’re a kid of the 90s, like I am… y’know, I grew up on the Internet, in this kinda “don’t be so sensitive” environment. I would say do your best to genuinely consider the impact of things that you’d otherwise be inclined to dismiss as harmless or “just joking” or whatever. It adds up, and the thing is, it doesn’t have to. We could be better about that.

The second thing I would say is to remember that cultures are not monolithic. There is no one “Asian-American experience.” I would venture to say there’s not even one “Pacific Northwestern half-Japanese-American experience.” We should always expect to see diversity, and to look for the empathy that lets us understand that there are millions of Asian-American voices and none of us speak for all of us.

So we should strive for the empathy to listen without needing what we hear to be an answer, or a canonical explanation— just another picture of that complex patchwork that is any and maybe especially one that has been in the spotlight so harshly but at the same time gets viewed as “the model minority.

FWG: Any last things you’d like to tell the folks reading?

Robert: No, I would say “thank you” to you for reaching out. And I would say to readers, I hope I’ve said something you can take home as useful or helpful. But also, that not everyone will agree, probably! And you should expect that! I do!

And I think it’s a constant project to, y’know, keep our ears perked to hear why, and listen. I try to do that myself, and to remember that the world is complex, that it is always better to err on the side of compassion, and that I hope we’re all getting better at it.

We would like to thank Robert once again for letting us interview them! You can find their work on their website, Writing.Dog, and follow their adventures in life on Twitter @matrioshkadog. We hope you enjoyed this interview and will tune in next week to see the next author we have to feature. Until next time, may your words flow like water.

FWG Monthly Newsletter: April 2021

Welcome back once more for another monthly newsletter! “Wait, don’t these usually go out on the first of the month?” Yes they do, but we waited an extra day so we could share this exciting announcement!

We have had many authors ask for a tool to help advertise being open for commissions. At the same time, we’ve seen many fans of furry literature coming to Guild spaces asking for people to buy them from. So we got to work with the help of some friends in the Furry community to make it happen.

The Furry Writers’ Guild has teamed up with The Dealer’s Den to add the Writers Outlet to the Dealer’s Den Network of chats! The Dealer’s Den has been a staple as the auction website of the furry community for many years so we’re incredibly excited to have their expertise as a partner on this project.

This will be a place to post advertisements for taking custom commissions, openings for markets to write for, selling published works, and for anyone on the lookout for good furry fiction. Please check out the chatroom to see everything it has to offer.

You can find all kinds of submission calls for Furry writing in our Furry Writers’ Market! Currently, these markets are open.

Make sure to not miss the 2020 Coyotl Awards Presentation! It will be taking place on Saturday, May 8th at 10AM Pacific/1PM Eastern/6PM UTC. Please visit the Coyotl Awards website to get further details. We look forward to seeing who you all voted for.

One last thing: this month is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In honor 0f this, we’ll be featuring interviews with several Asian authors this month on our blog. Be sure to check these out to gain some new perspectives on the craft of writing and learn the bit about the heritage and culture of some of our guild’s finest authors.

Keep staying safe and offer yourself kindness when drawing on those creative capabilities during these tough times.

– FWG President Linnea “LiteralGrill” Capps

FWG Monthly Newsletter: March 2021

Welcome back once more for another monthly newsletter! Normally we release these at the beginning of a month but seeing as how April 1st is incoming, we thought it might be safer to send this out early. So let’s get to it!

First: we are in serious need of volunteer staff. For the guild to continue growing, we need folks to help fill in positions. We have a need for chat admin staff for future projects, folks with experience in website maintenance, and have been in need of a dedicated Public Relations Officer for the past year. To be able to keep making bigger projects happen, we need that extra help to keep things running smoothly. Please contact me on telegram (@LiteralGrill), Twitter (@Linnturong), or on the FWG Discord if you are interested in volunteering.

Don’t forget that the 2020 Cóyotl Awards are now open for votes! The ballot can be found here. Voting closes on April 30th so make sure to get those votes in ASAP. For those interested, we compiled some interesting stats about the award for its 10th anniversary that can be found on the FWG Blog.

Next, we would like to welcome our new Markets Manager: Vincenzo “Halfbloodcheetah” Pascuarella! Any members or publishers that know of new markets that would be good fits for furry authors should contact them with details to keep our Furry Writers’ Market up to date.

Finally, we are proud to share the 2020 Oxfurred Comma Flash Fiction Collection is now available for download for free to anyone that wants a copy! It’s available in multiple formats and can be downloaded on Smashwords.

You can find all kinds of submission calls for Furry writing in our Furry Writers’ Market! Currently, these markets are open.

One last thing this month. As of today, those interested in running for guild officer positions should post in the appropriate section of the forum between now and April 30th in accordance with our Code of Conduct. We encourage anyone interested in helping promote anthropomorphic fiction to run and help make the guild stronger than ever before.

That’s all for now, so until next time: may your words flow like water.

– FWG President Linnea “LiteralGrill” Capps

2020 Cóyotl Award Voting Is Now Open!

The votes have been tallied and we now have the nominees for the 2020 Cóyotl Awards! Voting takes place until April 30th and is open to all FWG Members and Associate Members. The ballot is available here. Here are your 2020 nominees!




  • “The Battler” by Cedric G! Bacon in Even Furries Hate Nazis
  • “Water” by Utunu in The Voice of Dog (Audio part 1part 2PDF)
  • “Summer Strawberries” by Mary E. Lowd in The Voice of Dog (Audio)
  • “Nazis Should Never Be Normal” by Nathan Hopp in Even Furries Hate Nazis



The awards have a long history having spanned over ten years. There are have been many works nominated in that time — 152 total. We thought that with the vote open this year we might share a few fun statistics and facts about the award with you all.

  • 2020 is the first year a new category has been added to the awards since 2013.
  • The 2011 awards separated SFW works from NSFW works for voting.
  • Only three authors have ever had two pieces up for votes in the same category during a single year: Sarina Dorie for Best Short Story in 2012, Renee Carter Hall for Best Short Story in 2013, and Alopex for Best Anthology in 2013.
  • Kyell Gold has had the most works nominated for Best Novel at six novels (eight if you count his works as Tim Susman).
  • Kyell also has been nominated for Best Novella the most times with five nominations but is closely followed by Frances Pauli with four nominations.
  • The authors most nominated for Best Short Story are Mary E. Lowd and Sparf tied at three stories.
  • The late Fred Patten has edited the most nominated anthologies for Best Anthology with a total of four.
  • Gre7g Luterman is the only author to win a Cóyotl Award, a Leo Literary Award, and an Ursa Major Award in a single year for the same work (Fair Trade in 2019).
  • Renee Carter Hall has won the most Cóyotl Awards with a grand total of four. She is also the only author to win two awards in a single year, which happened during the inaugural 2011 Cóyotl Awards.

Hopefully these fun facts were as illuminating as they were entertaining! Don’t forget to be a part of Cóyotl Awards history by voting for our current nominee. Until next time, may your word flow like water.

Interview: CK CrinkleKid On Marketing And Writing ABDL Fiction

Before we begin today’s interview, we would like to offer a content warning for those do not which to see anything related to ABDL, Babyfurs, or similar subjects. We would also like to remind people of our Code of Conduct and our expectations for members and prospective members to be kind and respectful. This will not be a place to debate the merits of ABDL — this will be a place to learn about writing for a niche community and get tips for marketing from an expert. Anyone wanting a better understanding of the ABDL community can find a general primer on it here.

Welcome back once again FWG Members and readers! Today we have the opportunity to share a unique perspective on writing with you all thanks to our interview with CK Crinklekid. This forty-two year old author lives in North Central Florida and works for a marketing agency that specializes in sever-figure and eight-figure business.

In his off hours, he writes fiction and poetry predominantly with science fiction of fantasy themes. In his even more off hours, he writes anthropomorphic adult fiction and erotica for the ABDL (Adult Baby/Diaper Lover) and Babyfur communities. His work has been published in various genre publications including Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine and is the author of the BabyFur novel The New Job: The Diapered Adventures of Maxwell Covington.

With the introductions out of the way, let’s get on to the interview!

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?

CK: Honestly, I think characterization is one of the most important elements of any good story. Your characters need to be as close to living, breathing, three-dimensional people as you can get them. The more whole and fleshed-out their characterization is, the more readers will love (or hate, or fear!) them. I find that really compelling characters do half the work of writing the story for me, because if I truly understand who my characters are, what motivates them, what their strengths and weaknesses are, then it’s much easier to have them interact with each other and with the main plot elements in a believable way.

I think that applies to any kind of fiction, whether it’s sexy adult fiction or high adventure. Real people are made up of lots of different elements: I can be sweet and fun, I can be grumpy on my bad days, I can be petty when I’m really annoyed. It’s that multifaceted part of us that makes us who we are, and I think the closer you can get your characters to mimic that, the more the reader will care what happens to them. Your villain shouldn’t be evil just to be evil… that’s too one-dimensional. Real-world villains never see themselves as the bad guys. And the heroes can be noble and brave while still having their own personal demons.

FWG: Can you tell us a bit about your novel?

CK: It’s definitely firmly within the fetish erotica category, but I really want it to be more than that. The main character, Max, is a nineteen year-old golden retriever who has recently gone off to college, and he has struggled for a long time with his sexuality and his kink interests. Out of boredom, he applies for a help wanted ad, but the job he’s offered turns out to be far, far more than he expected. In accepting the job, Max is forced to confront things he has been suppressing for a long time, including his interest in the ABDL fetish.

I wrote the cast of the story to be a broad exploration of masculinity in all its forms. There’s an effeminate drag queen, a trans man, a real bully… the characters run the gamut. In part, the book was my effort to have my own personal “kink reckoning” with myself, and in part it’s giving me a chance to really explore what masculinity means to me.

I’ve always had an interest in the ABDL kink, but it was something I really struggled to accept within myself. And I’ve struggled with my own gender identity as well; I’m a cis guy but I don’t really feel like I identify well with other cis guys and “traditional masculinity”, but I also don’t identify as female. So, in a sense, Max’s adventures are really a way for me to better understand myself and where I fit into the world. And my goal is that other “weird little queer boys” will find some comfort in my stories in a way that I wish I’d been able to have when I was younger.

FWG: So you wrote something within a niche (Furry) for an even more niche audience (ABDL). Yet you’ve been able to sell 189 copies of the book in 8 months since its release. Were there any unique challenges marketing something with what most would consider to be a very small audience?

CK: Challenges AND opportunities, I would say. The biggest challenge that I’ve experienced was the fact that I came out of the blue as a virtually unknown writer within the niche, so building an audience had to start from scratch. I did have a few people within the ABDL community who have followed me over from my YouTube channel, but that was a pretty small audience to start out with.

However, the opportunity to marketing to a very small niche is that they’re really hungry for great content. There aren’t a lot of professional writers who write for them, and so they definitely want content. The challenge is making them aware that I exist.

That’s where I’ve been fortunate. I’ve made a lot of amazing friends who have helped spread my story around through word of mouth, and that got the attention of the organizers of Babyfur Con. They invited me to host a panel at their most recent virtual convention, where I got to sit alongside some truly amazing visual artists within the Babyfur community, like Marci, Wen and Jadefox. If you know anything at all about the Babyfur community, you probably know those names because they’re each just amazing, legendary artists who draw Babyfur art.

The convention panel was a huge success and really got my name out there, and it just keeps spreading as more and more people discover my novel. It makes me super proud and SUPER appreciative.

FWG: Having the opportunity to participate in a panel like that seems like an amazing promotional opportunity. Are there other avenues like that you would suggests authors explore if they want to promote their works?

CK: Step one is to understand who your audience is, who would most appreciate the content you’re creating. Then step two is to go meet them where they are. You could do things like reach out to the hosts of podcasts relevant to your audience to see if they’d be interested in doing a collaboration or an interview. Definitely network with other content creators who are creating content for your audience too; I can’t tell you how many doors have been opened for me by other amazing writers, YouTubers, podcast hosts, magazines, etc.

And then the most important thing is to make sure that what you’re writing, you’re writing from the heart. Write for yourself first, because that authenticity comes through in your writing. If you’re telling a compelling story, whether it’s lesbian lizard erotica or a deconstruction of capitalism through a cosmic horror allegory, your audience will appreciate your work more if you’re writing your truth. That resonates with people and can build word-of-mouth buzz that can take you far.

FWG: As someone who works in marketing for a career, are there any other general tips you could offer authors of publishers to make it easier for potential new readers to find their works?

CW: MAKE. A. WEBSITE. I can’t stress enough how important that is. Especially as we move into the second year of pandemic lockdown, online is everything. A single central hub for your writing looks professional, and it allows you to bring in new readers through search engine optimization. It also gives you a link you can put into your social media profiles to direct readers to learn more about you. It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated, and services like Squarespace or Wix make it very easy to design something that looks professional. But a website is practically a must, even if it’s just a single page that links to other sites where you host your writing (like DeviantArt or FurAffinity).

The other thing I would suggest is to be as active as possible on social media. People appreciate someone who is engaging and accessible, and having a strong social media presence can help you network and meet people to get your message out. Try to avoid being overly “self-promoting” though. That reads as inauthentic. Just be your genuine self and engage with other people in a natural way. That matters so much!

FWG: All authors have had to deal with people who dislike their works at times, or even downright trolls. With the nature of ABDL as a fetish, have you had to deal with this? If so, how have you gone about handling it?

CK: Oh, for sure. There’s this ongoing assumption in the vanilla world that ABDL = pedophile, which simply isn’t true. But there’s definitely pushback that the community has to face all the time, as unfortunate as it is. Honestly, the biggest thing is to remember that someone who is throwing shade or hating on you is usually doing so from a place of fear and not understanding. It’s no different than how rock & roll used to be “the devil’s music”, or how Catcher In The Rye was a “banned book”. People who lash out usually do so from a place of ignorance, and I think it’s important to remember that and try not to take it personally.

With that said, I firmly believe that it’s not the victim’s responsibility to educate their bully, either. So, it’s important to know what your options are and to use them; muting or blocking the person from contacting you and, if necessary, reporting harassment to moderators is always a tool you can use.

In my case, part of why I struggled for some 20 years to come to terms with my AB (adult baby) interests was because I thought people would look down on me for it. And you know what? Some people probably do. But at this stage in my life, I’ve learned that… well, frankly I don’t care what other people think of me. I like myself, and that’s something I really wasn’t able to honestly say through my 20s and early 30s. I feel like taking pride in yourself takes all the power from the bullies, and so generally speaking what little negativity I’ve gotten from others has bounced right off.

FWG: As this is likely many Furry author’s first exposure to things like ABDL, if you could tell them one thing about it and the Babyfur community in general, what would it be?

CK: That it’s just like any other fandom. For some people it’s sexual, for others it’s just a fun hobby. Some people take it to 11 and live 24/7 like toddlers, while others just dip a toe in. It’s a diverse, wonderful community of brave, amazing people. And it is NOT anything like it is so often portrayed in shock media. But the most important thing to know is that it’s a bunch of grown adults who enjoy things like diapers and toys and colorful clothing, and it has nothing at all to do with real children. It probably seems weird to someone outside looking in, but the same could be said for just about every other community, fandom and kink on the internet.

FWG: Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

CK: Keep writing, and always write the things that matter to you. Your best writing will always be the writing you do for yourself and then share with others. And don’t give up! If my weird little super gay furry kink novel can find its audience, you can too!

We would like to thank CK for sitting down to chat with us and offer his unique perspective and expertise. He can be found on Twitter @CKCrinklekid and more information on his writing can be found on his website. You can purchase his novel, The New Job: The Diapered Adventures of Maxwell Covington, on Amazon. Until next time, may your words flow like water.

Guest Post: Linnea Capps On Potential Improvements To Furry Anthology Submission Calls

Hello Furry Writers’ Guild! I know it’s a bit silly to call this a guest post, but I was hoping to take of my President hat for a moment to write a post for the blog on a personal experience and I thought that it would be far more fitting. Recently, an anthology I am involved in editing had its submission call reach a larger audience of folks who haven’t worked with traditional Furry publishers before and it caused quite a stir.

I help maintain the Furry Writers’ Market so I see all the submission calls put out by the community. This call didn’t look like anything out of the ordinary. However, gaining these fresh perspectives from outside eyes showed me there are ways we could try to improve submission calls in the community to help attract more authors to write for anthologies.

I want to personally thank Personalias, Daddy Wuffster, and CK Crinklekid for opening up these discussions. I hope the information I can share with you all here can help all of us find new ways to improve the anthology process. With the preamble finished, I’ll get to the good stuff!

New Authors Don’t Know About Furry Publishing Standards

I say this not as an insult, but more of as a fact that somehow we’ve all been missing. We as authors, publishers, and editors, are used to the general process involved here. This isn’t the case to people brand new to the writing scene in general or those looking at submitting to an anthology for the first time.

For example, it’s standard for anthologies to include a section about the authors where they can promote themselves. We may know this, but an outside observer would have no clue. When we lack this transparency, even if accidentally, it’s easy for someone to look at a submission call and feel like something shady is happening. With this in mind, here are some of the things I was directly told would be awesome to see in submission calls from outside observers.

  • The anthology payment is placed prominently on top of the call, not buried after explanations of stories that are being looked for.
  • Mentioning the promotional section for authors.
  • Stating the period of exclusivity for stories.
  • Stating if stories can can use their stories as the basis for other works like sequels or continuations.
  • Directly state how stories should be formatted for submission. (My number one question from new authors as President is how do I format submissions. A link to the Standard Manuscript Format could help with this.)

These suggestions made a lot of sense to me and I am positive there are more things that we take for granted but outside observers would have no clue about we don’t explicitly mention. The potential to make submissions more attractive to submit to through transparency and clarity is something we all should consider.

Payment For Anthology Stories

This will not be a debate on payment for anthologies being too low. Furry publishers cannot feasibly offer SFWA rates of eight cents per word and be able to reasonably continue production. A half cent per word has been standard for some time and some projects like Difursity have even managed to offer higher rates. In general, compensation for anthology writing has been on the rise as of late in terms of flat rates and contributor’s copies offered which is an exciting prospect.

Now, several anthologies have offered contributor’s copies as payment for their work as the only payment. This can make a lot of sense as many authors end up buying a copy of the book they are in and want a copy. With many anthologies being passion projects made more for authors than readers, this makes a lot of sense. Sometimes, the flat rate that could be offered would be less than the cost of buying the book in the first place, so to those in the community this makes sense as payment.

However, it’s easy for this to look like this is a typical vanity press scam to those who aren’t familiar with the process. This became very apparent when this became a discussion on Twitter with people upset authors were being paid “in exposure” but becoming more understanding once the situation was better explained to them. With this in mind, I was given two suggestions to improve on this.

  • Have publishers offer either a contributor’s copy OR monetary compensation (author’s choice).
  • Allow authors to buy the anthology at cost (or at least at a discount).

This would make it easier for outside observers to see authors are not simply being paid “in exposure” which is good optics for everyone involved. Making contributor’s copies easier to purchase could also benefit publishers and authors as well. Cheaper books create the potential for authors to purchase copies for giveaways (which grows both the publisher’s and the author’s audience) and provides another perk for authors in terms of payment. For those who writing is mostly a hobby, being able to buy copies of the book they can share with friends and family at a better price point would help bridge that gap between half a cent a word and a full eight cents per word.

Making Submissions More Attractive To Independent Authors

As previously mentioned, many Furry authors write as a way to engage with the fandom, promote Furry literature as a while, and enjoy their hobby. The goal isn’t always to make a big profit or get famous. However, plenty of authors are able to make livings (or at least have an impressive side hustle) purely writing commissions, running a Patreon, or getting donations from stories on gallery sites.

Traditional publishers cannot manage to offer the lean production a single self-published author can when producing their work and that is understandable. However, we need to realize that as it stands many anthology submissions calls would be a detriment for some of these authors to submit to.

If an author is making less on their anthology story than they would get writing a commission, what is the value in submitting to a publisher? Maybe it’s the prestige of being featured in a very competitive anthology or an easier chance to win awards. Maybe it’s just wanting to see a story in a printed book.

However, even the best furry anthologies don’t sell more copies than the views more popular authors can get on stories posted to a gallery website like FurAffinity or SoFurry. If we cannot pay them the rates for commissions and even a free story is going to offer them more exposure to a general audience, it’s reasonable for these authors to think their time is better spent writing elsewhere. This makes it harder to attract the best talent to anthologies to write, which would in turn boost anthology sales and allow publishers to pay more.

I wish I had ideas on how to do this — sadly I don’t. I’m willing to admit when I don’t have answers to a question. However, if publishers, authors, and editors all work together and brainstorm, I’m positive we can find solutions. Perhaps the Guild hosts a round table to discuss these ideas or these talks take place across whatever social media and chatrooms people participate in. It doesn’t matter where they happen, I just hope that they do so we can find ways to keep bringing Furry literature to even greater heights.

I hope everything I wrote today was useful and at least a little entertaining to read. I would like to remind everyone that while I may be the Guild President, I am perfectly capable of being wrong on a subject. If you disagree with anything said here, I want to hear that feedback (or any feedback) so I can gain more perspectives. Learning from the amazing members of the guild and those who strive to join us someday has helped lead to many improvements for us and I hope this editorial can lead to discussions that help make the Furry writing community as a whole stronger.

Linnea Capps

FWG Monthly Newsletter: February 2021

Welcome once again to another FWG Newsletter! We’ve had a busy month here at the Guild so let’s get on with the news.

First, we would like to recognize that the Ursa Major Awards are now open for voting! We hope Furry authors, editors, and fans of Furry works of all kinds go vote for their favorites. The voting form is available here.

Two projects associated with the FWG are up for awards and we would like to encourage our members to consider giving them their vote. The first thing is that From Paw To Print is nominated for Best Non-Fiction Work. Compiled by Thurston Howl, this collection of essays features multiple guild members and is a marvelous resource for anyone wanting to get into Furry writing.

Profits from the sale of From Paw To Print are donated to support the FWG as well, so we would love to see it get some serious recognition on an awards stage. For those who haven’t picked up a copy, it is available here from Bound Tales Press.

The second is the Furry Writers’ Guild Blog which is nominated for Best Anthropomorphic Magazine. Those who have enjoyed posts like our Black History Month spotlights, interviews with authors and editors, and even things like this newsletter should consider giving the blog their vote. A win would be wonderful for the Guild and make our blog an even more powerful promotion tool for members of the FWG.

Speaking of the blog, this month we featured four separate Black Furry creatives there. We hope those who have yet to check out these interviews will give them a look — there’s a lot to be learned from them.

Remember, we now have our Promotion Tip Line to submit to if you have new releases coming out, so don’t hesitate to fill that out so we can feature your book in our next newsletter! Here’s a new release we spotted this month:

You can find all kinds of submission calls for Furry writing in our Furry Writers’ Market! Currently, these markets are open.

One last thing this month: Don’t forget to nominate works for the 2020 Cóyotl Awards! The nomination deadline is March 15th so time is running out. It’s one of the perks of guild membership to nominate, so exercise it! You can nominate works here.

I know that it’s the anniversary of COVID-19 lockdowns for many people, so I want to remind everyone to take care of themselves and keep working hard to stay safe. Anniversaries of traumatic events have been shown to cause extra stress for people, so make sure to give yourself some kindness in whatever ways you can. Until next time, may your words flow like water.

– FWG President Linnea “LiteralGrill” Capps

Black History Month Spotlight: Kirisis “KC” Alpinus

Welcome back everyone! As February comes to a close, we wanted to share our final interview with a Black furry creative in honor of Black History Month. Today, we’ll be speaking award-winning editor and author extraordinaire Krisis “KC” Alpinus!

Kiri has edited books like Claw: Volume 1, Species: Wildcats, and Soar: Volume 1 and also freelances as a Narrative Designer for several dating simulators and digital comics. She has also done work as a Cultural Consultant and Sensitivity Reader for various entities and authors. She is a graduate student of Political Science, a political activist, and in her own words, “An openly and unapologetically Black woman.”

With our interviewee properly introduced, let’s get on with the interview!

FWG: What is your favorite work that you have written?

Kiri: All of my works are my favorites. I put them out into the universe because they are works of my heart and I love each and every character as if they had sat down with me and told me their narratives themselves.

If you’re looking for what works that I think would be most representative of me, I can recommend “Power & Pleasure” in Give Yourself a Hand or, more blatantly, “No Dogs” in Roar: Volume 9.

“Power & Pleasure”, while a NSFW story, is a testament to feminine sexuality, but also finding one’s own sexuality and surrendering yourself to it. I wanted to tell a story about a woman who has come into her own and is guiding another’s discoveries by explaining her own insecurities regarding sex and pleasure. Though the main antagonist in this story is the embodiment of pleasure or hedonism, I found that I enjoyed exploring how relinquishing yourself to pleasure or the things that please you ultimately shape the person you become…or, it at least opens you up to the possibilities or questioning what you’ve been told. I also enjoyed creating a character that didn’t define themselves by their gender identity or sexuality; they defined themselves by what pleased them or what felt good to them.

 “No Dogs” is the result of talking to a few friends up here about the American South’s brand of racism and how it starts at a young age. I related to them how I and a few other Black kids had been slurred in elementary school by a classmate and his punishment was being sent to his teacher’s classroom, while we were often disproportionately punished for minor infractions.

I also was beyond pissed at how in this very warm, accepting fandom, we still have organizations that have very bigoted people in leadership positions and we have people denying that bigotry exists at all in the fandom, let alone in places that are designated “safe spaces” for people who have been historically marginalized. It infuriated me how it felt that in some matters, furs in my own, chosen community could put the life of a Black person below that of a dog. And yet, it happened and I got to see it with my own eyes. So, using the tools that I had available to me at the time, I showed how it feels to be a young, marginalized person who has to face bigotry and prejudice and still manages to rise above it.

Plus Staffordshire terriers are so sweet.

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?

Kiri: Some will say it’s characters. Others will say that it’s the plot that makes it a good story. I’m of the mind that it’s a lovely mix of the two. One of my favorite tv shows to watch is Scandal, by legendary show writer, Shonda Rhimes. That show has some of the best plots that make my little politically-poisoned mind squeal. Elections tampering, infidelity, covert governmental organizations, and a love story that set my fuzzy soul on fire, but these plots would have been nothing without dynamic characters that made me love them and made me tune in each week to see what happened to them as they advanced the plot. They had agency, backstories, and were all beautifully flawed in ways that made them relatable.

Stories NEED that mix. I need to care about your characters to become invested in your plot. I need the plot to do something that makes your characters come alive. I’m a very much “in my head” person, so as I said earlier, I need your characters to seem real enough that it feels like I’m getting sucked into that world and everything that happens outside of it stops. In a world that has gone crazy with inequality, greed, diseases, and mounting bigotry, when I’m done fighting against this, I need something that helps me to escape.

When I write, I try to give that feeling of immersion and make my characters so realistic, so that even if they’re an alcoholic, polyamorous lesbian tigress with silver fur, it feels like you should know her (and scream at her to get her life together). I need your story to give me a sense of immersion that is not easily broken, not even in the bathroom (I’m a habitual bathroom reader).

FWG: What does Black History mean to you?

Kiri: When I was younger, Black History was a month of discovery and a showcase of Black excellence. I was shown poets, authors, innovators, scholars, movers, and shakers. I felt a sense of empowerment and kind of special. I thought that this was OUR time, a time where we mattered more than just being slaves and oppressed people. It showed we were complex, resilient, and talented people. I used to love Black History Month.

Now, it feels like one long, drawn-out performance and whataboutisms. Every year, there’s a growing group of “very stable geniuses” who adamantly ask, “why is there a Black History Month? Why isn’t there a ‘Mexican’ Heritage Month (Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month is Sept. 15 – Oct 15) or an Asian Heritage Month (May)?” Or my personal favorite, “what have Black people done to have an entire month?” (That’s the reason for the month, friend.)

But still, there’s also the acts of random performativity that really just irritate me. I see so much kente cloth and invoking of Dr, Martin Luther King Jr. that I get physically ill. It’s all just a show. While things are a bit better now than they were in Dr. King’s time, we still have a long way to go. I can still get killed for driving while Black, walking while Black, being Black in my own home, or worse, being Black while minding my openly Black business. I mean, how far have we really come? The destruction of “Black Wallstreet” aka the Tulsa Race Riots or the destruction of Rosewood aren’t mentioned. Hell, people who live in Tulsa, OK didn’t even know about the riots because of how suppressed information surrounding it was, but it’s our history. It’s American history that should be told.

Honestly, I’m kind of sick of the saccharine version of Black history that is made palatable to the White moderates. Well, it’s not that palatable because apparently, some people can opt-out of Black history teachings. Funny, when I was in school, I had to learn about every racist traitor of the Confederacy that owned people who looked like me and debated the humanity of my ancestors, but some kids can be opted out of learning about the contributions and sacrifices Black Americans made for this county. Can’t say that I’m surprised that people think we came here of our own volition and were happy to do so, but boy am I disappointed.

FWG: Do you feel that your Blackness has affected your writing?

Kiri: I mean, my Blackness affects everything that I do and how people see me, so not sure how it wouldn’t affect my writing. It’s who I am and what I was raised around. It’s my culture and my history. When I write, I write for Black audiences about issues that Black people have, but under the illusion of strictly writing anthropomorphic creatures. I am glad to have non-Black eyes on my stuff because it challenges the norm, but I do like having an anthropomorphic fantasy that Black people can somewhat relate to.

FWG: Do you feel that issues in the outside world affect your writing in the fandom?

Kiri: The issues inside of this fandom affect my writing, let alone those outside of it. As I mentioned earlier, when I wrote “No Dogs”, I was quite pissed about how Black people being murdered by cops was a ho-hum, but animal abuse was abhorrent. There’s nothing that makes you feel ignored by your fandom than logging onto Twitter and seeing someone who is con staff of a rather large con call your people “thugs” and “animals”, but want the head of a woman who abused a dog. I mean, you can both be disgusted by animal cruelty AND the over-policing of Black bodies. I do it every day.

I pretend to be a dhole* on the internet, but when I turn off my phone or shut down my computer, I am still a Black woman. When I create these stories, I create them as a Black woman and when I talk to people at furry cons, it’s not as a red dhole, it’s as a Black woman. A disabled, light-skinned, opinionated-but-honest Black woman. Any and everything that affects me under those categories are things that affect me inside of this fandom and sadly, I don’t have the complexion for the protection from those things. I’m not awarded that escapism here.

Furries are people and just like people, they bring their biases and prejudices with them, but sadly Black people and other PoC have to deal with them. We can’t be dogs, cats, frogs, or dragons on the internet. We’re usually having to justify our existence to the nearest sparkle dog who doesn’t understand what rights we’re exactly missing.

So, to answer your question, yes the issues in the outside world affect my writing in the fandom because the fandom does not exist in a vacuum where we’re all cute, fluffy animals who hold hands, sniff each other, and hug it out.

I don’t even dream in that color.

FWG: If you could convince everyone to read a single book, what would it be and why?

Kiri: Fiction: It would be Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Zora was a wonderful writer and helped preserve a lot of Black traditions through her writing. I remember watching the movie Oprah produced and it blew me away. It was one of the things that awakened me to my own powers and abilities as a Black woman.

Non-Fiction: Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall. Read it and you’ll know why I recommended it.

FWG: Do you have any projects incoming you’d like to tell people about?

Kiri: Unbreakable Anthology has a couple of sequels in the works, so check those out. Buy my book Soar: Volume 1. Lots of good fantasy from various cultures and backgrounds. Vote for me in the Coyotl’s and the Ursa Majors. (Shout out to the folks who recommended Soar for the Leo’s.)

FWG: Any last words for our readers?

Kiri: Pet dholes. Drink mead. Save dholes (Like please, save the dholes.)

We would like to thank Kirisis once more for sitting down to answer all of these questions for us. You can find her on Twitter @SwirlyTales and we highly recommend checking out the projects she has worked on.

As this is our final spotlight for the month, we would like to encourage all of our readers to check out all of our interviews in this series. Supporting Black creatives and learning about Black perspectives isn’t something should not just take place during just one month — make sure to keep expanding your knowledge. Until next time, may your words flow like water.

Black History Month Spotlight: Cedric G! Bacon

Hello again everyone! It’s February, so in honor of Black History Month, the FWG wanted to feature interviews with Black authors, publishers, and creators within the furry fandom. Today we’ll be interviewing Cedric G! Bacon, the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher at Thurston Howl Publications.

Those familiar with furry writing have likely seen his written works in Infurno, Furries Hate Nazies, or Thrill of the Hunt. He is particularly known for his horror stories though never turns down opportunities to work outside his usual comfort zone.

With the introductions out of the way, let’s get onto the interview!

FWG: What is your favorite work that you have written and favorite work you have published?

Cedric: I’m actually going to separate this into three answers, hahaha. The first two are my written/published, and then one that I’ve published for someone else.

For my own favorite work that I’ve published it’s a tie: the first would maybe be “Yule Carol” in 12 Days of Yiffmas (Red Ferret Press). To give a summary, it’s a Christmas themed story set in Japan and focuses on a vixen named Kiyohoko missing her deceased husband Heath terribly. Thus, on Yule Eve, she performs a ritual that binds his spirit into the physical plane, albeit briefly.

I took inspiration from the Bon festivals with this one and a lot of creative license in terms of the traditions, but the end result became very satisfactory and for being an early attempt at erotica, it was probably one of my most successful due to having dark elements and not outright horror, but also having characters that are just genuinely likeable, without having to force the reader into liking them, and I tried to make it appear as believable as possible. Definitely one I recommend to readers but because it’s in an erotic collection, definitely for the adult readership!

Second favorite story that I’ve written and published, it’s “The Battler” from Furries Hate Nazis. I’ve always been a fan of boxing and wrestling, and I’ve always wanted to do a story featuring either sport. It ended up becoming that “The Battler” (which was partly inspired by the story of Salamo Arouch and also being set in the universe of The Adventures of Peter Gray by Nathan Hopp) was that story, and it gave me an opportunity to say something about anti-Semitism and racism in the 1960s.

The final act fight scene between my Jewish boxer Mickey and the Nazi antagonist Vilm was probably the most cinematic writing I’d ever done, and definitely had to look at the various motions and movements from sources like Christy Martin’s fights and the old boxing anime Ashita no Joe.

For my answer on favorite written but not yet published, that would be “Poyekhali!” which will be appearing in ROAR 11. It’s a little bit of alternate history, but largely inspired by the Soviet space program that launched human beings into orbit. The main thrust of the story is inspired by Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, but I also take bits from others who were there, and even created an anthro version of Laika. But the reason I liked this story so much is because it used so much of my favorite themes—strong women in the leading roles, history, action, and research—and I can’t wait for everyone else to read it soon too!

And for my favorite work that’s not my own but one that I’ve published, I think that would be Fire-Branded Leather by F. Gibbs. It was the first long form work I ever edited and so it was great having a great writer to work with and break the ice, learning communication and listening skills along the way. First in a trilogy (with the second book, Cold Trailing, out now and the third on the way!) I can’t say enough how much I’ll always stand by this book. 

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?

Cedric: For me, I think a good story the sum of a bunch of different parts. When I sit down to write, I always try to think of the things that could click: the characters for one, setting for another, dialogue for yet another, and the plot that I’m hoping to tell with the story. Sometimes, even with beta reading and positive feedback, the story may not land…that doesn’t necessarily means it was a terrible story because as well known, there are a lot of intentionally terrible stories that actually did get published (looking at you Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey), but one that just didn’t hit right with a reviewer or an editor doth not a bad story make. But the key ingredient I think in this literary bouillabaisse is the writer having the confidence and believing in the story to really make it good: its that having the faith in the characters and having a solid track as you’re moving from point A to point B to point C with the plot, and the dialogue is firing on cylinders with you, you just have this knowing feeling that “Hey, this is actually turning out pretty sweet!” 

FWG: What does Black History mean to you?

Cedric: It’s most definitely the acknowledgment of the achievements made by folks that don’t get that shine too often. Yeah, we do celebrate the achievements of Amelia Earhart for example and her most definitely defining pioneering career as an aviatrix, but how many know about Bessie Coleman, who was the first woman to be an African American and Native American pilot? Or the recently passed Charles Saunders, whose novels and stories of the heroic Imaro gave a blackness to the fantasy genre that’d previously been dominated by writers (Lovecraft, most notoriously) who often relegated the black character to a stereotype.

I’d be the first to admit that I never knew much about Black History growing up, besides the big stuff that you learn in school. The good stuff, the stuff that really makes one take notice, didn’t come to me till much later, or learning how many sacrifices were made to retain one’s pride (Muhammad Ali telling the draft board to stuff it saying he wasn’t going to Vietnam—in a famous rebuttal—when he did, which stalled his boxing career for a long while is one example to think of) in order to make movements for a race that’s been marginalized for centuries due to being a couple shades darker than their friends and neighbors.   

FWG: Do you feel that your Blackness has affected your writing? How about your work in publishing?

Cedric: I think it’s informed how I shape certain characters and situations, most definitely. In “The Battler” for example, I made the narrator a black man who has to deal with the racism of his fellow humans but also that of the furren (borrowed once again from Nate Hopp for an anthro species) who will deign themselves uplifted from humans and especially a black man like my narrator. That the boxer he trains is an anthro and Jewish was a nice thing to write because it’s two people who come from different backgrounds but don’t care and are just happy to have each other in their lives for this experience… It’s just the hope I always have but have been disappointed on in reality.

The experience of having one’s differences made front and center has happened to me a number of times, from the drive-thru at McDonald’s all the way down to relationships, and internally that feeling of being like an outsider looking in is something that isn’t forgotten. And then that feeling that if I spoke up and out then the consequences could either be dire or fatal depending on the circumstances. There’s a lot of wrong that’s out there and few speaking on it, and the ones who do are just the worst types who are only speaking on it and chasing clout. 

Since becoming the top bat at THP, I’ve continued our namesake’s mission to always look out for marginalized voices that are speaking and saying what they have to say as loud as possible. And not only that but taking ownership of their stories and not having them told by someone without that background or knowledge—despite the well intentions, I must say. And you know, as a publisher I’ve had a chance to really get to know what is happening and the voices that are out there. And I’ve come to the realization that there’s no such thing as everything and everyone “having a place” and firmly do reject what the status quo has made of things. The status quo will protect shitty—if I can say that, if not censor haha—views and coddle the ones saying them, and that’s just not cool. 

I want our authors—our BIPOC, our women, our trans—to feel that they can speak on those issues that have affected them and not feel afraid to say them. I want them to say “FUCK YOU” to the Karen at Target that was acting out on them and not using their preferred pronoun. I want them to tell their story and be proud and stand up and be counted and know that they all do exist and ain’t going anywhere.

FWG: Do you feel that issues in the outside world affect your writing and publishing in the fandom?

Cedric: I believe so! I’d only be regurgitating my viewpoints above so I’ll be shorter here, but I think a combination of growing up reading superhero comic books and literature gave me an intense dislike whenever I read or see or hear about injustice being done. I was also raised by strong women so I have a fondness for a woman that takes no shit from a man, and if I may use this spot to say so, I very much welcome submissions from women in the fandom to send their works, whatever the genre, on over! 

FWG: If you could convince everyone to read a single book, what would it be and why?

Cedric: That would probably be Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. It was the first time I truly felt I was reading about a character just like me, not just because the main protagonist Atticus Turner was a black young man in mid-1950s America, but also because he was a black young man who’d grown up loving the stories of Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and other white writers who often denigrated people of color in their stories and grappled with that dichotomy, just like me.

The novel upends the expectations that the weirdness of Lovecraft et al was just that of the white man, and Ruff ties in a lot of the racism that was happening across America with the weirdness occurring to Atticus and his family, dispensing with Lovecraft’s whole thing of making characters white, upper-class academics and intellectuals and showcasing Atticus and his black, working-class and very close-knit family who approach the horror, are summarily frightened, but try to approach it logically and without Lovecraft’s whole trope of beginning scared, staying scared, and then going crazy afterward. 

That it was made into a TV series last fall on HBO should be another feather in its cap for interest. There were a bunch of deviations from the novel in the adaptation, but I think with that translation from prose to visual, it really helps enhance the theme and messaging and allows for the story to go deeper than the novel did (for example, dispensing with two male characters and adding more women to the cast really does a further one-up) and also creating further horrors and atrocities of that Jim Crow era in the United States at that time.

FWG: Do you have any projects incoming you’d like to tell people about?

Cedric: The conclusion to F. Gibbs Fire Dog Trilogy in The Eastern Horizon for one! Another conclusion is the third book in Stephen Coghlan’s furry sci-fi series GENMOS (Genetically Modified Species) entitled Conclusions. We also have the anthologies The Furry Game Show Network, Beneath the Suit, Howloween Vol. 2, Difursity Vol. 2 coming soon and as we speak we’re going through submissions for iPawd and edits for The Howling Dead. So far, the beginning of the year is looking quite up for Thurston Howl Publications!

FWG: Any last words for our readers?

Cedric: Just one! Tell your readers to never give up on their hopes and dreams. Writing is hard, goodness knows it is, but it’s just like anything else: time, effort, patience, and a little bit of persistence. Make your messaging clear and concise and don’t sweat about all that stuff about compared to so and so and such and such. Stand on your own two feet first and do your best on your own first, and all that good accolades will follow!

We would like to thank Cedric once again for taking the time to sit down and talk with us. He can be found on Twitter @batced. We hope you’ll join us again next week for our final interview with a Black creative within the furry fandom for Black History Month. Until next time, may your words flow like water.

Black History Month Spotlight: Rhyner

Hello again everyone! It’s February, so in honor of Black History Month, the FWG wanted to feature interviews with Black authors, publishers, and creators within the furry fandom. Today we’ll be interviewing Rhyner — a Black/Mexican transmasc queer dragon who hosts the What The Fuzz?! podcast which interviews furries of color to ask “real questions to dig into the people under the fur.”

In the world of furry writing, Rhyner actively updates Rhyner Writes, a blog where he discusses general topics for furry audiences. He was also a member of the inaugural Oxfurred Comma Inclusivity Award committee.

With this in mind, just one last thing from Rhyner before we get to the interview — “Please keep in mind: no one person can represent an entire group and that includes myself. I can only speak to my experiences and shared experiences as a mixed person. One story doesn’t paint the picture.”

FWG: What is your favorite work that you have written?

Rhyner: Normally you’d think it’d be a story I’ve written, but honestly nothing I’ve written has ever given me as much joy as the articles I have up on my website. The one in particular that folks seem to love is about overcoming anxieties to chat with others over Telegram or forums. While it’s something incredibly small it means a lot to me to be able to help someone with something that is so easily overlooked.

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?

Rhyner: A “good” story to me is a plot driven by realistic, grounded characters. They can have fantastical powers or be facing the annihilation of the universe, but if they don’t have relatability it’s not going to keep anyone invested in what’s going on. For instance “Breaking Bad” and “A Silent Voice” are wildly different stories that have pretty much nothing in common. Why am I so drawn to the plight of some old boomer selling meth on the side? Why do I care about what happens to some deaf girl? It’s because I can understand their struggles, and I latch onto them little by little. We see them at their worst, we see them do terrible things, but we see them do great things too. It’s that heavy helping of humanity that makes a story resonate with me no matter how recycled the plot itself is. But hey, if you want to throw some lore in there too it sure wouldn’t hurt!

FWG: What does Black History mean to you?

Rhyner: Black history at this moment means to me… Retreading my footsteps. It means going somewhere I’ve been before but things don’t look the same. People like me who grew up in “liberal California” were told racism was over when MLK gave his speech. We were told they desegregated schools and everything was fine after that. The Civil War being fought over slaves? “No, of course not! That was about states’ rights.” Since the start of June I’ve started to learn the real history. The resurgence of BLM flooded my timeline with things I never heard about before. The MOVE bombing, the rise and fall of Black Wallstreet, mass incarceration, and the list goes on and on. It’s painful to have to go back and re-learn your own history. Like getting bleach out of your clothes. But I’m glad to learn and I’m hungry to learn more.

FWG: Do you feel that your Blackness has affected your writing?

Rhyner: Yes. Normally I’d say it wouldn’t, but I have to write every script for my podcast. It wasn’t easy to come to terms with the fact that people will treat me differently simply because I’m black, but thanks to this Summer I quickly understood how the world saw people like me. I’ve had to make it clear why these things affect me since it could very easily be my black mother or black roommate or black best friends that end up meeting an unfortunate and untimely demise. With that in mind, going forward with writing outside of the scripts I don’t think I could go back to writing with a main character who doesn’t face similar struggles. 

FWG: Do you feel that issues in the outside world affect your writing in the fandom?

Rhyner: Yes. Although racial issues specifically really only pop up in the scripts for my podcast as mentioned before I find themes of social anxiety to be a prevailing topic amongst my blog posts. There isn’t a lot of furry literature to my name, but the stories I have started out there on SoFurry that aren’t just, well, erotic have themes of feeling unable to connect with others. 

FWG: If you could convince everyone to read a single book, what would it be and why?

Rhyner: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. It is nothing short of incredible how much information and thought was put into the careful articulation of every page in this book. It paints a massive, overwhelming picture of what black people are facing and have been facing in the United States from the start of slavery to now. It painstakingly goes over how the drug war started, how it was used as a weapon against black people, and what effect it’s had on us today. It’s a must read if you care about civil rights. Period. 

FWG: You interview a lot of BIPOC furs for your podcast. Have they ever mentioned furry writing or publishing? If so, what kinds of comments have you gotten about it?

Rhyner: Yes, some have. For example one guest known for his outlandish NSFW drawings, is also something of a storyteller. I thought to get his perspective on why writing tends to be overlooked in the fandom and he remarked that it was quite simple, really. Fursuits and art are instantly satisfactory while reading a story takes time – time that could be spent looking at 30 or more pictures in the same time span. It’ll be continually be difficult to get noticed as a writer in the fandom. All we can do is make it easier to get the works out there and put it front and center. 

Another guest on the show described the struggles of starting up a furry driven publishing business. Despite this, I found his drive to be inspiring. After all when forced to compete with Sofawolf, Furplanet, and others – why not have some fun with it? 

FWG: Is there anything the furry writing community could be doing to be more welcoming to Black creators?

Rhyner: The best thing the furry community can do is to be open and uplift. Be open to the storylines brought on by BIPOC creators of all backgrounds. If you’re a publisher, feature black creators during black history month, Indigenous furs during their month, and so on. If you’re a reader and happen upon a story you enjoy that’s from a black person or another person of color be sure to share their work.

Don’t be afraid to call out bigotry when you see it.

FWG: Do you have any projects incoming you’d like to tell people about?

Rhyner: Well, What’s The Fuzz?! Is available on all platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and you can see the full list on my website again anything else I’ve got cooking will be posted up on my Twitter @whatsthefuzz_

FWG: Any last words for our readers?

Rhyner: 2020 was a hard year for everyone and BIPOC individuals in particular. Police brutality raided our timelines. Ignorant questions cornered us at every turn whether it be at the mall, at work, or at home. The audacity of it all. To shepherd BIPOC people, as a monolith, into the role of reluctant teacher to quench the curiosity of the average white moderate. 

In the end, we were expected to dust ourselves off and bounce back like nothing happened. Everything changed, but also nothing changed at all. It’s 2021 now. 

Don’t shield the racist in your group chat. Ban them. Keep Nazis out of furcons, group chats, furmeets – everything. They have no place in this fandom and never will. Don’t just use the hashtag #BLM to make your account prettier. Act on it. We need people to understand the difference between an anti-racist and the person who says they aren’t racist. 

My advice to you? Check out sometime and look through the educational resources. There are articles, books, movies, TV shows, documentaries, plays, interviews, audiobooks, and more about the topics of racism in all of its ugly, insidious forms. 

Don’t forget that no BIPOC person owes you an education. You have everything at your disposal to educate yourself. Looking forward to seeing you at Howlfest. Take care.

We would like to thank Rhyner once again for taking the time to sit down and talk with us. We hope you’ll join us again next week as we interview another Black creative within the furry fandom. Until next time, may your words flow like water.