FWG Pride Month Spotlight: Ian Madison Keller

Pride is a very important month for so many reasons, especially amongst the furry community. Furries, as a whole, are significantly more queer than the rest of the population. Many identify with the lgbtq+ spectrum, and all efforts should be made to preserve the furry fandom as a space that is safe for everyone. The furry writing community is no different. This Pride Month, we will shine the spotlight on a few of the writers who give the furry community its wonderful diversity.
The first spotlight for this year’s Pride Month is Ian Madison Keller (he/him).


FWG: Tell the guild and our readers a bit about yourself.
Ian: I grew up in Utah and southern Idaho, and escaped to the Pacific Northwest as soon as I could. Although I wanted to be a writer since High school I ended up majoring in Accounting and not writing for many years.  But in 2012 I picked writing back up again and released my first book in 2014 and my first short stories were published in 2015. I also went back to school to get a certificate in editing, and have been editing stories and novels since 2018.

FWG: What is your favourite work that you have written?
Ian: Short stories, my favorite would be “Don’t Cry” one of the flash fictions I wrote for Flower’s Fang about the queen. I wrote it while figuring out the motivations for the queen and I just really love everything about it. Novels would be one of my latest, “Ritual of the Ancients.” I had a lot of fun writing the thriller elements and figuring out how the vampires and shifters of my world interact with each other.  

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?
Ian: A strong emotional core. No matter how action packed a book or movie, if I don’t care about the characters then I probably won’t finish it. 

FWG: How long have you been in the guild, and what changes have you seen with regards to how writing is handled since joining?
Ian: I’ve been with the guild since 2016. I’ve seen a lot more encouragement to new writers lately and more inclusivity, like with the online writing convention put on by the guild and the multiple ways to communicate, with the Discord, the forums, and the telegram channel.

FWG: Can you give us a little insight into your identity, and how you fit onto the lgbtq+ spectrum?
Ian:
I am trans-masculine and bisexual.

FWG: What does Pride mean to you?
Ian: Being proud, not ashamed, about my identity. Something I’ve struggled with a lot from growing up in the mormon church/church of latter-day saints. That’s why Pride looks like a big party, a celebration, because for so many of us we were told that our identities were wrong, something to hide, and even repress.

FWG: Was there a bit of a journey or story to you uncovering your identity? If so, would you be comfortable sharing with us?
Ian:
A very long one. I didn’t even know transgender was a thing until I was in college. I actually found out about it by typing “I wish I was a boy” into google and stumbling on LGBT and trans positive websites. Surprisingly the college I went to in Utah had an LGBT center, but there weren’t any trans-masc folks there. Even at the local Salt Lake City trans support group, I was usually the only guy there, and I got a lot of pushback from both that group and the women I dated to not transition. I ended up going back into the closet for more than a decade before actively pursuing transitioning again. 

FWG: How do you think being lgbtq+ has inspired or affected your stories? Have you written lgbtq+ characters into your works?
Ian: It affects all of my works, and almost everything I write has LGBTQ characters in it. Flower’s Fang has a lesbian couple, in The Dragon Tax you find out that one of the characters is bi, as well there is a non-binary elf character. And in my urban fantasy Changing Bodies story, the main character is a gay trans-man in the middle of transition. As well, I’ve written many short stories with a spectrum of characters of varying identities. 
As far as inspiration, some of my stories have been me wondering how a certain species might approach transitioning. Or how a vampire might deal with being transgender and unable to take hormones. Or about how dragons might feel about gender identities.

FWG: Do you have favourite queer authors and has their literature affected your writing in the fandom?
Ian: I honestly have not read a lot of books by queer authors. However, that is something I am currently working on by actively seeking out works by out queers. The way this has affected my writing is leading me to put lots of queer characters in my stories, so that others can read about the kinds of characters I wished I’d been reading about my whole life. 
Recently I did find a nonbinary author, Dorian Graves, who writes queer urban fantasy stories that I’ve greatly been enjoying.

FWG: If you could convince everyone to read a single book, what would it be?
Ian: I would go with House of Shards by Walter Jon Williams. This book is probably the biggest influence on my writing. Lots of humor wrapped in a serious story, and a whole host of alien races. 

FWG: Any last words for our readers and guild members?
Ian: Don’t forget the outside world exists! Be sure to put down books sometimes to venture out of the house. You’d be surprised by the things that can jump-start your creativity. Try to have hobbies outside reading and writing


Ian Madison Keller is a fantasy writer currently living in Oregon. Originally from Utah, he moved up to the Pacific Northwest on a whim a decade ago and never plans on leaving. Ian has been writing since 2013 with nine novels and more than a dozen published short stories out so far. Ian has also written under the name Madison Keller before transitioning in 2019 to Ian. His most recent series is Changing Bodies, a vampire & shifter urban fantasy published with Goal Publications. You can find more at his website, http://madisonkeller.net.

FWG Monthly Newsletter: May 2021

Welcome back once more for another monthly newsletter! This is going out a little late due to the change in presidency, which also means that things might be a little light on new information for this month.

June is, of course, Pride Month. There have typically been interviews done with writers who are lgbtq+, and I do not intend for this month to be any different. Obviously, things are a little delayed due to the hand-over, but I intend on reaching out to writers over the next few days in order to get some Pride Month spotlights released. If you believe you would make a good person to spotlight, please reach out to us.


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

Note that Zooscape will, as of the December 2021 issue, be a fully professional rate, as dictated by the SFWA. This means 8c/word on all accepted submissions, up to 5000 words.


As with the previous update, we are currently still finding our feet with this new role. Over time, we plan to have plenty more information included in these updates. New book releases will also be included with the anthology openings.

Until then, stay safe in these difficult times. Get vaccinated if possible and keep writing!

J.F.R. Coates

New Guild Presidency

Hello everyone!

Just a quick post for those of you who have been unaware of the recent developments with the guild, we now have a new president and vice-president.

Firstly, I would like to thank Linnea for all the hard work put in during the last year. The Furry Writers’ Guild has really improved as an organisation in this time. We hope to maintain this momentum.

For those who do not know me, I am J.F.R. Coates. I will be assisted by Kate Shaw as my VP. We are both looking forward to seeing how we can help further the guild, as well as maintaining the work put in during the last year. We do not want to see the guild taking any steps back, even if the steps forward we make may be small.

Over the next few days and weeks, we plan to set a firmer vision of what we want to achieve over this term. If there are any thoughts and suggestions for where you – the members – wish to see the guild go, then we are very happy to hear you! Please do contact us, either through the guild email or twitter accounts, or feel free to contact me directly via telegram at @JayFR.

I am aware the June Monthly Update has not gone out. I’ll get my head around everything involved with the transition, and aim to have something out during the week.

Thank you for reading. I am looking forward to this task of leading the Furry Writers’ Guild.

Here’s to a successful year ahead!

FWG Presidency Announcement

My fellow Guild members:

I’ll get right down to it — I, Linnea Capps, will be stepping down as president of the Furry Writers’ Guild.

The Guild finds itself at a crossroads. We have launched many new initiatives over the past year, and have been planning even more, working toward formal incorporation as a 501(c)(3) non-profit (alongside new membership benefits). This would require more involvement not only from Guild members but a massive investment of my own time and energy as president.

Unfortunately, I was recently diagnosed with a clinical case of burn-out. I’ll be okay with time to rest, but it has become clear I cannot continue to sacrifice my health this way. I am sorry to everyone this will disappoint, but I hope you’ll understand.

Our amazing staff (as well as many former presidents) have stepped up when needed to ensure that the Guild could continue to function. Unfortunately, with a lack of volunteer help and no other candidates for president, it is uncertain that there will be an enduring foundation for the Guild to expand its operations. It is thus infeasible to continue with these initiatives until such a foundation can be established.

With this in mind, let’s discuss what this means for the Guild going forward.


In accordance with the by-laws, we have gone through each current officer to accede to the presidency, with all declining the role. This leaves the Guild with no president and the by-laws lacking a way to deal with this situation. We have made our best effort to pass on the torch as fairly as possible. As such, beginning today, May 21st, 2021, the Furry Writers Guild will begin a special vote for an election of a president and vice president.

For a period of two weeks from May 21st, 2021 to June 4th, 2021 any Guild member may declare themself as a candidate for these positions. Candidates should announce their candidacies via the forums in the Guild Election section.

In the event that a new president is not elected, the remaining officers will form an interim committee with the intent to sustain our current services while constructing a plan for the Guild’s next steps. I will be staying on until after whatever transition takes place and am here to answer questions.


Before I close, I want to say one last thing — anyone considering running for president needs to understand the undertaking they are signing up for. Please reach out to me or other previous presidents to get an idea of what this entails. The end of our two-week period will be on June 4th, 2021. We’ll update everyone with any voting details as necessary then.


Sincerely, 


Linnea “LiteralGrill” Capps

President of the Furry Writers Guild

Asian American And Pacific Islander Heritage Month Spotlight: Mikasi

Welcome back to another spotlight for Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month! Last week, we had a lovely conversation with Robert Baird covering many topics. This week, we’ll be spotlighting Mikasi!

Mikasi is a Hainanese furry writing currently living the Republic of Singapore. During the day they work as a plastics R&D engineer. In their free time, they enjoy reading, going to museum exhibitions, and of course writing. While they began writing mostly speculative fiction, they currently focus on slice-of-life works.

With our introductions in the books, let’s get on to the interview!


FWG: What would you say makes a good story?

Mikasi: Something that makes you think about the scenes or thought it provokes when you are no longer reading it. Like when you are in the shower, or walking to work and you still think about those story/movie scenes despite no longer looking at it, it has done its job well.

A story that makes you feel, essientially.

FWG: If you could convince everyone reading this interview to read one piece of literature, what would it be?

Mikasi: For Anthologies, probably Stories of New Tibet Vol 1 and II. They show the fragility of life, and how easily it is devalued even though it takes considerable time and effort to replace. For novels, I enjoyed the Harry Potter series (up to book 6), because of vast amounts of worldbuilding which is itself hard to contemplate.

FWG: How would you say your Hainanese heritage has affected your writing?

Mikasi: I would say that in recent years, I started writing about characters from other countries who end up living in other countries. Such as the dorm student in my story “A Friend In Winter” (FANG 10), and “A Leap Forward” (Claw the Way to Victory).

There were occasions I had to live alone in other countries, such as in during my UK exchange program back in University, and I am all too aware I kind of look different I enjoy exploring this in fiction.

My Hainanese heritage also had me write stories with a taste of Chinese culture and legends, such as elements from Journey to the West (“Adversary’s Fall”, Gods With Fur)

FWG: Is that kind of “othering” (for lack of a better word) something you enjoy exploring through fiction, or is it more a way to try and emotionally sort through this difficult thing in a safe environment?

Mikasi: I try to put some of my own personal experiences where possible in my writing because it is “real” and hence will make the story relatable to those who’ve experienced the same before.

FWG: Are there any other things like themes, folklore, or other bits of your history that have made it into your stories you’d like to share?

Mikasi: I also wrote a story of a character who died, and has to experience his last 100 days on earth, based on Chinese underworld afterlife beliefs. It is during this 100 days that he discovers that despite their dedication, there is a time we have to let everything go

Singaporeans have to undergo a 22-24 month conscription process, so I have addressed conscription , and military service in both humorous (“Fathers to Sons”, Dogs of War) and less-humorous stories (“No Choice About It”, ROAR 10 and “In Better Times”, Difursity.)

FWG: The Stop Asian Hate movement has has a lot of discussion for folks in the United States. As someone who’s Asian, living in an Asian country, have you had to deal with some of the unfair and unfortunate bigotry towards certain members of the Asian community during the pandemic?

Mikasi: I have seen some bigotry in my country even before the pandemic, but most of it is due to cultural stereotypes of other ethnicities that may or may not be true for specific individuals. That said, it is unfair to judge a person on the basis of their culture or religion before knowing or understanding them.

In the UK, I have had a 7 and 9 year old sing a racist song to me and my 5 classmates, and in Canada, I had a storekeeper annoyed I asked her a product-related question, but I sometimes tell myself that I cannot use my own standards for judging people for others.

Singapore has 4 official races, but the Government’s strict laws (and penalties) against racism from anyone, even the majority race, keeps that to a minimum. Less aggressively, housing laws ensure a certain percentage of each race or ethnic group is present in every neighborhood, so no place is “Just for Race A, Just for Race B, etc.”.

When people meet and see one another everyday outside of school and work, they actually become more understanding and tolerant as other ethnicities don’t seem that “strange” to them.

FWG: If you could leave readers with a single piece of information about Hainanese culture or folklore, what would it be?

Mikasi: I don’t know much about specifically Hainanese culture, except Chicken Rice as a dish, but for Chinese culture in general, the epic legend Journey to the West (seems quite similar to The Wizard of Oz (one of my favorite books) by Frank Baum. They all feature characters from different backgrounds, (and species) who are seeking redemption from their previous misdeeds (Journey to the West), or looking for a higher sense of purpose (The Wizard of Oz).

This concept is actually very similar to our world. Despute everyone’s differences, in the end, ultimately, everyone is trying to pursue their own path to happiness, and whether or not we choose to help or disrupt them is entirely up to us.

And yes, we have our own holidays that draws a parallel with Western ones, such as the Dongzhi Festival (Winter Solstice Festival) which is held a few days before Christmas, and The 7th Month/Hungry Ghost Festival , which might seem similar to Day of The Dead or the traditional Halloween, though the 7th Month is a (Lunar) Month long.

This is interesting because despite all the above festivals and holidays originating from different places across the world, different cultures still make sense of personal beliefs in different yet very similar ways

FWG: Any last things you’d like to tell our readers?

Mikasi: There is a lot we can learn from stories that are very similar to real life. Because living people write stories, they put a bit of themselves and their life experiences into it. How the characters suffer, how they get past their adversities; they are all things people have all experienced at some point in history. Stories teach us we’re not alone in suffering and happiness.

They also give us a safe means to experience other people’s lives without (too) much harm. They allow us to travel to other worlds, worlds of the fantastical, of the strange, of the erotic and arcane, in futuristic cities and planets, and magical realms accompanied by angels and dragons. All this is possible, and more, just by the turn of the pages, and some willpower of reading those words written with lots of hard work.

So don’t be scared to try a book you haven’t read yet; perhaps a book you had on your cubhood bookshelf but never got round to reading. You might be surprised at what you might discover.


We would like to thank Mikasi once more for sitting down to chat with us. You can follow him on Twitter @MikasiWolf and see all of his current written works on his FurAffinity. Make sure to stay tuned for next week for another spotlight. Until next time, may your words flow like water.

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!

BEST NOVEL

BEST NOVELLA

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “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

BEST ANTHOLOGY

BEST OTHER WORK


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.