Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: July, 2016

Heat Volume 14 – OPEN FOR SUBMISSION

by Pup Matthias

heat-5_coverWe are in the heart of summer. The pools are open, the grills are cooking, and for us writers, Sofawolf’s long running anthology Heat is OPEN FOR SUBMISSION for their fourteenth volume. One of, if not the longest, and the most prominent, anthology in the fandom; Heat is once again open for all of your erotic encounters. But outside of being an erotic anthology, Heat never does a yearly theme like its contemporaries like Roar, Fang, or Trick or Treat.

Heat does not, and has never had, a theme beyond “furry erotica.” Heat occasionally develops themes post hoc, like the Americana theme running through Heat 13. We didn’t choose those stories for being related to Americana: we chose stories because they were good and it turned out that the stories we chose had a lot to do with Americana.

Write the hot and sweaty or sweet and sensual furry story that you want to write. It doesn’t need to–and shouldn’t and can’t–be tailored to what we want.

There is only one thing the people on Heat want?

In brief: short, well-written furry erotica of all orientations with an emphasis on good story.

That is what we want to see in general, but there are certain things we want to see more of. A lot of the stories we get are straight or gay, have a male protagonist, have a young protagonist, have a canine protagonist, are set somewhere in contemporary America, or are fairly straight-forward romance story. Anything that moves away from this would stands out among our submissions.

We’d love to see more stories with a lesbian or bisexual focus. We’d love to see more transgender characters. We’d love to see more female protagonists. We’d love to see middle-aged or older characters. We’d love to see ourselves visiting different time periods or different locales or transported to whole other worlds. And we always love when our writers can mash together erotica with an unexpected genre. (I still think one of my favorites for this is Tempe O’Kun’s “The Case of the Gelatinous Gemstone,” which mixed erotica, comedy, and mystery.)

While kinks are allowable, remember that most of our audience is not likely to share that particular kink and therefore it should not be the primary focus of the story.

However, the editor of Heat, Dark End, points out that there are many common mistakes made when people submit to Heat. He recently posted a detailed blog about it on SoFurry, but if you choose to write for Heat, keep these things in mind to avoid these common mistakes. One of the biggest being, don’t make your erotic story just about the sex.

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The Fuzzy Conundrum, by John F. Carr & Wolfgang Diehr – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

UnknownThe Fuzzy Conundrum, by John F. Carr & Wolfgang Diehr.
Boalsburg, PA, Pequod Press, May 2016, hardcover $32.00 (421 pages), Kindle $7.99.

The Fuzzies’ story goes on! For the record, this is the sixth approved novel in the series. They are: Little Fuzzy (1962), Fuzzy Sapiens (1964), and Fuzzies and Other People (1984), by H. Beam Piper; Fuzzy Ergo Sum (2011), and Caveat Fuzzy (2012), by Wolfgang Dietr; and The Fuzzy Conundrum (2016), by John F. Carr & Wolfgang Diehr. For the full history, read “The Fuzzy Story” by yours truly. Yes, we know about Fuzzy Nation (2011) by John Scalzi, but that is a tribute to Piper’s original novel and not a part of the series.

The copyright on Little Fuzzy has lapsed and the whole novel can be read for free on Project Gutenberg. I must’ve read it a dozen times over the years; it’s one of my favorite s-f novels.

The first three novels tell of the discovery of the Fuzzies on the colony planet Zarathustra, a member of the Terran Federation, by sunstone prospector Jack Holloway; the legal establishment of their childlike human sapience; and their protection by the Zarathustran government. The next two novels, written by a Fuzzy fan with the approval of Piper’s estate administered by John F. Carr, create backstories for Jack Holloway and other established characters, add some new human characters (including strong women; one of Piper’s weaknesses), and expand on the Fuzzy-human relationship.

The Fuzzy Conundrum begins by establishing that the events of the previous two years, including the attempt by the Zarathustran underworld to train kidnapped Fuzzies for crime, were high-profile news throughout the Terran Federation. The Fuzzies have been shown on galaxywide news as so cute and cuddly that, even though their intelligence is emphasized, millions of people just have to have one as a status symbol. Those who study the Fuzzies’ official status, which is as a protected species for their human childlike mental level, apply to adopt one as a legal child. Those who just want to own one and have more money than smarts buy one illegally as a pet. The Zarathustra planetary government finds hundreds of spaceships landing at the Mallorysport terminal filled with applicants to adopt a Fuzzy. At the same time, it becomes aware that new criminals are seeking to kidnap wild Fuzzies from the Beta continent reservation, not to train them for crime but to sell them to those who do not know or care that this is illegal.

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Kitsune-Tsuki / Kitsune-Mochi, by Laura VanArendonk Baugh – book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten

51Q9XT9YgZL._SY346_Kitsune-Tsuki, by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Indianapolis, IN, Æclipse Press, September 2012, trade paperback $4.99 (v + 96 pages), Kindle $1.99.

Kitsune-Mochi, by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Indianapolis, IN, Æclipse Press, October 2013, trade paperback $8.99 (xiii + 291 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Are Baugh’s Kitsune Tales Books 1 and 2 anthropomorphic or not? It’s impossible to tell until about halfway through Kitsune-Tsuki, defined in the glossary as “state of being possessed by a fox spirit”.

These two books are set in Heian Japan, the historical period from 794 to 1185 A.D. This was the period of the most formal Imperial courts, and when the belief in Shintoism, Buddhism, and Taoism were at their height. The imperial court’s most influential courtiers may have been the onmyōji, the practitioners of soothsaying, divination, astronomy, and other forms of fortune-telling. Hardly anyone, from the emperor to his concubines to their servants, did anything without checking with an onmyōji first to find out whether it would result in good luck or bad luck. The most famous onmyōji was Abe no Seimei (921-1005), who was believed to also be a powerful wizard. See the 2001 Japanese feature Onmyōji (it’s on YouTube) about Abe no Seimei as a good wizard battling evil onmyōji trying to destroy the emperor.

This was also the period when belief in ghosts, demons, and shapechanging spirits was at its height, including belief in nine-tailed kitsune (foxes) and fox-spirits possessing people. The insane were believed to be possessed by a fox-spirit. So in Kitsune-Tsuki a short novella or even a novelette), belief in fox spirits is not necessarily a fantasy about their reality. But yes, unmistakable fox-spirits do finally appear.

Tsurugu no Kiyomori is an onmyōji called to the court of Naka no Yoritomo, a powerful daimyō (regional lord) with a court rivaling the emperor’s.

“Naka no Yoritomo believed that a local kitsune meant to work mischief upon him or his new wife, Fujitani no Kaede. There had been strange incidents in the countryside of late, with objects of value disappearing and irrational stories offered by confused laborers for missing goods and missing hours. There had even been a recent case of kitsune-tsuki in the farmers’ village below, a poor young girl possessed by a fox spirit and driven to madness.” (pgs. 2-3)

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Marta the River Otter – the adorable fursuit mascot of King County, Washington.

by Patch O'Furr

water-safety

This otter does public service in a proper fursuit, commissioned by local government. (Tip: Zeigler Jaguar.)

kingKing County has two million people in the region around Seattle.  Their Department of Natural Resources and Parks has a new mascot who’s a uniquely Furry example of public funding for art and education.

On Twitter, Chrissy B asked who built the suit.  They answered: “Beetlecat Originals helped create Marta for river safety public outreach.”

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NEWSDUMP – Fur-friendly culture, mascot boot camp – (7/25/16)

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com.

Mascot Boot Camp in the Washington Post.

They sent a reporter to Mascot-Boot-Campattend Mascot Boot Camp. It’s run by Dave Raymond.  “Dave was the original Phillie Phanatic — the first to inhabit the green costume in 1978. In the mascot community, he is something of a founding father.”

Dave is also founder of The Mascot Hall of Fame. It’s scheduled to open in Indiana in 2017.  They said that he has run the Mascot Boot Camp for more than 20 years and it will continue at their new venue. Here’s a video for the 2016 camp.

In 2015 I did a series about crossover of fursuiting and professional sports mascots. Look for update articles next week with a Q&A from Uncle Kage, an MFF organizer, and Cornbread Wolf (who fursuits for fun at sports games.)

Frog and Toad are a proto-furry relationship story.

The New Yorker covers the beloved classic children’s book series by Arnold Lobel. “During his career, he worked on dozens of children’s books, both as a writer and as an illustrator… His specialty was animals and their misadventures.”

According to his daughter:

“Adrianne suspects that there’s another dimension to the series’s sustained popularity. Frog and Toad are ‘of the same sex, and they love each other… It was quite ahead of its time in that respect.’ In 1974, four years after the first book in the series was published, Lobel came out to his family as gay. ‘I think ‘Frog and Toad’ really was the beginning of him coming out'”…

frogIt’s interesting to look at how anthropomophism, character and sexuality came together in simple friendship stories. You don’t need to know about the author for the stories to be just as good, but the writing is very personal.  These are mainstream children’s books, but I might dare to say that the hidden meaning gives them more in common with furry fan fic than anyone but us would understand.

“Furlesque” at Cincinnatti Fringe Fest.

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NEWSDUMP – Fandom News – catchup list part 2 (7-22-16)

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com.

There hasn’t been a Newsdump in a long time, so have three updates packed with two months of stuff: 

1. Furries in the Media. 2. Fandom News. 3. Fur-friendly Culture.

Furscience.com releases ebook of furry research.

Furscience-FurbookThe International Anthropomorphic Research Project has a shiny new website since earlier this year.  Here’s a good reason to check it out – a 174-page ebook full of 5 years of data about furry fandom, for the low price of free.  Download it here.

Fred Patten interviewed by Yiffytimes.com.

“My interview with Fred Patten” by Ahmar Wolf and Greyflank. With Fred’s history as a founder of Furry (and anime) fandom, it’s really interesting to hear this:

“Q: Where do you see the Furry Fandom headed?

A: Furry fandom is already a lot different than it was in the 1980s. There is much more emphasis on wearing fursuits, adopting fursonas, and embracing and publicly exhibiting a furry identity. There is also a furry literary community now, which is what I’m active in. A few furry fans who are publishers or fursuit makers or artists are able to make their living in furry fandom instead of it only being a hobby for them.”

Furries at San Francisco Pride.

New furry Whup stepped up in a big way to organize a booth.  (He’s yellow dog in the first pic).  Apart from a big “Bay Area Furries” banner, it was a very informal base for breaks from the sun.  There was a huge crowd to prowl around with on a hot day.  Street Fursuiting is my favorite thing, and street fairs are my favorite place for it, and Pride in SF is one of the most fun and accepting times. (It’s far from the only one – a furry in Edmonton talks about their float full of furries in “A big thanks to the furries out in pride festivals this month!“)

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Sixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten

sixes-echoesSixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun. Illlustrated.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, June 2016, trade paperback $15.95 (155 pages).

This is a mature content book.  Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region.

This short novel is a sequel to O’Kun’s Sixes Wild: Manifest Destiny, an anthropomorphic-animal Western published by Sofawolf Press in June 2011. That won the 2012 Cóyotl Award in the Best Mature Novel category, and was a nominee for the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award in the Best Short Novel category. (For the record, there has also been a promotional 8-page Sixes Wild: The Bluff comic book, illustrated by Sidian.)

Echoes begins where Manifest Destiny ended. The setting is White Rock, Arizona Territory, a stereotypical dusty early 20th-century Western town (they have newfangled electric lights) except that the townsfolk are all anthro animals – sort of. (I still haven’t figured out how a big-winged fruit bat sheriff who flies and hangs by his feet upside town in his sheriff’s office can ride a horse.) The main characters are Jordan Blake, the fruit bat sheriff, and Six Shooter, a rugged hare bounty hunter. What nobody knows (well, they pretty much do by now) is that Six is really a crossdressing female, and she and the sheriff are secret lovers. Very graphic lovers; this is a mature content book.

Manifest Destiny ends with Six going after Tanner Hayes, the arrogant lion mine-owner revealed to be a villain who goes on the run. Echoes begins with Six coming back to town empty-pawed.

“‘Thought you had a lion to run down.’

‘Hayes has gone to ground. Haven’t got mah gun back either.”” (p. 7)

Meanwhile, she’s heard a new rumor that interests her.

“She rests her paws on those revolvers, one a silver heirloom, the other a blue steel substitute. ‘A spot of treasure hunting.’

I look up from my bookkeeping to take account of Six. One never can tell how serious she takes her tomfoolery.

‘Ah’ve been hearin’ rumors.’ She brushes the dust from her fluffy tail. ‘Folk tell of a cliff-house with all manner of lost riches.’

With a sigh, I lean back in my chair, steeple my wings, and put away the pen with one foot. ‘I wouldn’t put much stock in saloon scuttlebutt.’

‘Nor would ah, but ah heard it from an old ‘yote traveling with the circus.’

My wing fingers interlace. I wish I knew her better, and not just because I’d like to know if she’s poking fun at me. ‘If he knew where all this treasure was, why was he traveling with a circus?’

‘He said it was cursed.’ Her dexterous paws dance theatrically. ‘Everybody who went lookin’ met a grisly end.’” (p. 8)

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NEWSDUMP – Furries In The Media – catchup part 1, (7-20-16)

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com.

There hasn’t been a Newsdump in a long time, so expect three updates packed with two months of stuff: 

1. Furries in the Media. 2. Fandom News. 3. Fur-friendly Culture.

Pic: Luke Thor Travis, PGH City Paper

Pic: Luke Thor Travis, PGH City Paper

The media gave warm and fuzzy vibes for Anthrocon.

A few worth seeing after the con:

  • WTAE video: The Making Of a Furry. “Daisy Ruth set the scene outside the Convention Center with April, a local fursuiter who created her own suit, and Camille of CF Studios, an artist who creates and sells creature and fursuits.”
  • WTAE – Beyond the Suit: The World of Furries.  “Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 reporter Beau Berman sat down with ‘Clumzy’ to find out what it’s all about.”
Rika and Rusty.

Rika and Rusty.

Anthrocon news topic – Pets.

PGH City Paper: “It probably comes as no surprise, but furries love their pets“.  Four furs are interviewed.  “Some furries say that getting involved in the community that celebrates anthropomorphized animal personas has helped them become more aware of the needs of shelter animals; understand the emotions of their pets; and strengthen their love of our four-legged friends.”

Anthrocon news topic – “Fursonas” movie.

Post-Gazette: ‘Fursonas’ director takes his Anthrocon ban in stride.

Dominic Rodriguez was banned for breaking Anthrocon’s media policy (filming without permission) in pursuit of unvarnished truth that couldn’t be officially filmed for a documentary.  “Fursonas” showed parts that many furries take very personally or feel shouldn’t be suppressed.  It was divisive.  Some took his movie as undermining good work of the con.  Others took his ban as a politicized penalty for PR control that may be stuck in the past. But furry fandom have been around for decades now and it keeps growing.  When will sensitivities loosen up?

“Fursonas” screened at an independent venue during the con.  I asked Dom if he’s interested in doing a guest post about it. Before his trip, he told me:

“Although I’m banned, I have a feeling this is going to be my best Anthrocon yet. I spent the evening hanging out at the bar across the street and then going over to the river to hang with new and old friends. I go to these things mostly to meet people and have cool conversations. I think that’s more fun than anything they have in the convention schedule, anyway.

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No Time Like Show Time, by Michael Hoeye – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.  Fred writes: “A few reviews of furry books that I wrote in 2003 or 2004 have vanished from the Internet.  I wrote them for the first version of Watts Martin’s Claw & Quill site, which he has apparently taken down. Here they are back online.”

showtimeNo Time Like Show Time: A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure, by Michael Hoeye.
NYC, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, September 2004, hardcover $14.99 (277 pages).

Hoeye’s Hermux Tantamoq novels are one of the major publishing-industry success stories of the decade. His first was rejected by all major publishers. So he self-published it and its sequel, sent free copies to dozens of libraries and reviewers, and got so many rave reviews that the big publishers quickly changed their minds. Time Stops for No Mouse (2000) and The Sands of Time (2001) were reprinted by Putnam in 2002.

Hermux Tantamoq is a young watchmaker in the mouse city of Pinchester who lives alone with his pet ladybug, Terfle. In the first novel, daring aviatrix-explorer Linka Perflinger brings her watch to his shop for repair. When she disappears and a shady rat tries to claim it, Hermux investigates and is drawn into an old-fashioned pulp-thriller adventure to save her. The Sands of Time is a similar adventure in which Hermux, Linka, and an old chipmunk explorer search a distant desert for the buried ruins of a forgotten cat civilization while being hunted by mouse-supremacist assassins who want to suppress the knowledge that there was ever a pre-mouse empire.

Hermux got into those adventures mostly by accident. He was happy to fade back into anonymity in his watch shop at their end. But he got enough publicity that when theatrical impresario Fluster Varmint starts receiving death threats, he misremembers Hermux as a famous detective and calls on him to investigate. Hermux is reluctant until he discovers that his least-favorite Pinchester celebrity, arrogant cosmetics tycoon Tucka Mertslin, is plotting to take over the city’s historic palace-theater, now the Folies-type Varmint Variety Theater, and turn it into a garish cosmetics office-showroom.

“[Hermux] rushed through the doors of the Varmint Variety Theater, barely pausing to appreciate the workmanship of their pumpkin-vine hinges and matching wrought-iron doorknobs. He was in such a hurry that he scooted right through the historic grove of artificial aspen trees with their hand-blown Spiffany glass leaves. Crossing the lobby to the box office, Hermux scarcely gave the exquisite floor a glance. […] The box office occupied a rustic hut that sat beside an authentic reproduction of a waterfall. […]” (pgs. 13-14)

Hermux will do anything to save the lovely building. But he is only one mouse, and Mertslin has the support of Pinchester’s Weekly Squeak (she is one of its leading advertisers). When Mertslin learns that Varmint’s ownership of the Theater is challengeable (he bought it long ago with a massive loan from the Theater’s then-leading star, who disappeared after a mysterious tragedy so Varmint has not been able to repay the loan), she hires lots of lawyers to try to get the missing Nurella Pinch declared the legal owner of the Theater, then legally dead with herself as the executrix of Pinch’s estate. Meanwhile, things are more dangerous than either suspect, because the hoodlum that Mertslin uses to scare Varmint decides that it is to his advantage to really start murdering people to gain a blackmail hold over Mertslin.

Most of the characters in Show Time are mice (Fluster Varmint is “a barrel-chested mouse with a big baritone”, while his daughter and manager Beulith is an attractive mouse with “two perfect front teeth — long, elegantly arched, and tinted a very pleasing pale yellow”), but there are also a flying-squirrel messenger boy, a hedgehog bookkeeper, such would-be actors as “A noisy group of prairie-dog impersonators wearing matching paisley boleros, toreador pants, and very high heels” and “A chipmunk dressed as a potato”, an otter fashion designer, a shrew ventriloquist, and other mostly-rodent-sized animals.

Hoeye has a fine eye for rodentine appearances:

“Fluster Varmint was a visionary. When he thought long tails were more elegant, showgirls grew longer tails. When he thought bushy tails were more provocative, they grew bushier tails. If Fluster thought hamsters made the funniest comedians, then suddenly everywhere hamsters were telling jokes and wearing peculiar hats.” (pg. 34)

When Hermux is calling on Linka, “he straightened his whiskers and fluffed out the fur in his ears.” (pg. 29)

Hermux’s third tale is a change of pace for him, being more of a Phantom of the Opera backstage mystery and courtroom drama than an Indiana Jones search for treasure in foreign jungles and deserts. Since it takes place in Pinchester, Hermux’s ladybug Terfle is able to emerge from her cage for the first time and accompany him in a faithful-dog role. No Time Like Show Time is clever old-fashioned detective comedy-suspense adventure that would not disappoint a fan of the 1930s Thin Man movies — with a furry cast.

– Fred Patten,

 

Fellowship of the Ringtails, by Angela Oliver – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

ringFellowship of the Ringtails, by Angela Oliver. Illustrated, map.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, June 2013, trade paperback $15.49 ([iii +] 406 [+ 9] pages), Kindle 99¢.

Technically the title of this book is Lemurs (A Saga). Book One: The Fellowship of the Ringtails. But the cover doesn’t say so; Amazon.com doesn’t say so; and I’m pretty sure that nobody else is likely to say so, either.

This title makes it sound like either a parody of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, or an unimaginative imitation of it. Fortunately it’s neither. Its opening paragraph is:

“‘There will be others, Fiantrana,’ the soft voice drew the young lemur from her reverie. She turned her gaze from the great stone tomb: the final resting place for her ancestors, relatives, and most recently, her own son. There was a deep ache inside her: the memory of his tiny, fragile body as she had cradled him to her breast, watching his life breathe out of him.” (p.1)

Angela Oliver, of Christchurch, New Zealand, is devoted to lemurs. In a two-page “Why Lemurs?” afterword, she explains that she was introduced to lemurs while working at a local zoo park, went to Madagascar where lemurs come from in 2007, and fell in love with the whole island-nation. The Fellowship of the Ringtails is an adventure fantasy featuring anthropomorphized lemurs in their Kingdom of Madigaska, a fictionalized Kingdom of Madagascar before it became a French colony in 1897.

An important fact is that there is not just one kind of lemur. There are many different species, roughly divided into the sifakas that are almost entirely arboreal, and the “true lemurs” (which she has dubbed the hazosaka because it sounds better for a fantasy novel) that can walk on the ground, including the famous ringtailed lemurs. For The Fellowship of the Ringtails, she has made the sifakas into the royal family and the aristocracy of Madigaska, while the hazosaka are the commoners.

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