FWG Monthly Newsletter: August 2020

Hello there FWG members, it’s time for another monthly newsletter! We’ll keep the introduction short and get right down to business.

Oxfurred Comma, an online convention for furry literature, will be taking place from October 17th to 18th in conjunction with Furry Book Month. We’ll have forms to fill out for those interested in hosting panels as well as participating in our dealer’s den out to you in the next couple of weeks. These will be posted on the FWG Blog and social media.

You do not have to be an FWG member to participate in this convention either. We want to help all anthro writers especially with how this year has hurt sales. Any writers seeing this should be sure to sign up and invite their writing friends!

Outside of this, we have been having internal discussions among FWG officers about potential changes to the requirements for joining the guild. We understand times are changing and many authors are using platforms like Patreon and finding success. We also know other avenues of writing can be distinctly furry, like comics writing or visual novels.

We have opened up discussions on this topic and hope to receive your feedback. These include rough drafts on what new requirements might be. Please keep in mind that forum posts and our Discord channel for FWG feedback will be the easiest ways for us to keep an eye on your comments as Telegram messages can move quickly. Let’s get this discussion started!

As a final note, we would like to remind everyone that we opened our promotional tip line last month as it has not received much attention. You can find it on the website or at this link. If you have a new story posted, a new book coming out, literally any writing news you’d like us to boost on social media PLEASE use this form: we want to help support you!

With guild business out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff! We featured another two members this month on the blog for interviews that we hope you check out. We’ve also had requests to interview anthology editors as well as any members with experience in producing audiobooks. If you’d qualify and want to be featured, contact our social media manager!

We saw a few new releases cross our path this month you might want to check out including:

We also hunted down a book currently up for pre-order:

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!

Currently the Furry Writers’ Market lists these markets are open:

We’ve been getting a lot of new guild members lately! Let’s all welcome James Hudson, Dan “Spike” Gilmore, Ana Valens, JT Bird, J.S. Hawthorne, and TinyPrancingHorse! We’ve had more new members this year than in a long time, it’s been so exciting!

One last thing: the guild has been very vocal about this on social media, but we would like to remind all of our readers once more how vital the USPS is not only for small business and rural communities but for Furry Publishing. The works we all currently enjoy and the publishers we love to work with may cease to exist without it. Please make sure to do all you can to help defend the USPS! Until next month, keep staying safe and keep writing.

  • FWG President Linnea “LiteralGrill” Capps

Interview: FuzzWolf on Furry Publishing

One of the biggest facets of getting a book published is, well, publishers! While many authors self-publish these days, the furry community is lucky to have several publishers and imprints focused on publishing anthropomorphic fiction.

Today we’re sharing an interview with FuzzWolf, an FWG member and the current owner of FurPlanet. We discuss many aspects of furry publishing, what drives book sales, and how to promote yourself as an author. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview!


FWG: For‌ ‌those‌ ‌that‌ ‌might‌ ‌not‌ ‌know‌ ‌you,‌ ‌please‌ ‌tell‌ ‌our‌ ‌readers‌ ‌a‌ ‌bit‌ ‌about‌ ‌yourself.‌

FuzzWolf: Hi. Well, my name’s FuzzWolf. Most people just call me Fuzz. I’ve been a furry since 1998. I’m originally from Scotland, but my family moved to the US when I was 8 so I don’t have the accent anymore.

In 2005 I moved to Dallas, TX to live with my boyfriend. It’s 15 years later and now we’re married and have a house so I’d say that worked out.

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?

FuzzWolf: Lots of different things, it depends. Characters you care about is the main one. You don’t always have to like them, but they have to be interesting and the reader has to be invested in whether they succeed or fail in what they’re trying to do.

There should be a clear goal, something the main character wants to do, and then there are obstacles in their way preventing them from that goal.

Another thing I enjoy in a good story is a degree of worldbuilding. It depends on the story whether the worldbuilding is very present, and the world itself is a character of sorts, or whether it’s more subtle worldbuilding where the story is more about the characters.

FWG: You work in publishing in the furry scene, so let’s dive into that! What got you into the publishing side of the fandom?

FuzzWolf: I had taken a “desktop publishing” class in college in the early 90s so there was some level of interest there long before I got into fandom publishing.

Like most publishers in the fandom, I started off as a writer. I was published in FurNation Magazine. FurNation was based here in Dallas so I picked up one of my contributor copies in person, and the owner showed me around the equipment he used to make the magazines. I was fascinated by it, and I started helping out. I volunteered with FN for a bit, doing layouts and making magazines and comics by hand.

After I was laid off in 2007, I decided I wanted to start my own publishing business. By the way, this is the exact opposite of what all the “start your own business” guides will tell you to do. Don’t start a business because you’re done with corporate America after getting laid off. You have few resources to work with and you’re not in the right headspace. I got a new job later that year, but the passion for publishing was still there so I moved forward.

Eventually, I ended up acquiring FurPlanet from its former owner and officially took over in March 2008.

FWG: What kind of unique challenges do you face as a publisher of what might be considered niche literature?

FuzzWolf: There are probably as many benefits as there are challenges. I suppose the biggest one is audience size. As with the rest of society, only a small percentage of people read books, and you cut that number down even more when working within a small niche like furry. So, a furry company is likely to hit a growth ceiling sooner because there are only so many furries out there.

However, like a lot of niche interests, the people who are into furry are really into furry. And the furries who buy books are super supportive of their publishers.

I wouldn’t call this a challenge so much as it is a difference between mainstream and furry publishers. For mainstream publishers, the majority of their book sales are going to be sold online at that big river dot com company, and maybe some through traditional bookstores. A minority of our sales are through those avenues. We sell almost all of our books directly to consumers without an intermediary, either via our website or face to face at conventions. That means more work for us, either packing and shipping online orders, or all the work that goes into dealing at a convention, but it means we interact with our customers directly and I think that’s a positive thing.

FWG: FurPlanet puts out several anthologies a year, but also several novels. Do you get a lot of pitches for novels? If so, do you publish many of them?

FuzzWolf: We have it on our website that we’re not officially open for novel submissions so we don’t get that many. Most of the novels we publish are new books from authors we have already been working with. I would like to open up to additional authors at some point. It’s just a matter of time being available to do so.

FWG: Going back to anthologies for a moment, how do these compare in sales to novels themselves?

FuzzWolf: A couple of years ago, I went through our sales data back to 2006 to answer that question. I found that in general, anthologies sell only about 1/3 what novels and novellas do.

FWG: There’s plenty of furry writers who focus on getting stories into anthologies. With those numbers, would you suggest writers consider focusing on getting their own novel out there to help increase their prestige or name recognition?

FuzzWolf: I enjoy short stories, and I think they serve an important function for writers. They give authors a chance to work with an editor and go through that process of having someone from outside their friend group review their work, and work with them to make it the best story it can be. Anthologies also give experience in writing and revising to a deadline and writing towards a specific theme. Submit stories to enough anthologies and you’ll get to write about a lot of different things. Broadening your writing beyond your preferred genre is a critical step in a writer’s development.

They also get your name in front of a publisher. I know I’ve personally advised authors I’ve seen write amazing short stories that I want to see their novel when they finish it.

Also, in both mainstream and furry writing, short stories are how a lot of authors build an audience and get their name out there. You can also repurpose the stories after their exclusivity period has expired, depending on the particular contract. This gives you content for your various galleries (FA, SF, etc), and if a market is open to reprints and you happen to have a previously-published story which fits then you can get paid twice for it.

Even if you’re not submitting to anthologies, I still think writing short stories and posting online is good for building your skills and growing an audience. Even writing to a weekly prompt achieves some of that diversity of stories.

I’d recommend submitting short stories and posting them online while also working on a longer-term project, like having a novel idea brewing in your head.

FWG: FurPlanet puts out ROAR and FANG annually. Are there any challenges getting an anthology series out yearly? Differences between these anthologies and one-off anthologies?

FuzzWolf: There are definitely challenges with keeping a regular title going, especially if you’re trying to keep them releasing at the same time each year. We aim to release FANG and ROAR at Anthrocon every year, but this year we missed that mark due to COVID 19 throwing the world into chaos.

With a one-off anthology there is less of an issue if you have to postpone a release since there isn’t a second volume that has to come out in 12 months that may also be affected.

There is also the matter of editors. With our regular series, we have the advantage of working with an editor for several volumes over a period of time, and they improve their skill with each volume and learn our expectations. There can be a few bumps in the road early on in a working relationship so the one-off anthologies have that. We take a chance when we do a one-off because it doesn’t have name recognition going back years like our regular anthologies do. We just have to hope that the theme resonates with readers.

FWG:A lot of furries say you have to write or draw sex to be successful in the fandom. You’re in a unique position to know about this directly. Do adult novels sell better than those for general audiences?

FuzzWolf: Speaking very broadly, our adult books do sell better than our general audience books. However, there are a ton of caveats to that.

For one thing, in the mainstream book trade Adult Fiction simply means books for grownups, as opposed to Young Adult or children’s book categories. In the fandom, we label books as adult in part due to how conventions define them. If a book has a couple of explicit scenes, even if the sex is not the point of the book, we have to label that adult. But in an actual bookstore, they don’t have a big warning sticker plastered on American Gods, for example.

I’ve seen books with a lot of sex sell moderately, and books we marketed as YA sell extremely well. You can be a non-adult writer and have successful books. You just have to tell a good story and find your audience.

FWG: How important is cover art to selling a furry novel? Do you think employing well-known artists in a fandom that tends to be visually focused helps sell books?

FuzzWolf: I cannot overstate how important cover art is to selling books, any books. The audience for each genre has certain expectations when it comes to covers. This is where things like minimalist typographic covers for science fiction and literary fiction, shirtless men in kilts in romance, and painted castles in fantasy come from.

In general, furry readers want to see a furry on the cover. Don’t go abstract, even if it’s beautiful. If you are trying to sell primarily to furries, you have to have furries on your book cover.

A well-known artist will help with sales. Not only for their highly developed skill, but because they will often assist with promoting the book. Here’s a tip, always credit your illustrators. Do so in the book, and also in your marketing material. If you tweet the cover of your book, include your artist’s Twitter handle. They will often retweet it, and very often their following will be bigger than yours.

I’ve heard writers complain sometimes about furry being such a visual community, but I’d like to stress that artists should be your friends when it comes to selling your book. Artists and writers can and should work together.

I’ll also add that you don’t have to go with the most popular artists if that is out of your budget. You can find a lot of skilled artists who are not that well known, and a book cover commission can offer less well-known artists access to a new audience.

To summarize my feelings on covers, they say you should never go cheap on a mattress or a pair of shoes. When it comes to books, put your budget into your cover. It will help.

FWG: What about books having interior pictures? Is this worth doing for most releases?

FuzzWolf: This has been a point of discussion among some of us before. I think what it comes down to is if you want interior illustrations because they’re cool, or you really want to see your characters illustrated then it can’t hurt.

In my experience, it doesn’t help sales though. If you have a set budget and are weighing between interior illustrations or a better cover then I’d put the money into the cover, another editor pass, or another type of marketing.

FWG: Can you give any insights on the process of getting artwork for books for our readers who might be curious or self publish?

FuzzWolf: Look at the books which have covers you really like or that drew you to the book. You can hire that same artist or someone with a style that appeals in the same way.

An important thing to remember is that a great piece of art and a great book cover are not the same things. Sometimes a piece will work as a standalone illustration, but won’t be appropriate for a book cover.

Another point to ask is if your artist has any experience with typography and design. Are they sending you a cover with your title and name on it already? Or are they just doing the art? If it’s the latter, you’ll want to find a graphic designer to work on the actual layout for you.

On that note, I’d also advise hiring a typographer for your interior layout. There are subtle nuances to typography that can affect the visual appeal and readability of your book. It seems easy, but a lot of time goes into it, and I consider a worthwhile investment.

FWG: What would you say is the one thing you wish all writers knew about publishers and publishing books?

FuzzWolf: While a deep love of books is usually what drives someone to publishing, you’ll have to deal with a lot of less fun things too. Contracts, accounting, taxes, printers, marketing. If you can accept that challenge, you’ll be in a better position to be successful.

FWG: Do you have any last thing you’d like to tell our readers?

FuzzWolf: Please continue to order books and comics from all the furry publishers and our community’s independent sellers. You can support furry-owned businesses and the post office at the same time!


We would like to thank FuzzWolf once again for answering all of our questions! FurPlanet will be having an online book launch for Kyell Gold’s final volume of Love Match. The book releases August 25th and the book launch will take place this coming weekend. You can read about the book and pre-order it on their website and find details on the book launch here.

We hope this insight into furry publishing was informative to all of our readers. If you have ideas or suggestions on what kinds of interviews we should feature next, please contact our Social Media Manager. Until next time, may your words flow like water.

2019 Cóyotl Awards Ceremony LIVE Tonight!

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, the winners of the 2019 Cóyotl Awards will be announced TONIGHT via Periscope on our Twitter account! It will be hosted by guild president and Cóyotl Awards chair Linnea “LiteralGrill” Capps alongside a miniature fuzzy co-host in fur suit. In case you have forgotten, here are the works up for the awards this year:

Best Short Story:

“Dirty Rats” by Jan Seigal (The Jackal Who Came In From The Cold)

“Night’s Dawn” by Jaden Drakus (FANG 10)

“Pack” by Sparf (Patterns in Frost: Stories from New Tibet)

Best Novella:

“Minor Mage” by T. Kingfisher

“Love Me To Death” by Frances Pauli

Best Novel:

“Titles” by Kyell Gold

“Symphony of Shifting Tides” by Leilani Wilson

“Fair Trade” by Gre7g Luterman

“Nexus Nine” by Mary E. Lowd

“The Student – Volume Three” by Joe H. Sherman

Best Anthology:

“Patterns in Frost: Stories from New Tibet” edited by Tim Susman

“Fang 9” edited by Ashe Valisca

“Fang 10” Edited by Kyell Gold & Sparf

So don’t forget to tune in tonight and see the winners. We wish all these writers and editors the best of luck and we hope to see you all there!

FWG Monthly Newsletter: June 2020

Hello there FWG members, it’s time for another monthly newsletter! We’ve got a good bit of news for you this month, so let’s hop right into it!

First we’ll be streaming the Cóyotl Awards Ceremony on July 8th at 8 PM CST! We know you’ve all been waiting, but we’ve finally managed to get all of our things together for our trophies and managed to get safe shipping set up. We’ll be streaming live from our Twitter account via Periscope, so keep an eye out there for the stream. 

Second, we would like to give a warm welcome to our newest guild officer: Moonraiser! They will be taking over as Markets Manager. If you know of a furry market that should be listed in our Furry Writers’ Market contact them and we’ll get it added.

Don’t forget we have a wonderful beta reading program taking place on our Discord. This month @KILL!Roy beta read the most stories! We had 15+ reads officially documented through the program this month and we hope next month we can have even more.

Last month was Pride Month so we featured several FWG members all across the LGBT+ community. We encourage you to check these out to not only learn more about your fellow guild members, but to learn a bit about how various identities can affect writing.

We would like to remind everyone once more about our Microfiction Monday initiative. Any writer, non-members included, that can write a Tweet sized story has the opportunity to have it featured on our Twitter! You can learn more about the program and how to submit here. We almost ran out of submissions this month, so any stories that get sent in will almost certainly be featured! Take this opportunity to try a writing challenge and get a shoutout.

Last month we accidentally missed a few titles that was released and wanted to fix that! Anyone publishers or writers, with books going out should email us at furwritersguild@gmail.com with any books that are coming out to help us not miss any titles. This includes any self published work! With this in mind, the books we missed include:

We also have some other new releases from this month! Be sure to check these out:

Part of our website update was making our Furry Writers’ Market better than ever before! You can find all of open markets for furry writing we can track down here: https://furrywritersguild.com/furry-writers-market/

Currently, these anthology markets are open:

Consider checking out our page for details and writing up a story for one of these awesome anthologies!

One last thing before I sign off for the month. We said it on Twitter but I’ll say it here once more: Black Lives Matter. The Furry Writers’ Guild stands in support of all of our Black members as well as any other members of marginalized groups within our ranks. We always want our members to feel safe and to do our best to uplift their voices. If there’s anything the guild could be doing better in this regard, please get in contact with me right away: it’s a top priority. Until next month, may your words flow like water.

– FWG President Linnea “LiteralGrill” Capps

FWG Monthly Newsetter: May 2020

Hello there FWG members! For those of you that have been with us for a long time, you will be excited to hear that we are bringing back the monthly newsletters! For those newer to the guild, we once produced monthly newsletters to tell people about things like new open markets and guild news. We’re hoping to bring this back to give all our members information to help them thrive while writing anthropomorphic fiction!

First it’s been a very busy month for the guild. We updated our website, got a new logo, opened up a new Discord channel, updated our membership listings, and voted on new by-laws and a new code of conduct. With all of our listing updates, we are showing 114 active members! We’ll keep accepting any updates as they come in, but we’re happy so many of you got the form filled out fast.

The vote to implement our new by-laws and code of conduct passed with over a 90% majority of members, so these will now be put into place. You can now see them on our website. With this in mind, this opens up several new officer positions within the guild. If you might be interested in becoming our Public Relations Officer, Markets Manager, or potentially the Cóyotl Awards Chair, please get in contact with a guild officer so we can talk to you!

Speaking of the Cóyotl Awards, where are they? We did hold our vote for the 2019 awards and have the results tallied. Issues with the current Covid 19 pandemic have made getting our normal supplies for our special coyote trophies a bit difficult as well as makes sending them out to winners tough. We are considering a special awards stream for the winners hopefully very soon and we promise to keep you posted.

If you haven’t joined the new official FWG Discord, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. One of the new features on the Discord is our special beta reading program, so we would like to spotlight Rockie Thiger (@Thiger on Discord) for providing the most beta reads for fellow authors this month! If you’d like to learn more about this new program or simply jump into the conversation come join us on Discord.

We would also like to welcome the newest members of our guild: Rockie Thiger, David “Ryft Sarri” Yenser, Resolute, Stacy Bender / P.C. Hatter, Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen, Jensyn Grayves, Metassus, and Herr Wozzeck! We are very excited to have these wonderful writers join our ranks.

In honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, we interviewed FWG member Allison Thai! You can find that full interview here. We’ll also be featuring some authors during Pride Month on the blog, so keep an eye out!

One last bit of guild business, we would like to remind our members about our Microfiction Monday initiative. Any writer, non-members included, that can write a Tweet sized story has the opportunity to have it featured on our Twitter! You can learn more about the program and how to submit here.


Several new books have been released over the last couple of months including:

Goal Publications also has two novels available for pre-order now including:

We want to express some particular excitement for Awoo, Who’s This? Coming from Bound Tales, this special anthology features members of the Furry Writers’ Guild trying to write in the style of other members. Funds from this anthology go to help the guild so consider giving it a look!


Part of our website update was making our Furry Writers’ Market better than ever before! You can find all of open markets for furry writing we can track down here: https://furrywritersguild.com/furry-writers-market/

Currently, these anthology markets are open:

Consider checking out our page for details and writing up a story for one of these awesome anthologies!


We know there’s been a lot going on lately, but we hope the guild can keep working together to keep making this an awesome space for all of our members. If you have any ideas for special programs we could work on, be sure to let us know! We have more projects around the corner that we’re very excited to show off when they are ready. Stay safe all of you wonderful furry writers!

– FWG President Linnea “LiteralGrill” Capps

New Guild Presidency And Announcements

Hello everyone! I’m incredibly thankful to be the new president of the Furry Writers’ Guild. We have a lot of things to get to in this big update so let’s get started! As my reign of terror begins (wait perhaps I should have worded that better) I want to first personally thank our previous administration for all the work they have done to keep the guild running. It takes a lot of behind the scenes effort to keep things running smoothly and they all deserve to be applauded for it! 

I outlined a lot of plans within my platform and intend to hit the ground running on getting them going. There is a lot coming down the pipeline, so for now we’re going to give a brief update and give some specific details in the coming days. I’ll try to keep things as brief as possible. So no more preamble, let’s get to it!

Modernization And Updates To The Guild

First we would like to announce our brand new official discord channel! This channel has some fun features including a special beta reading program that you can find details on by joining up. We also have specific discussion channels and plan to host fun events using this new platform. 

We’ll be transitioning from using the Slack channel to using our Discord in full over the next week, so be sure to join if you enjoy our Coffee House Chats. Remember: our discord channel is open to the public, not just members of the FWG so we hope you will all join us there!

logoFWG
Our New Logo!

We will also be updating the website in the coming days; in fact you may have noticed we’ve already made some changes! We have needed A fresh new look will bring some excitement to the guild, and with that comes our brand new logo. I know our lovely fox typing away has been a mainstay of the guild for a long time, but it’s time to give the guild a more modern look. 

Full Update Of Guild Member Listings

Alongside the visual overhaul of the website, we would like to make sure our guild listings are also up to date. We’ve been taking greater efforts to help promote members of the guild and have noticed a lot of listings aren’t up to date, people have changed handles, fursonas, and some links to websites are entirely dead. 

As we have to update the website theme to something currently supported by wordpress, it may involve serious site maintenance as is. There is no better time than now to get this done. Hopefully we can tackle this one and have it done before the end of May. We will be giving a full update on this project tomorrow, but any FWG members wanting to get ahead of the game and submit their updated info can do so here.

A Vote To Amend The By-laws and Code of Conduct

While I was able to win the presidency unopposed, we will still need to hold a vote about updates to the Code of Conduct as well as the Guild By-laws. Some updates are needed in general, like to have a process to decide the Cóyotl Awards Chair as well as add other processes we have needed for some time. We also hope to reorganize officer positions to better define each role as well as officially add roles that were temporarily made during the previous administration. 

Through this, we hope to also make it so volunteering for positions in the future won’t be too large a workload to discourage people from helping. Speaking of, we will likely being reaching out for volunteers to help with things soon so keep an eye out!

We also intend to bring up for discussion and potentially a vote, changes to our Code of Conduct. We would like to consider strengthening it to reflect the values of the guild as well as be in line with what the majority of publishers within the furry fandom expect when receiving submissions. We will have an update with details and a call for a vote coming to you this Sunday.


I understand that this looks like a lot and I cannot lie: the guild is going to be busier than usual as we try to make these important changes. One of my major goals as president is to bring in more active members and have many fun activities for those looking to join our ranks. I hope that by getting us organized proper, we will have a better ability to do this going forward. Here’s to the exciting future of the Furry Writers’ Guild!

Black History Month Spotlight: Jakebe T. Lope

It’s February, and in honor of Black History Month we have been featuring some of the black authors that are members of the Furry Writers’ Guild. Today will be our last feature for the month, and we will be sharing an interview done with Jakebe T. Lope! He has had stories featured in Breaking the Ice: Stories from New Tibet, Historimorphs, and New Fables. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview.

FWG: Tell the guild and our readers a bit about yourself.

Jakebe: My name is Jakebe T. Lope, though I’ve gone by others in my day. I’ve been in the furry fandom since 1996, so I’m pretty sure that makes me a greymuzzle! I’m a long-time writer and blogger — my blog “From the Writing Desk” is a collection of personal essays about the writing process, my journey with mental health, the furry fandom, Afrofuturism, Buddhism, and politics. Currently, I’m writing serialized erotic fiction through Patreon under The Jackalope Serial Company.

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

Jakebe: I’m really happy with “Nightswimming”, the short story I wrote for Breaking The Ice. It was my first published short story, and I really tried to stretch myself to capture the feeling of isolation within New Tibet and what would make anyone want to stay on that frozen hellhole.

I think the writing that means the most to me, though, are the essays I’ve written about mental health on From The Writing Desk. I come from a background with a serious stigma attached to mental health issues, and it means a lot to me to be open and honest about it, and help others who might be struggling with similar issues.

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?

Jakebe: I think any good story has to end with its reader feeling better about the world they’re living in. Even the stories designed to make us uncomfortable are guides for us to pay attention and work with that discomfort so we’re better able to deal with it on the other side. That doesn’t mean a story can’t just be dumb fun, but even light entertainment needs to leave us with the feeling that the world is a rad place, or it could be if we worked for what we believe in. 

It’s really hard to do this without browbeating an audience with some message. I think you need to be honest, fearless, and compassionate in order to achieve it. The best writing fosters that sense of instant, empathetic connection.

FWG: How long have you been in the guild, and what changes have you seen with regards to how writing is handled since joining?

Jakebe: Oh man, I’ve been in the guild for a while — so long I can’t remember when I’ve joined. I think writing has been largely democratized since I’ve joined, and it’s wonderful to see so many new perspectives popping up across the fandom, with so many interesting expressions of what brings us to it. It’s been really encouraging to see.

At the same time, I worry that there’s been a breakdown of the writing community because we’ve stopped listening to each other and become much more ego-driven. In my experience, there’s been less of a willingness to help one another with our craft and the realities of the market. I’d really like to see us return to a spirit of collaboration, guidance, and respect for the craft.

FWG: What does Black History mean to you?

Jakebe: Black history is American history. What my ancestors went through is the shadow side of the version of America we see in our history books and civics classes. A lot of us are shocked about what we’re seeing rising out of our fellow Americans in the current political landscape, but if we pay attention to the history of black Americans and the experiences of other Americans of color, we’d know that these attitudes have been around as long as the Constitution. This IS who we are; we’re just being forced to reckon with it.

At the same time, Black history helps me realize that resilience, perseverance, joy, and a commitment to working for my ideals are all a part of my story. My ancestors passed down amazing values and lessons to me, and it’s a privilege to get to be able to carry those stories and spread them as well as I can.

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

Jakaebe: Absolutely. As a black man in America, you have to make peace with the fact that almost nothing you see is going to be from your perspective. The heroes we grow up watching and wanting to be like don’t necessarily look like us. I grew up queer and nerdy in the inner-city, so I’ve had a really difficult relationship with my Blackness because I’ve never felt accepted by my community. That feeling of being rejected by the dominant culture and my birth culture, of feeling alone and forced to make your own way, it’s always going to be a part of my work. I’m always reacting to that weird tension, of needing to belong but also realizing I never really have, and it shows in my writing. I’m still looking for my tribe.

FWG: Do you feel like the issues that affect the outside world affect your writing within the fandom or not?

Jakebe: They absolutely do. Since I’ve become more politically active I consider it a pretty core part of my job as a writer to find ways to express my perspective to a fandom audience that is largely white. It’s tough, when everyone in the community feels like they’re the underdogs in some way, to have a discussion about privilege or the blind spots they create. Furry literature can be a great way of exploring these sensitive topics in ways that folks are more likely to engage with.

FWG: Do you have favorite Black authors and has their literature affected your writing in the fandom?

Jakebe: YES. Ta-Nehesi Coates is my jam right now; he’s a fellow Baltimore native, and his personal essays have been a North Star for me in so many ways. He’s been killing it on Black Panther, too. 

Octavia Butler has been writing amazing sci-fi and fantasy from a racial lens, and I hope to be able to achieve her level of insight and sensitivity some day. Kindred is such an amazing book. It really shakes your image of American slavery, what it would be like to endure that, and what you would do to combat the forces that shaped it.

There’s three-time Hugo Award winner N.K. Jemisin; there’s Nnedi Okorafor, who also won the Hugo Award for her novella Binti; there’s Daniel Jose Older, who is killing it with urban fantasy through an Afro-Latino lens; there’s Samuel “Chip” Delaney, the great old sci-fi Grandmaster who paved the way for all of us in the game right now. 

It’s a really great time for Afrofuturist writers, and there are so many exciting stories being told that really break out of the traditional sci-fi and fantasy tropes.

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

Jakebe: I feel weird hyping this book after talking about so many excellent black writers, but if you haven’t read The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle it is really a singular work. It’s both an homage to really great epic fantasy and a deconstruction of it; at the end of the novel, even though everyone has achieved what they set out to do each character is fundamentally changed in a way that makes them — and the world — so much more complicated. It’s a staggering, heartbreaking novel, and I love it so much. Most people only know the movie, but the book is better by an order of magnitude and Beagle deserves so much more recognition than he’s gotten.

FWG: Any last words for our readers and guild members?

Jakebe: In order to be an excellent writer, we have to spend so much more time listening and observing others. Listening and absorbing other people without judgement is an overlooked skill, and I think the time is ripe for writers who can present an honest understanding of others without dehumanizing or dismissing them. In so many ways, our separation between each other is an illusion. Our reality is connection. 

You can find Jakebe’s writing on his blog From The Writing Desk and on his Patreon for serialized erotic fiction. You can also find him on Twitter both at @jakebe and @serialjackalope; as well as on Mastodon @jakebe@awoo.space. We hope you found this interview exciting and informative. We hope to continue these features next February for Black History Month as well as find other ways to feature black authors in the guild. If you have suggestions for how this might be done, please contact our public relations officer here. Until next time, may your words flow like water.

 

2019 Cóyotl Awards Voting Open!

We here at the Furry Writers’ Guild are proud to announce that voting for the 2019 Cóyotl Awards is now open! Let’s take a look at the great works of literature up for the vote.

Best Short Story:

“Dirty Rats” by Jan Seigal (The Jackal Who Came In From The Cold)

“Night’s Dawn” by Jaden Drakus (FANG 10)

“Pack” by Sparf (Patterns in Frost: Stories from New Tibet)

 

Best Novella:

“Minor Mage” by T. Kingfisher

“Love Me To Death” by Frances Pauli

 

Best Novel:

“Titles” by Kyell Gold

“Symphony of Shifting Tides” by Leilani Wilson

“Fair Trade” by Gre7g Luterman

“Nexus Nine” by Mary E. Lowd

“The Student – Volume Three” by Joe H. Sherman

 

Best Anthology:

“Patterns in Frost: Stories from New Tibet” edited by Tim Susman

“Fang 9” edited by Ashe Valisca

“Fang 10” Edited by Kyell Gold & Sparf

 

2019 Cóyotl Awards Voting Form

 

We hope to see many members of the guild come together to vote for their favorite works from 2019. Voting will remain open from March 1st through March 31st so make sure to get in that vote!

Black History Month Spotlight: PJ Wolf

It’s February, and in honor of Black History Month we would like to feature some of the black authors that are members of the Furry Writers’ Guild. Today we’ll be sharing an interview done with PJ Wolf! He’s soon to be featured in the NSFW anthology “Give Yourself A Hand” and has written many other stories. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview.

FWG: Tell the guild and our readers a bit about yourself.

PJ Wolf: Ah, hello everyone! I’m PJ Wolf and I’m actually a bit nervous to be doing this because, well, impostor syndrome is real and I’m dealing with it right now. Moving on, I’ve been in the fandom for a while, and have been toying around with ideas in various formats and hoping to put out a novel at some point. I don’t exactly know when or if I’ll get there, but until then, the words do demand I write them. And so I shall.

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

PJ Wolf: I think it’s actually a tie between Secret and Swap Meat, both of which can be found on my SoFurry and FA pages. Secret because I know I absolutely nailed the character voice for the main character and narrator of the story, and he was so fun to inhabit, and Swap Meat because that story got me into RAWR (which was a fantastic experience that if you have the ability and wherewithal to go to, I highly recommend it) and also I took a negative reaction to something and made it into what I think is a pretty solid story.

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?

PJ Wolf: Characters. Characters, characters, characters. A half-done character will probably ruin a story for me, a character that’s a blank slate doesn’t have me intrigued.

FWG: How long have you been in the guild, and what changes have you seen with regards to how writing is handled since joining?

PJ Wolf: I don’t know! It has been a while and I honestly forget how long it’s been since I’ve joined. But if we’re talking in general, it’s been extremely gratifying to have such a helpful community that is writing-focused and also incredibly interested in helping out one another get better.

FWG: What does Black History mean to you?

PJ Wolf: I think it means perseverance in the face of great odds. My ancestors were rounded up from Africa, put onto crowded ships where some died due to starvation and disease, and sold off as slaves. And even though they lost their individual cultural history, they created one with one another in similar straits. Black accomplishment is often defined by what folks have had to overcome in order to be seen as people, and just about every Black child has heard their parents tell them that they have to work twice as hard for half the credit. Even so, Black folks have indelibly put their mark on history, and recognizing the specific achievements of Black folks this month, I hope, leads to our society being more whole.

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

PJ Wolf: Yes, in ways great and small, in ways that I may not even be fully aware of. We all take ourselves into our creative works, since they are a method of self expression, and I think some of the stories that I want to tell are absolutely affected by my being Black.

FWG: Do you feel like the issues that affect the outside world affect your writing within the fandom or not?

PJ Wolf: I would be hard pressed to find a way that it wouldn’t.

FWG: Do you have favorite Black authors and has their literature affected your writing in the fandom?

PJ Wolf: I’m ashamed to say no, I don’t have a favorite Black author. If it’s one area of fiction that I’ve been neglecting, it’s that put out by Black writers.

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

PJ Wolf: Kismet, by Watts Martin. The world feels so alive, and particularly the politics in it. A (to my eyes) libertarian dystopia where if you don’t like the rules where you live, you can (assuming you have the money, natch) move somewhere else down a system of space borne platforms called the River that is supported by the openly more progressive and sustaining Ceres Ring that provides the water everybody else uses to live on? I would hate to live there, but I have read that book several times over and love it every time. I even actively hate one of the supporting characters’ political philosophies but I count it as a point in Kismet’s favor because it’s so fully developed.

FWG: Any last words for our readers and guild members?

PJ Wolf: It’s okay to not write everyday. But nor should you allow yourself to only write during ideal conditions. Sometimes you gotta force things, and even one word is one more word toward your goal, regardless of whether that word survives edits.

You can find PJ Wolf’s writing on both his SoFurry page and Fur Affinity page. He can also be followed on Twitter @pyrostinger

We hope you found this interview exciting and informative as we hope to feature more black authors this month! If you are a black member of the Furry Writers’ Guild and would like to be featured, please contact our public relations officer here. Until next time, may your words flow like water.

Black History Month Spotlight: Copper Sphynx

It’s February, and in honor of Black History Month we would like to feature some of the black authors that are members of the Furry Writers’ Guild. Today we’ll be sharing an interview done with Carmen K. Welsh Jr. who is also known as Copper Sphynx! Without further ado, let’s get to the interview.

FWG: Tell the guild and our readers a bit about yourself!

Copper Sphynx: I’ve been a fan and consumer of anthropomorphized media most of my early childhood. When I watched a movie, cartoon, or finished a TV show or book, I would draw/write the story to continue it. 

I currently write Fantasy/SF, Furry, essays, and comics. 

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

Copper Sphynx: I would like to say my most recent publication, but, in honor of Black History Month, I have to bring up my first and only published poem ‘Only Hound dogs up in Harlem’. It was first printed in a furry convention book and later officially published by the literary journal Typewriter Emergencies and is one of my favorite pieces. It’s based on poetry rooted in 1920s Harlem Renaissance but using canines. 

FWG: What do you think makes a good story?

Copper Sphynx: I’m definitely a character-driven writer. Incredible plots I still enjoy, but the stories I take to heart are those where the cast resonates with me, whether they be protagonist(s) and antagonist(s). 

FWG: How long have you been in the guild, and what changes have you seen with regards to how writing is handled since joining?

Copper Sphynx: I’ve been with the guild since 2011. I’ve seen more efforts in diversifying stories, who can tell what kind of stories, the awareness of differing culture, and more metadata references. Also, online courses and more conferences being offered are all newer changes and exciting.

FWG: What does Black History mean to you?

Copper Sphynx: To know that Black History and other history months is the true and total history of the United States. I have more to say but that’s for my blog and Twitter.

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

Copper Sphynx: It definitely does! Blackness has been made into a visibly negative image at all levels and has been presented to me as a subtraction that I feel the need to show it in all its positives but to show that Blackness is fully faceted. Blackness also affects my furry writing. For example, I refuse to use certain animals in my stories as these very animals are used in real life and historically to denigrate not only people with my skin color but other groups of color as well.

FWG: Do you feel like the issues that affect the outside world affect your writing within the fandom or not?

Copper Sphynx: It certainly has that I’m feeling bolder in my writing and taking more risks with what material and subjects to tackle. And feeling the confidence in which style will serve that particular topic better. Before, I would’ve struggled as a writer and artist because I lacked confidence, but not anymore. Not saying I no longer struggle as a writer, I still do with story mechanics, world building, and the like. I just don’t struggle as much as before in how to present certain topics and subjects.

FWG: Do you have favorite Black authors and has their literature affected your writing in the fandom?

Copper Sphynx: Octavia Butler, Samuel Delaney, Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due and these are just a handful within speculative fiction. But I’ve read Sharon Mathis, Nikki Giovanni, Midred D. Taylor, and Virginia Hamilton as a child. Reading Black authors of other genres has given me more freedom in the ideas I can explore: about race, ethnicity, on social justice, how politics can illuminate or oppress, and how someone can change their fate through conscious and consistent choices.

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

Copper Sphynx: Just ONE? In honor of Black History Month, perhaps Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild short story collection. Short stories have been my first step into literature, which is why I write short fiction now. Also, those same short stories lead to new novels to read and new authors to love.

FWG: Any last words for our readers and guild members?

Copper Sphynx: I was struggling to belong somewhere in the writing community at the same time I was changing direction in my job life. I learned about FWG at the right moment when I needed the guild. Furry has given my art and writing direction, purpose, and a platform. I don’t regret any of it.

 

To learn more about Copper Sphynx and their writings please visit their website here alongside links to their other writing and art accounts. A complete list of their publications is also available on The Angry Goblin Blog. They can be followed on Twitter @KayFey.

We hope you found this interview exciting and informative as we hope to feature more black authors this month! If you are a black member of the Furry Writers’ Guild and would like to be featured, please contact our public relations officer here. Until next time, may your words flow like water.