FWG Monthly Newsletter: April 2022

No fools, jokes, or misleads here – just another monthly update from the Furry Writers Guild!

In the coming weeks we will start pushing forward with dates and information about the guild elections. If you are considering standing for any of the guild member roles, including president or vice-president, then please make a post of intention in the forums.

The writing awards are drawing closer. The Ursa Major Awards have already closed for voting, with the winners expected to be announced in around one month.

This will also be about when the Coyotl Awards will be announced, with the awards ceremony taking place at FurDU. The ceremony will be livestreamed at 2pm on Saturday 30th April, AEST. This should be 9pm Friday Pacific Time.
There are still two weeks left for voting in the Coyotls, so guild members are encouraged to cast your votes as soon as you can!

March 31st was an important day for a large part of our community. Trans Day of Visibility is a reminder that there are many trans people around the world who still face significant oppression, and deserve to have the spotlight shined on them for some positive exposure. They deserve our support, not just for one day, but all through the year.

Through Twitter, we asked trans furry authors to share their work, with the hope they can reach a larger audience. We hope readers will check out our tweet, and the many replies we received. Your new favourite author might be amongst them!

https://twitter.com/FurWritersGuild/status/1509394666197696523

There are a few ongoing submission calls for short stories, though we have not seen many themed anthology calls at this stage. If you see something that you think can be highlighted by the FWG, then please contact us with information about it!

FURVOR #1 – Deadline Around March
Isekai Me! – Deadline When Full
Children Of The Night – Deadline When Full
#ohmurr! – Deadline: Ongoing
Zooscape – Reoccurring submission period.

Please also consider checking out some of the new and upcoming releases from our members.

Scars of the Golden Dancer, by NightEyes DaySpring. Released March 4th.

Knotty Works, by NightEyes DaySpring. Released March 4th.


Aces High, by J. Daniel Phillips. Released March 18th.

A Furry Faux Paw, by Jessica Kara. Available for pre-order. Released May 24th 2022.

Winter Without End, by Casimir Laski. Available for pre-order. Released Late May 2022.

Red Pandamonium, by Roan Rosser. Available for pre-order. Released June 13th 2022.

Unfinished Business, by Tim Susman. Available for pre-order. Released July 5th 2022.

As always, any guild members who want to see their upcoming books included in the newsletter, please let us know! We try to keep up to date with everything, but there will always be some things we miss.

Please do keep an eye out on our twitter feed for the latest updates and news from the FWG, in particular the upcoming elections and the awards ceremonies.

Until next time.
Keep safe and happy writing.
J.F.R. Coates

FWG Monthly Newsletter: March 2022

The end of February has proven to be a very scary one for a lot of people. From everyone here at the Furry Writers Guild, we hope everyone is able to stay safe – whether it be from war, the continued pandemic, or natural disasters. We hope that you’re able to escape to your writing if possible, but also know that it’s ok to step back from it all if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Find your solace and peace however you may.

In the furry writing world, March brings us towards the business end of award season. The finalists for the Ursa Major Awards should be announced soon (if not already), and the Coyotl Awards have just two weeks of nominations left. Both of these awards will then be open for voting on the finalists (with the Coyotls being open only to FWG members). We encourage everyone to get involved and vote for your favourites.

March will also see the Furry Writers Guild start preparing for the guild elections in April. Should anyone wish to put themselves forward for any of the guild officer positions, then please do so in the appropriate area of the forums. An election date has not yet been called, so feel free to take a few weeks to weigh up your position and goals should you put yourself forward.
As of this stage, I am unsure whether I will be standing for president again, due to a changed work situation.

There are a few ongoing submission calls for short stories, though we have not seen many themed anthology calls at this stage. If you see something that you think can be highlighted by the FWG, then please contact us with information about it!

FURVOR #1 – Deadline Around March
Prehistories – Deadline March 31st
Isekai Me! – Deadline When Full
Children Of The Night – Deadline When Full
#ohmurr! – Deadline: Ongoing
Zooscape – Reoccurring submission period.

Please also consider checking out some of the new and upcoming releases from our members.

C.A.T.S.: Cycling Across Time And Space: 11 Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories about Bicycling and Cats – an anthology featuring guild member Alice Dryden. Released February 8th 2022.

Brothers At Arms, by R.A. Meenan. Released February 14th, 2022.

Scars of the Golden Dancer, by NightEyes DaySpring. Available for pre-order. Released March 4th.

Knotty Works, by NightEyes DaySpring. Available for pre-order. Released March 4th.


Aces High, by J. Daniel Phillips. Available for pre-order. Released March 18th.

A Furry Faux Paw, by Jessica Kara. Available for pre-order. Released May 24th 2022.

Red Pandamonium, by Roan Rosser. Available for pre-order. Released June 13th 2022.

Unfinished Business, by Tim Susman. Available for pre-order. Released July 5th 2022.

As always, any guild members who want to see their upcoming books included in the newsletter, please let us know! We try to keep up to date with everything, but there will always be some things we miss.

Once again, we hope everyone is able to stay safe. If you feel comfortable writing, then we hope you can gain some degree of peace and escape from it. If you can’t, please don’t feel guilty that there are higher priorities.

Until next month.
Happy writing and stay safe.
J.F.R. Coates

FWG Monthly Newsletter: February 2022

February is here, and that brings a couple of important events to the start of the year.

Firstly, in the USA February is considered to be Black History Month. The Furry Writers’ Guild fully supports the push for equality throughout the world, and that includes fair representation in arts and media, including writing spaces. We hope to have a few features through the month to showcase our diverse authors. If this is something you want to be involved in, please get in contact with us.

Secondly, February is also when the Coyotl Awards open for formal nominations. They are not yet open as of posting this newsletter, but they should be before long. All details can be found at the Coyotl Awards website.
Furry Writers’ Guild members may nominate any work published in 2021 (except their own) to the relevant category. The nominee does not need to be an FWG member – just the nominator.
Nominations will be open for about a month and a half. We encourage all guild members to nominate and vote in March.
If you want to nominate some works and think you might be eligible for guild membership, check out the requirements here. You only need to be a member by March 14th to be able to nominate works in time.

There are a few ongoing submission calls for short stories, though we have not seen many themed anthology calls at this stage. If you see something that you think can be highlighted by the FWG, then please contact us with information about it!

FURVOR #1 – Deadline Around March
Isekai Me! – Deadline When Full
Children Of The Night – Deadline When Full
#ohmurr! – Deadline: Ongoing
Zooscape – Reoccurring submission period.

The start of the year has also been a time where some of our members have had new books released, or have works available for pre-order. We hope you’ll check these out as well.

Toledot, by Madison Scott-Clary. Released January 21st 2022.

C.A.T.S.: Cycling Across Time And Space: 11 Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories about Bicycling and Cats – an anthology featuring guild member Alice Dryden. Available for pre-order. Released February 8th 2022.

A Furry Faux Paw, by Jessica Kara. Available for pre-order. Released May 24th 2022.

As always, any guild members who want to see their upcoming books included in the newsletter, please let us know! We try to keep up to date with everything, but there will always be some things we miss.

We hope that you all have a safe and productive February. We encourage people to seek out those telling the true stories of Black History Month.

Happy writing and stay safe.
J.F.R. Coates

FWG Monthly Newsletter: January 2022

For many, I’m sure that leaving behind 2021 beings about a good amount of relief. It has been an intense year to say the least, and from everyone here at the Furry Writers Guild, we hope that 2022 brings a lot more positivity and hope.

2021 was a difficult year to maintain goals and targets, with so many other things to worry about. Still, we thought it would be good to look forward to 2022 and reflect on what we plan to achieve with our writing, and to consider what we did manage to complete during 2021. We asked everyone on Twitter to share their writing targets. If you have not already done so, then we encourage people to share what they hope to complete in 2022.

We also asked what your favourite books of the year have been. What have you read to hide away from reality for a little while? Please share that with us as well!

One of our main goals for the early part of the year is to improve the Suggested Reading part of the website. This will hopefully become a more complete list of our members’ works, organised better into genre and themes.

In the previous newsletter we discussed the Furry Book Awards that take place every year. The Ursa Major Awards continue to take entries for their Recommended Reading List, which is their informal early shortlist.
As of today, the Coyotl Awards have also opened for the reading list. You can submit any of your own eligible works for inclusion on this list, with formal nominations opening to guild members in February. The awards will be hosted at FurDU at the end of April.

There are a few ongoing submission calls for short stories, though we have not seen many themed anthology calls at this stage. If you see something that you think can be highlighted by the FWG, then please contact us with information about it!

Isekai Me! – Deadline When Full
Children Of The Night – Deadline When Full
#ohmurr! – Deadline: Ongoing
Zooscape – Reoccurring submission period (Currently closed until Jan 15th 2022).

Some of our members also had new novels coming out over the Christmas period, or have works available for pre-order. We hope you’ll check these out as well.

Winter Wonders – an anthology featuring guild member Alice Dryden. Released December 1st 2021.

The Archeons Series Omnibus, by James L. Steele. Released December 2021.

C.A.T.S.: Cycling Across Time And Space: 11 Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories about Bicycling and Cats – an anthology featuring guild member Alice Dryden. Available for pre-order. Released February 8th 2022.

A Furry Faux Paw, by Jessica Kara. Available for pre-order. Released May 24th 2022.

As always, any guild members who want to see their upcoming books included in the newsletter, please let us know! We try to keep up to date with everything, but there will always be some things we miss.

We hope that 2022 brings a new positivity and hope for everyone. We at the FWG look forward to seeing what new writing can come from our members and followers.
Good luck, everyone.

Happy writing and stay safe!
J.F.R. Coates

FWG Monthly Newsletter: December 2021

The end of another year is nearly upon us. 2021 has certainly been a dramatic year, one with just as much uncertainty as the one that preceded it. Hopefully it has also come with a little bit more hope that things just might start improving again for 2022.

As the year comes to an end, many of our authors will be looking forward to the furry writing awards. This is the time of year to consider what you have read over the last 12 months that you really enjoyed and to nominate it when the awards open. Many authors will also provide lists around this time of year of what they have published.

For those who are not aware, the three writing awards are the Ursa Major Awards (currently accepting nominations for the Reading List); the Leo Awards; and the FWG’s own Coyotl Awards.

These awards are a wonderful part of the community, and the Furry Writers’ Guild encourages everyone to get involved where possible. This is our opportunity to celebrate the best our writing community has to offer.

Of course, 2022 will be another year with plenty of fantastic furry fiction produced. You can get a head start on the year by considering the current open short story markets:

Felis Futura – Deadline December 31st
Isekai Me! – Deadline When Full
Children Of The Night – Deadline When Full
#ohmurr! – Deadline: Ongoing
Zooscape – Reoccurring submission period (Currently closed until Jan 15th 2022).

A few of our members have also got some work being released around this time. Recently released stories and pre-orders include:

A Wildness of the Heart: Limerent Object and Other Stories, by Madison Scott-Clary. Released November 1st 2021.

Resistance, by J.F.R. Coates. Released November 5th 2021.

Heretic, by J.F.R. Coates. Released November 5th 2021.

The Bee’s Waltz, by Mary E. Lowd. Released November 7th 2021.

Winter Wonders – an anthology featuring guild member Alice Dryden. Released December 1st 2021.

The Archeons Series Omnibus, by James L. Steele. Expected December 2021.

C.A.T.S.: Cycling Across Time And Space: 11 Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories about Bicycling and Cats – an anthology featuring guild member Alice Dryden. Available for pre-order. Released February 8th 2022.

A Furry Faux Paw, by Jessica Kara. Available for pre-order. Released May 24th 2022.

As always, any guild members who want to see their upcoming books included in the newsletter, please let us know! We try to keep up to date with everything, but there will always be some things we miss.

As the last scheduled newsletter of the year, it is only left to me to wish everyone a safe and happy conclusion to the year. Happy holidays!

Stay safe. Keep writing.
J.F.R. Coates

Charles Read Academy Library and Furry Titles


We would like to shout out to Huskyteer for helping to organise this.

The Charles Read Academy in the UK was seeking new YA titles for their library, with a particular focus on queer/LGBTQ+ content. Huskyteer helped arrange things with both Goal Publications and FurPlanet to get a number of furry titles included in this library. By all accounts, they have been a great success so far! The school library wasn’t even able to share a picture of all the books because they were being checked out so quickly!

Not only is it a wonderful thing to see a school library actively seek queer books for their library, but it is great to see young readers enjoying reading them as well. Thank you to the staff at Charles Read Academy for doing this, and thank you to Huskyteer for ensuring that furry fiction has been included.

https://twitter.com/CraLibrary/status/1455597392129110017

The furry titles included are:

  • Nexus Nine – Mary E. Lowd
  • The Tower And The Fox – Tim Susman
  • Huntress – Renee Carter Hall
  • Kismet – Watts Martin
  • Koa Of The Drowned Kingdom – Ryan Campbell
  • Beyond Acacia Ridge – Amy Fontaine
  • Of Birds And Branches – Frances Pauli

FWG Monthly Newsletter: November 2021


October certainly was a busy month! We hope you all enjoyed the content throughout Furry Book Month, and that you have been able to find a few new favourite authors and stories to enjoy. If you missed anything during the month, we have our recap here.
Otherwise, this will only be a short newsletter, but if you think we have missed something important, do let us know!

In addition to Furry Book Month, the news broke last month that Fenris Publishing has acquired Rabbit Valley Comics. We’re looking forward to how the Rabbit Valley name moves forward into this new future for them, and have every faith in Fenris Publishing to keep that history intact.

For some people, November means NaNoWriMo. Good luck to everyone attempting the 50,000 words this month. If you have other targets that better suit your writing habits, then we hope you are successful in them all.

Of course, not everyone is looking for a novel in a month. Instead, they’re after some short stories. Thankfully, we have some open markets to aim for!

If instead you’d like to spend the month reading instead of writing, then we have some newly released books and pre-orders from some of our members to check out.

A Swordmaster’s Tail, edited by Tarl Hoch. Released October 1st 2021.

A Wildness of the Heart: Limerent Object and Other Stories, by Madison Scott-Clary. Available for pre-order. Released November 1st 2021.

Resistance, by J.F.R. Coates. Available for pre-order. Released November 5th 2021.

Heretic, by J.F.R. Coates. Available for pre-order. Released November 5th 2021.

The Bee’s Waltz, by Mary E. Lowd. Released November 7th 2021.

Winter Wonders – an anthology featuring guild member Alice Dryden. Available for pre-order. Released December 1st 2021.

C.A.T.S.: Cycling Across Time And Space: 11 Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories about Bicycling and Cats – an anthology featuring guild member Alice Dryden. Available for pre-order. Released February 8th 2022.

For one final time, thank you to everyone who contributed to Furry Book Month and Oxfurred Comma, as well as those who supported us by reading the Q&As and attending the panels. Without the furry writing community, there would be no purpose to the Furry Writers Guild.
Enjoy NaNoWriMo if you’re attempting it.

Stay safe. Keep writing!
J.F.R. Coates

Furry Book Month 2021: Recap


Furry Book Month is coming to an end for another year. Thank you again to all the people who have contributed to the content we have put out over the month – it has been a great experience for us, and I hope that you have enjoyed the interviews, books, and of course, Oxfurred Comma.

Of course, the month isn’t quite over yet, so if you were still looking for a new book to read then there are still a few ongoing deals and sales until October is over. Check out this page here to see what offers are available.

Over the month, we also put out a number of Q&As with the authors, publishers, and reviewers of the furry writing community. In case you missed one, we have a complete list of those posts here:

Of course, just because Furry Book Month is coming to a close, doesn’t mean we stop our work in helping to further furry writing. If you’re using social media, use the #furrywriting hashtag to get our attention, as we regularly check this for some of the latest news and updates from the writing community.

We hope you have enjoyed Furry Book Month 2021. Keep reading, keep writing, and most importantly, keep supporting the furry writing community!
We’ll be back tomorrow for our regular monthly newsletter.

Furry Book Month Publisher Q&A: Rabbit Valley Comics


The final Q&A for the month comes from Andrew Rabbitt of Rabbit Valley Comics. Andrew has a long history in the furry publishing and writing community, and has plenty of insight to share. Note that this interview was done before the recent news that Fenris Publishing has acquired Rabbit Valley Comics.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, and the publisher you are representing.

Hello, Andrew Rabbitt here representing Rabbit Valley® Comics.

Since 1997, Rabbit Valley Comics – then known as Another Rabco Disaster – has been serving the furry community through the distribution and publication of artwork, books, comics, magazines, novels, and more. Our Vast Catalog of Other Good Stuff™ has been available online and in print since the late 1990s. Rabbit Valley Comics started out as a distribution company focusing on the comic Associated Student Bodies by Lance Rund and Chris McKinley. ASB has been available for sale in many formats over the years including individual comic issues, a hardcover collection, a digital download, and most recently a softcover collection. In the early 2000s Rabbit Valley Comics started publishing works including Circles and Spooo Presents; both of these titles are still available to this day. At Rabbit Valley Comics, we’re focused on bringing the best in anthropomorphic literature to market.

Personally, I joined the team as a helper in 2000 and became a full partner in 2004. If you’ve placed an order from Rabbit Valley after 2000, chances are I picked, packed, and shipped it. Outside of the store I enjoy camping, cooking, and cleaning.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom?

My favorite thing about the furry fandom is the diversity and creativity. On any given day there are thousands of images shared on social media and video streaming sites as well as furry owned and operated image boards and other media platforms.

Our community excels in creativity. If you can think it, a furry is making it – for the community. A short list of things created for furries by furries would include:

  • Writing
  • Artwork
  • Costumes
  • FurSuits
  • Shirts, Sweatshirts, and other outerwear
  • Adult Novelty Toys
  • Adult Diapers
  • Underwear
  • Stickers

The list goes on and on…

In every major industry you will find furries. Doctors, lawyers, dishwashers, and truck drives…furries can be found in all walks of life and at all socioeconomic levels.

The Furry Fandom transcends politics, religion, race, and gender.

The Furry Fandom is a cultural melting pot where all are free to express their ideas, creativity, and desire to belong.

All this and more is why I love the fandom. Picking a favourite aspect would be impossible.

What made you decide to get involved with the furry publishing scene?

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s there wasn’t many options for a comic artist or writer to distribute their works to the fandom. There were three publishers all still getting their feet wet – so to speak. The fandom was smaller then and 1000 people at a convention was a big deal. I got into publishing to help creators get their work into the paws of adoring fans.

It’s been a very satisfying twenty+ years.

What do you believe makes a good story?

What makes a good story? That’s a good question. I guess, for me, a good story can be boiled down to relatability. Can the reader relate to what is going on in the work? I personally find that if I can relate to a work, then I can safely call the work good.  Sure, spelling, grammar, firm plot, resolved/unresolved conflict, character development, scene setting, etc… are important in story crafting, but that doesn’t mean the work is good – to me.

One can have a perfectly literature rule-following story that just falls flat on its face because it’s not relatable to the reader. Again, to me, a story has to be relatable in order for it to be good.

I don’t need perfect grammar or spelling to decide if something is good. I don’t need consistent subject verb agreement or exacting prose to make a story work. ALL that can be fixed in editing.

What are some of the biggest challenges with publishing in a relatively niche market?

Over the years I’d say the biggest challenge has been in content curation. There are many, many works out in the furry fandom that are ripe for publication and distribution.

From a business standpoint the challenges we consider are saleability, quality, audience, market share, price, and time investment. Of these I’d say that, from my point of view, saleability is the most critical.

One can pour a lot of time and pay a premium price to make a work the best that it can be, one can use marketing to promote the work, but if it isn’t saleable – the is no market for it – then all that effort is wasted. This doesn’t mean that the work is bad, just not right for our market.

Over the years we’ve had a few works fall flat due to not resonating with our customer base. We’ve learned to review works based on what our customers want. This has help us avoid investing heavily in works that are better suited for another market.

What are some of the best parts of publishing furry books?

The best part of publishing furry works for others is helping creators get their works into the paws of readers.

We spend a lot of time and resources making each piece the best that it can be – helping authors with their writing process, artist with anatomy, pointing out flaws and ways to correct them…we invest in our contributors so that they can grow in their craft. To me, that’s the best part of being a publisher.

The other side of the coin is that we’re also distributors. The best part of being a distributor is having a vast catalogue to pick from when a customer asks for a recommendation. Connecting contributors with content is a perk of the job.

What is the ideal writer to work with like?

I’ve never worked with an ideal writer. I enjoy working with writers and editors who accept feedback and work it into their process. As long as an author is willing to see beyond what they’ve written and accept that there is always room for improvement, we’ll have no issues.

Novels vs Anthologies. Which do you prefer working on, and how do they compare in terms of sales?

Novels. It’s much easier to work with a single contributor than a group.

That said, anthologies sell better.

What do you believe is the biggest misconception about the process of publishing, either specific to furry publishing or generally?

Biggest misconception in the whole publishing process is that us publishers are out to take money from creators. We’re not. Many of the furry publishers are doing this as a labour of love. We’re not getting rich on the backs of our content creators.

Rabbit Valley® Comics has always been a passion project to help put content into the paws of readers. Back in the late 90s when Associated Student Bodies had no distribution network,  we stepped up and partnered with the creators to get their comics into the hands of gay critters the world over. After ASB ended we jumped into publishing to fill the void left behind with Circles. We then started publishing novels, anthologies, and other series. Following that we launched the first furry digital book store in March of 2013…

It’s always said “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but just how important is cover art to the success of a book?

Cover art looks good on a webpage, looks good on a table display. It’s what piques the curiosity of the reader. It’s important.

Back when I was in school most of the books didn’t have decent cover art. My copy of The Hobbit is hardcover, leather bound, and only has the words “The Hobbit” on the cover. Nothing else…

Here, in 2021, I think cover art is more important in showing the reader what’s inside than back when I was in school.

I never liked the phrase. Cover art is important.

Is there anything you would like to see more of in furry fiction?

I’d like to see more works from under-represented groups.


This is the last of the spotlights for Furry Book Month 2021. We hope you have enjoyed these insights into the furry writing community. Perhaps you have found a new favourite story or authors amongst all of these. Perhaps you have learned something new about the writing process, or found that spark to write again!
Thank you for reading these and for supporting the furry writing community.

Furry Book Month Author Q&A: Renee Carter Hall


Our final author for the month is Renee Carter Hall, who also has plenty to share about furry writing and her own processes. Please do have a read through – and perhaps click through to her essay on writing anthropomorphic characters.


Tell us a little bit about your most recent project (written or published). Was there a particular inspiration for it?

Right now, what I’m most working on is trying to get some momentum back with my writing generally. I’ve been in a dry spell for a few years — no One Big Reason for it, just a lot of things, external and internal — and, along the way, questioning what I really want to write and where I want to focus my efforts. So I have a handful of furry short stories that have been in the works for a long time that I’m trying to finally finish and send out, because I really love some of these ideas and characters.

My other big project at the moment is a middle grade novel (aimed at ages 8-12), a contemporary fantasy about a boy whose favorite comic-book superhero shows up at his house and ends up revealing that the comic books weren’t always telling the whole story — and that they weren’t always necessarily the hero. That’s still in the early drafting stages, but I’m planning to eventually query agents once it’s done and try to publish it traditionally.

My writing career sometimes feels like a Venn diagram of three circles with only a little overlap — fantasy/science fiction for adults, furry fiction, and children’s fiction — so it’s hard sometimes to figure out what to prioritize.

What is your favourite thing about the furry fandom?

I’m always impressed by the sheer amount of creativity in the fandom, whatever form it takes, and the fact that so much of it is focused on creating original content and not just replicating or re-purposing something from mainstream media (though there’s room for that, too). I forget who said that, basically, “furries make their own stuff to be fans of,” but I appreciate how unique that is.

As an author, I also appreciate that there’s a place where I can share a serious story starring an animal character without worrying that it’s going to be automatically dismissed as weird or juvenile. As much as I want to see furry fiction grow its audience beyond the boundaries of the fandom, and receive its due credit and respect for the speculative art it is, it’s reassuring to know that that supportive space is there for my work.

Why write furry fiction?

Years ago I would have written you an essay for this answer. (Well, actually I guess I did write an essay: “On Anthropomorphic Characters,” the foreword for Will Sanborn’s furry anthology Different Worlds, Different Skins Vol. 2.) 

These days, I suppose I’d boil it down to the fact that storytellers in all eras and all media have always used nonhuman characters to explore what it means to be human. Furry fiction is part of that.

Besides, nobody questions why children like stories about animals. Why are we supposed to outgrow them?

What is your writing process like? Do you outline and plot, or are you a “pantser”?

A bit of both, depending mostly on the length of the project. For a short story, my version of an outline is pretty loose, usually a few pages of notes and brainstorming, maybe lists of key scenes and elements, things like that, and then I jump in and see where things go. For a novella or a novel, I tend to want the plot a little more concrete before I really get going, in hopes of not having to discard so much along the way.

What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?

In terms of the actual prose, probably dialogue. I love writing dialogue. But also, bigger picture, I like to think I’m good at taking a premise that might otherwise sound pretty absurd and crafting an emotionally moving story from it. (My readers can have the final say on that, though.)

What is your favourite kind of story to write? Does it align well with what you like to read?

I’m most at home with fantasy of one kind or another — some hint of wonder or magic — and I like adding a touch of humor where I can. My reading is fairly eclectic, though, so I do read a lot of genres that I don’t typically write, like contemporary YA, horror, and historical.

Which character of yours do you most identify with, and why?

There’s a lot of me in Leya from Huntress— her longing, her drive, her perfectionism, and her questioning. Sometimes, though, I also like Dinkums from Real Dragons Don’t Wear Sweaters, wanting to be taken seriously as a fearsome creature of legend despite being pink, fuzzy, and cute. Whenever I wish I could write some kind of edgy, complex, epic tome that will win prestigious awards; whenever I feel like all I’m doing is writing silly, shallow little stories that will never really matter — yeah, that’s Dinkums.

Which authors or specific books have most influenced your work?

Some of my biggest influences aren’t actually authors, even though they’re all storytellers. I grew up on the creative works of Jim Henson, Chuck Jones, and Steven Spielberg, to name a few, and I can sometimes see little glimmers in my work of the same type of humor or warmth or an ordinary character thrown into an extraordinary situation.

For furry fiction, books like Bambi, Ratha’s Creature, Watership Down and the Redwall series shaped my love of animal fantasy. And though I know them only as a byline, I’ll always feel a certain debt to furry author Todd G. Sutherland, whose story “Wings” inspired my own “Dog Days,” which became my first story published within the fandom.

What is the last book you read that you really love?

Probably Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker. It’s a middle grade novel that’s made up of these spooky intertwined stories being told to a group of fox kits, and it’s kind of fun that you can look at the situations either from the animal characters’ or the human reader’s perspective — like, there’s a story that’s basically a zombie story, from the fox characters’ point of view, but as you read it, you realize it’s also describing the effects of rabies. The tone of the book is so deliciously creepy and atmospheric without being relentlessly dark — there’s also bravery and hope — and it just really opened up a new perspective for me in terms of what you can do in middle grade animal fantasy.

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

I’ve always been an avid reader, and it’s pretty rare for me to go more than a day or two between books. I also have an amateur’s appreciation for animation and film in general. Beyond that, I’m kind of boring, really — with the full-time day job, writing is about the only hobby/side hustle I have time and energy for these days.

Do you have any advice to give other writers?

From a craft perspective, and especially if you’re just starting out, take advantage of whatever resources are available to you to keep learning. When I started out writing for publication in the late ’90s, I learned mostly from how-to books and magazines (and of course, from reading fiction), but now there’s a whole lifetime’s worth of podcasts, blogs, communities, videos, and online courses to explore, available from anywhere with an Internet connection, and much of it free. I guess that could feel overwhelming to a new writer now, but to me it’s just an amazing buffet of opportunities.

From a process perspective, know that there’s no right or wrong way to be a “real” writer, whether it’s in terms of how often or regularly you write, how fast or slow, short stories or novels, etc. We’re all starting from the same blank page, and someone isn’t more legitimately a writer than you are simply because they work in a different way or produce more or less. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, and I struggle with that daily, but do what you can and try to forgive yourself on those days you fall short. 

Is there anything you would like to see more of within furry fiction?

I’d always like to see more stories from women and stories that feature female characters. Thankfully, there are many more female furry writers now than were visible when I first came into the fandom about 20 years ago, but there’s always room for more of a presence on both sides of the desk.

I’d also like to see more YA, especially since it seems like the fandom keeps getting younger (or maybe it’s just me getting older!) and there’s not a whole lot of animal fantasy published in the mainstream at that YA level.

Where can readers find your work?

The hub for everything is my website, http://www.reneecarterhall.com, where readers can find links to all of my books, and the best way to keep up with new releases is to sign up for my mailing list.

As far as social media goes, I’m most active on Twitter, as @RCarterHall. I don’t spend as much time in fandom spaces as I used to, but I’m still on FurAffinity as Poetigress, and there’s plenty to read there.


That is the last of our author spotlights for the month, but we still have one more Q&A to come tomorrow. Check back here then for our final Publisher Q&A of Furry Book Month 2021.