Furry Writers’ Guild Election Reminder

Just a reminder that April is the FWG election season. Anyone who wishes to run for any of the guild officer positions (president, vice president, treasurer) should feel free to put together a platform and make a post on the forums in accordance with guild by-laws, as detailed here: https://furrywritersguild.com/guild-by-laws/

Our election protocol is the product of a different era, when the forums were the hub of FWG activity. However, since election season is already upon us, the current administration will not attempt to update the process. The election subforum can be found here: https://fwg.makyo.io/c/fwg-ideas-and-feedback/guild-election/25

Thank you, and best of luck to the candidates.

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.

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.