Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Tag: fiction

Love Match, Book 2 (2010-2012) by Kyell Gold – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Love Match, Book 2 (2010-2012) by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Rukis.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, February 2018, trade paperback, $19.95 (316 pages), e-books $9.99.

This is book 2 of Gold’s Love Match trilogy. Book 1, titled just Love Match, was published last year in January 2017, and the final volume will presumably be published in early 2019.

Gold’s Love Match trilogy is a loose follow-up to his five “Dev and Lee” novels, set in his Forester University world; but its theme is tennis instead of football. Young (14 years old) Rochi “Rocky” N’Guwe, a black-backed jackal from the African nation of Lunda, is brought to the States with his mother in 2008 on a scholarship from the Palm Gables Tennis Center, a leading tennis college. During the two years of Book 1, Rocky matures, realizes his homosexuality, and develops a romance with his best friend, Marquize Alhazhari, a cheetah from Madiyah. He is horrified to discover that his younger sister Ori, to whom he is devoted and who has been left behind in Lunda, is being betrothed by their aunt in an arranged marriage. Rocky tries to earn enough money to bring Ori to Palm Gables. At the end of Book 1, Rocky and Marquize leave the Palm Gables Center and are thrust into the world of professional tennis.

And that’s about all that I can say about Book 2 without giving away major spoilers. There is a six-page Prologue set in the present (2015), during a climactic game between Rocky and his ongoing rival Braden Longacre, before getting into the main story. It establishes that both will get into tennis’ top ranks. But for the three years of Book 2, 2010 to 2012 – well, nothing much happens.

The story is narrated by Rocky N’Guwe, and it’s about him growing up from 16 to 18 years old in the environment of professional tennis. His friendship/gay romance with Marquize ebbs and flows. Rocky’s mother, who at first is always present as his chaperone and coach, leaves him to the care of a professional tennis coach while she concentrates on getting Ori into the States. He briefly crosses paths with Braden Longacre. Rocky, under his coach’s care, travels to tennis tournaments in several cities and develops new friendships among the other tennis players. In his free time on his own, he explores gay bars and clubs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cold Clay: A Murder Mystery by Juneau Black – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Cold Clay: A Murder Mystery by Juneau Black.
Philadelphia, PA, Hammer & Birch, November 2017, trade paperback, $12.95 (198 {+ 1] pages), Kindle $4.99.

This sequel to Shady Hollow: A Murder Mystery, described as “a Murder, She Wrote with animals”, is a worthy followup to it. Again the cast is:

Vera Vixen: This cunning, foxy reporter has a nose for trouble and a desire to find out the truth, no matter where the path leads.

Deputy Orville Braun: This large brown bear is the more hardworking half of the Shady Hollow constabulary. He works by the book. But his book has half the pages ripped out.

Joe Elkin: This genial giant of a moose runs the town coffee shop – the local gathering spot. If gossip is spoken, Joe has heard it, but this time, he is the gossip.”

And too many others to list here. Cold Clay takes place several months after the events in Shady Hollow.   The animal inhabitants of the village of Shady Hollow are settling back into their peaceful routine – newspaper reporter Vera Vixen might call it boring – when the rabbit farm workers of Cold Clay Orchards who are transplanting an apple tree find the skeleton of a moose buried beneath it.

The news soon spreads, and all thoughts turn to the popular moose proprietor of Joe’s Mug, Shady Hollow’s coffee shop. Joe’s wife Julia disappeared eleven years ago. She was flighty and hadn’t wanted to stay in what she considered a nowheresville, so when she vanished, leaving Joe with their baby son, everyone assumed that she had walked out on them. But a moose’s skeleton, which is soon determined to be the missing Julia’s, and that she was murdered, sets all Shady Hollow talking again. There’s not really any evidence against Joe, but there isn’t against anyone else, either.

Read the rest of this entry »

Legends of Heraldale, by Brian McNatt – book review by Fredd Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Legends of Heraldale, by Brian McNatt
Chickasha, OK, The author, January 2017, trade paperback, $13.95 (243 pages), e-book $3.95.

Legends of Heraldale is very much a stereotypical Young Adult fantasy. Its appeal will be to those who want to see a world where all the most familiar animals of mythology – gryphons (griffins), unicorns, hippogryphs, dragons, cockatrices, wyverns, sphinxs, minotaurs, salamanders, and mermaids – live, including some that I have never heard of like a rockodile and zakarians. But there are many curious aspects to it.

A Prologue tells of the last battle of the First Expansion War between the unicorns and the gryphons:

“For a moment, night turned to day, illuminating the two clashing forces. Through the woods to the canyon’s west massed the unicorns of the Avalon Empire, hooves beating the earth and snow as they galloped among the trees. From their horns streaked bolts of red magic at the many-towered fortress across the canyon, blasting chunks of stone from the high walls and tearing through the gryphon defenders.

From the fortress walls and towers the gryphons rained down flocks of arrows and crossbow bolts in return, each weapon striking true.” (p. 1)

Gryphons are usually thought of as quadrupedal. I have a hard time envisioning them shooting bows & arrows, and firing crossbows.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Book of Dust. Volume 1, La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Book of Dust. Volume 1, La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman. Illustrated by Chris Wormell.
NYC, Alfred A. Knopf, October 2017, hardcover, $22.99 (449 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $11.99.

The Book of Dust. Volume 1, La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman. Illustrated by Chris Wormell.
London, Penguin Random House Children’s/David Fickling, October 2017, hardcover, £20.00 (560 pages), Kindle £9.99.

This is Pullman’s long-awaited followup to his multiple award-winning His Dark Materials trilogy. Its volume 1 is known as Northern Lights in Britain and was published in July 1995. It was retitled The Golden Compass in the U.S. and not published until March 1996. A little over twenty years later, both the American and British editions of The Book of Dust are published simultaneously and with the same title. Yet they are not physically identical. The two editions are typeset separately, with American and British spellings and terminology as appropriate, and the British edition is over a hundred pages longer. The American edition has almost none of the interior illustrations by Wormell, which are just chapter-heading drawings that are frankly not worth missing.

It is not a sequel. The main character in His Dark Materials is the young woman Lyra Belacqua and her dæmon Pantalaimon. Lyra is 11 and 12 years old, not yet an adolescent, and her dæmon can still take any male animal, bird, or insect form, which he does. At the conclusion of the trilogy Lyra becomes an adolescent, and Pan’s form is fixed as a talking pine marten. But The Book of Dust is Lyra’s story before His Dark Materials. In La Belle Sauvage she is only a baby.

They aren’t really talking-animal novels. The Book of Dust is set in that alternate Earth where everybody has a dæmon, a talking animal personification of their soul, accompanying them. The dæmon cannot stray too far from its person.

The protagonist of La Belle Sauvage is Malcolm Polstead, the potboy at his father’s inn on the shore of the River Thames at Oxford:

“Malcolm was the landlord’s son, an only child. He was eleven years old, with an inquisitive, kindly disposition, a stocky build, and ginger hair. He went to Ulvercote Elementary School a mile away, and he had friends enough, but he was happiest on his own, playing with his dæmon, Asta, in their canoe, on which Malcolm had painted the name LA BELLE SAUVAGE. […]

Like every child of an innkeeper, Malcolm had to work around the tavern, washing dishes and glasses, carrying plates of food or tankards of beer, retrieving them when they were empty. He took the work for granted. The only annoyance in his life was a girl called Alice, who helped with washing the dishes. Se was about sixteen, tall and skinny, with lank dark hair that she scraped back into an unflattering ponytail. […] He ignored that for a long time, but finally rat-formed Asta leapt at Alice’s scrawny jackdaw dæmon, knocking him into the washing-up water and then biting and biting the sodden creature till Alice screamed for pity. She complained bitterly to Malcolm’s mother, who said, ‘Serves you right. I got no sympathy for you. Keep your nasty mind to yourself.’” (p. 2)

Read the rest of this entry »

Mark of the Tiger’s Stripe, by Joshua Yoder – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Mark of the Tiger’s Stripe, by Joshua Yoder. Maps by the author.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2017, trade paperback, $15.00 ([3 +] 397 pages), Kindle $4.99.

Reading Mark of the Tiger’s Stripe is an exercise in frustration. There is a detailed map of the world of Amarthia, but it’s so reduced as to be illegible. There is considerable exciting action, but it’s wrapped in such extensive descriptions as to become almost boring.

The beginning of the novel is what would be a tense dramatic sequence anywhere else. A team of six big-game hunters, loaded for monsters, moves into a secretive nighttime kill mission in a deserted slum district in Kairran, the capital of the desert nation of Pytan. Yet it goes on for forty pages!

“Vincenzo Nieves only averaged 165 centimetres, but the long ears poking out through the crown of his worn white fedora with its faded black band made him appear much taller. As he hop-stepped along, they bobbed and swayed, twitching now and again like electrified antennae.

The jackrabbit had a melodious baritone honeyed by the southern strains of upper-class Banton, far away in the bayous of the West United Kingdoms. Or at least it would be melodious if it was not constantly ringing in the ears of his teammates.

‘So there I was, just enjoyin’ a nice breakfast salad. Actually, it kinda reminded me of the carver’s salad they serve at this quaint café in Clairmount, but never mind. I’m sittin’ there, and in from the kitchen walks this absolutely gorgeous leopard girl, I mean you’ve never seen spots like she had. She had this cute little bob cut that showed off her earrings and a cute top that … well …’ He trailed off with a lascivious gleam in his golden-brown eyes, but no one was actually paying attention to him.

Most of his stories tended to end this way. Only Vince’s appetite for food rivalled his appetite for women. He was not the guy with a girl in every town; he was the guy with a dozen girls in every town. Still, Mohan [the tiger leader] had to admit that, for all his boasting, at least he kept the stories relatively clean. And his behaviour wasn’t entirely without cause; he was a handsome fellow who kept his wavy blond long-fur trimmed short and proper, as befitted a southern gentleman, and had dyed and groomed the fur on his chin into a matching goatee.” (pgs. 10-11)

Read the rest of this entry »

The Fox of Richmond Park, by Kate Dreyer – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Fox of Richmond Park, by Kate Dreyer
London, Unbound, July 2017, trade paperback, £11.99 (287 pages), Kindle $1.99.

“If the Animals of Farthing Wood had lived in London and hated each other a little bit more, their story may have been a lot like this one.

‘Get out of the way or get an antler up the arse, yeah? I’m sick of these glorified donkeys.’” (blurb)

Almost all the (British) reviewers have compared this British novel to Colin Dann’s 1979 classic The Animals of Farthing Wood. In it, the woodland community of Farthing Wood is paved over by human developers. The wildlife inhabitants, led by Fox, undertake a dangerous trek to the safety of a distant nature reserve.

The Animals of Farthing Wood is a Young Adult novel. All the animals act together in brotherhood. No one eats anybody.

The Fox of Richmond Park is an Adult novel. Richmond Park is a large wildlife park in London that Wikipedia says is known for its deer. In this talking-animal novel, the deer are the arrogant elite class of the Park’s fauna. When the deer decide they want the lakeside area where several foxes have had their dens for generations, they just tell the foxes to move out. Most accept the order without protest. Vince does not.

“‘Why I should leave,’ Vince snarled as he prowled back and forth in the semi-circle of bare earth that marked the entrance to his den, black ears flat to his head, ‘just because some over-entitled deer want to be near the lake?’

‘It’s not like that. And you can dig a new, bigger den in a day or two. I don/t see what the problem is. Other animals have moved without a fuss.’ Edward tilted his antlers towards the small skulk of foxes several leaps away, who had gathered at the edge of the woodland to wait for the sun to set. ‘And your friends are being very cooperative.’

‘That’s because you’ve told them a load of scat about how great the cemetery is.’ Vince said, the copper fur on his back bristling. He’d had every intention of talking this through civilly with the stag, but his temper had other ideas. Just like last time.” (p. 1)

Read the rest of this entry »

Furry Publishers – A Resource for Artists and Authors

by Summercat

Welcome to guest poster Summercat – a great friend to Dogpatch Press, with a cool interest in Furry Comics and Zines History.

Publisher Dealer Table. Photo provided by Rabbit Valley

When I first joined the Furry Fandom, there weren’t many fandom publishers, and most printed works were vanity press or self-publishing. These days, it seems that the world of Furry Publishing has exploded in size, with many relatively new companies plowing ahead and looking strong.

However, there aren’t too many resources available for those looking to get their works published on whom to go with, and sites like Wikifur confusingly list long-dormant and dissolved companies under active publishers. So I went ahead and compiled a list of currently active fandom publishers looking at submissions, either regularly or periodically. I do not pretend this to be exhaustive, so these listed may not be the only options available.

A word of warning: What these publishers accept may change without notice. Some only publish through submissions to anthologies, while others may open or close their submissions for certain types of media. Many of these publishers are selective in what they publish under their imprint, and are often flooded with submissions and proposals. Always do your research before sending a submission in!

When discussing a contract with a publisher, keep special care to know what rights are being sold. While most publishers only require a period of exclusivity, some may be intending to purchase complete rights to the work. Make certain that you and the publisher are both clear on what is expected from either of you! Read the rest of this entry »

Furry Book Month – Some Recommendations

by Summercat

Welcome to guest poster Summercat! October is Furry Book month (better late than never). -Patch

Started in 2016 by an alliance of Furry Publishers, Furry Book Month is about showcasing the written word from the Furry Fandom. To support the efforts I decided to write up a list of Furry books I’ve enjoyed in recent years that are currently available for sale. These are just short blurbs rather than full reviews, and are in no particular order. 

Read the rest of this entry »

“Intimate Little Secrets” by Rechan – book review by Summercat.

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Summercat for this guest post.

Intimate Little Secrets by Rechan
March 2017, Furplanet and Bad Dog Books

Intimate Little Secrets is a collection of 9 short stories by Rechan. After randomly encountering him in a non-Furry location I promised to review his latest work. I went into reading this book expecting a collection of erotica and was blind-sided by well written stories that I connected with emotionally, if not erotically.

Fanservice – Robin, frustrated with her coworker Dean’s missing of her signals, decides to seduce him by cosplaying as a character from a show he likes. The quick pace from flirting to office sex raised an eyebrow. One issue I noticed is that while Robin’s species is put in early enough, Dean’s is not mentioned until after he is first mentioned and we are brought down Robin’s memory lane. However, even when one character is indistinct, I was still able to get a sense of the action playing out. The emotions and reactions of the characters are fairly real and relatable, alternating between awkward inexperience and passionate confidence when they forget to be worried.

Strange on a Train – Marjani, a serval, reads some erotic fiction on a train and enlists another passenger to assist with her arousal. This story is very well written, we’re given imagery exactly where we need it and when we need it. Marjani’s actions are not out of character for her established personality. We’re given only information about the other passenger, a skunk, that Marjani notices on her own; the name used for him is a nickname she mentally calls him. The sex itself has multiple stages; the skill with which Rechan shows rather than tells is apparent throughout. Setting aside the smut, this is a well constructed story with good progression and even a Chekov’s Gun. Despite the lack of time to develop the skunk character, he’s still given enough personality that he’s more than a two-dimensional cardboard extra. This was a fun and engaging read that I’ll be thinking back to in the future.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Tower and the Fox by Tim Susman – review by Summercat

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Summercat for this guest post.

The Tower and the Fox is the Kyell Gold novel I’ve been waiting for him to write for years, and it has been worth the wait.

Like many people, I was entranced with The Prisoner’s Release and the rest of the Volle stories, but most of Kyell Gold’s work did not resonate with me, as he primarily wrote for the genre of “Coming of Age Gay Romance”. There’s nothing wrong with the genre, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world in the context of romance (and lots of gay sex) certainly can speak to multiple generations of furries.

Only, I never had those struggles and I tend to skip sex scenes in my furry novels. The prevalent nature of the genre has turned me off to a lot of written Furry fiction, even to the point I hesitate to read what I know would be clean. Yet even then, I enjoyed Kyell’s worldbuilding and storytelling. I felt Shadow of the Father was a fine novel that would have been improved by the removal of the sexual content, and had hoped to one day see Kyell’s skill turned towards a more traditional fantasy.

There’s not even a romance subplot in The Tower and The Fox, and the story is stronger for it.

The Tower and The Fox takes place in an alternate and magical history, set sometime after the Napoleonic Wars have ended. The North American colonies remain part of the Empire, with the only mention of a historical figure being John Adams. However, this is a world of humans, and the Calatians – magically-created animal-human hybrids – are a minority, and an ill-treated one at that, for many humans see them as naught but beasts, with many rights denied to them.

Read the rest of this entry »