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.

Microfiction Monday: A New FWG Initiative

In an effort to provide more outreach to the anthropomorphic writing community and feature new writers within it, the Furry Writers’ Guild is excited to announce a new initiative: Microfiction Mondays! Microfiction stories can be some of the most challenging to write, with strong restrictions on word and character counts. However, they are also incredibly rewarding and can help us develop new skills. 

Starting March 2nd, we will be featuring one microfiction story through the Furry Writers’ Guild Twitter account every Monday. Where will we be getting these stories? Well that’s where you come in! Any author may participate; Furry Writers’ Guild membership is not required. We are seeking to highlight stories from writers that fit these guidelines:

  • Your story must fit in a single tweet with room for us to give you credit as the author (i.e. your Twitter handle has to fit as well).
  • Feature anthropomorphic characters. We are willing to loosely interpret this one with how few words are available, but try to keep things furry!
  • Stories must be PG 13. We will not be publishing adult works. If your story needs a content warning for other reasons, it must be included in the one tweet limit. 

With all of this in mind, here’s our submission form!

FWG Microfiction Monday Submission Form

Submissions are open now, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. We are also open to multiple submissions, even if you’ve already been featured. We want to include as many stories as we can, so do not be afraid to submit!

Our main goal here is to allow authors to flex their creativity and give them an outlet to show it off while connecting anthropomorphic writers to each other. This is a non-paying market. Please note, these submissions will not count as publishing credits towards joining the Furry Writers’ Guild. The authors of these stories maintain full rights to their work.

We hope you enjoy and take advantage of this new FWG initiative! If you have suggestions for other initiatives like this one that could be good for the guild please contact a guild officer or send a DM to our Twitter account. Happy writing everyone!

On the Future of The Coyotl Awards

As you may already be aware, the Coyotl Awards chairperson has stepped down from her position after six years. Not only that, but the Coyotl Awards website has been lost due to an unrelated technical issue and will have to be rebuilt.

 

It falls on us now to rebuild to the best of our ability. However, owing to the sudden and unexpected nature of these issues, we believe it would be best if the 2019 Coyotl Awards were delayed for one year while we try to put things back in order. Yes, this does mean we would have two years of awards at the same time, but this has happened before and so it is not without precedent.

 

In order to reconstruct the Coyotls, two things will need to happen:

 

  • The website will have to be rebuilt. We have hosting available, but someone will need to get into the nitty-gritty of coding the site afresh.
  • The establishment of a committee to oversee and administrate The Coyotl Awards. We find it unlikely any one individual will be willing and able to shoulder the workload that former chair Ryffnah did, but even if we found such a person, we would rather split up the assignments in order to avoid burnout.

 

The specifics regarding the roles and responsibilities of the Coyotl chairperson and their fellow administrators have yet to decided. This will be unexplored territory both for the Coyotls and for the FWG.

The Coyotl Awards have always enjoyed a great deal of autonomy from the FWG structure; we believe this is healthy since it bolsters them against outside tampering. Accordingly, we would like to preserve that autonomy for their next iteration.  The new chairperson will be given generous leeway in order to facilitate the reconstruction effort.

At this time, we believe that three individuals should be enough of a committee to make this happen, but the number may change as events unfold. If you would like to help with rebuilding the Coyotl Awards website and/or wish to volunteer your services as chairperson (or an assistant), please contact a guild officer.

 

Thank you. We look forward to hearing from you.

Future of the Furry Writers’ Guild

Recently, there was a lengthy discussion in the FWG Telegram chat wherein various changes to the FWG were proposed. The discussion then moved to the FWG forums, where it continues still (a link will be provided towards the end of this post). The scope of the discourse involved more than can be comfortably summated here, but we will touch on a few of the points raised.

 

  • First, we’ll address something that came up multiple times: the idea of the FWG collecting dues. Doing so would allow the FWG to expand its operation. But while many support this idea, I expect there are others who would not. Knowledgeable members have also said that if dues become a factor, it would be important that the FWG establishes itself as a full-fledged legal entity, a status it does not currently enjoy. This would add a new layer of complexity to the guild’s administrative requirements while also demanding additional officers to keep it all running.

 

The current FWG administration sees only two officers managing almost everything, and already stretched thin. Were we to attempt such a major overhaul here on the tail end of our terms, it would result in us quickly finding ourselves in over our heads and unable to proceed. Hence, while we are not opposed to the notion of dues per se, we do not have the capacity to implement them ourselves. That issue will have to be left for the next administration to decide and/or enact. Rather, we should like to set realistic goals that can be met in the remaining weeks of our tenure.

 

  • Some of our esteemed members have suggested the creation of additional offices within the administrative structure. We agree that this is a good idea, and propose the immediate establishment of two new positions, with the possibility of more to come. However, because we are approaching the end of our tenure, we will be fielding these officers on something of a “trial basis.” If it goes well, then they may become official positions in the future.

 

The first would be a chief PR (public relations) officer. They would be tasked with representing the guild on social media as well as developing and pursuing promotional strategies. One can imagine this position as a crucial one, so finding a person who’s a good fit for the office is paramount. If you are interested, please contact a guild officer.

 

The second proposed office is for a dedicated “markets manager.” This person is tasked with keeping the markets section of the website up to date. We have already filled this position, everyone please welcome and show your appreciation to WildWeiler!

 

  • There has been renewed discussion of member-generated instructional content related to writing. The FWG is always happy to host and help promote this sort of project, whether in the form of blog posts, forum threads, videos or sound clips, singly or as a series. Contributors have all the flexibility in the world at their disposal, so if you have an idea, contact a guild officer and we’ll work out the details together. If you’ve been looking for a way to help the guild, this would be a good way to do it.

 

  • This coming April is election season for the FWG. Activity may slow at that time as the current administration prepares to transfer power to the incoming one (we will not seek reelection). So, if you’d like to take a whack at running the FWG, go ahead and start putting together your platform.

 

 

This was originally going to include a statement regarding the Coyotl Awards, however, that will have to come as its own post. So, look forward to that!

The Rehoused FWG Forums

For those unaware, the FWG forums have been successfully transferred to their new home (thank you Sean and Makyo!). While there remains work to be done to restore their former functionality, they are operational and open to use.

 

For security reasons, passwords were not transferred over; you will need to log in with your email, then set a new password. To do so, once you have logged in, click your avatar in the upper right-hand portion of the screen, then click your name in the drop-down menu and select “preferences.” The password-setting process can be a little tedious, so please be patient.

 

A consequence of the move/merger is that many accounts were automatically deleted by the system. This was more likely to occur if you had not used the forum for some time. If that is the case, you will need to make a new account. We apologize for the inconvenience.

 

The link to the new forums will follow. Note that we plan to change the URL in the future.

 

https://fwg.makyo.io/

 

A thread for suggestions regarding the forums is here: https://fwg.makyo.io/t/discourse-ideas-tips-and-questions/2168

Furry Book Month 2019

Furry Book Month is here again, and the FWG is ready to get the word out. Watch this space, as well as our Twitter account and the hashtag #FurryBookMonth for limited-time pricing on furry literature from authors, publishers and retailers.

If you have any deals on furry literature you’d like us to promote this October, contact us here or on our Twitter account (@FurWritersGuild) so we can add it!

Status of Non-members in the FWG

It has come to our attention that an old misconception regarding the Furry Writers’ Guild is still prevalent in the furry writing community at large, that being the belief that only full FWG members may use FWG spaces and resources. We would like to quell that misconception now.

To be clear: FWG SPACES ARE OPEN TO ALL FURRY WRITERS, REGARDLESS OF MEMBERSHIP STATUS.

The main difference between a member and a non-member (or “future member” as we call them) is that only full members have the privilege to nominate and vote in the Coyotl Awards. When it comes to using the various FWG-branded spaces, there is no difference between members and non-members whatsoever. So long as a person is a furry writer of good conduct, they are welcome to use our chats and resources as much as they desire.

If anyone should make a claim to the contrary, please take a moment to correct them, or direct them to this statement.

 

Thank you,

 

The FWG Staff