Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Tag: Gastropod Press

Queen of Arts, by Frances Pauli – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Queen of Arts, by Frances Pauli.
Moses Lake, WA, Gastropod Press, February 2018, trade paperback, $8.99 (184 pages), Kindle $0.99.

This is purely a funny-animal soap-opera. It’s also a connected collection masquerading as a novel. “Queen of Arts” is on pages 1 to 132. “In the Margins” is pages 134 to 167. “Off the Record” is pages 168 to 182.

Waterville has two rival newspapers, the Arts Examiner and the Gazette. They compete for scoops and more, angling for contacts with the municipal government and Waterville’s social leaders. When the latter decide to hold a Waterville Festival of the Arts, including a city-wide art contest, and the Gazette pledges to sponsor its prizes, the Arts Examiner has to scramble to make up any lost ground.

Stella Rose, the Arts Examiner’s senior editor, is the protagonist. Stella is a cinnamon bear. Marge, a squirrel, is the assistant editor. Vanessa Lorne, a rabbit, is one of the Examiner’s reporters, along with Gerald, an ibex, and Buck, a zebra photographer. Others are Mr. Mort Growning (tapir), the paper’s manager and Stella’s boss; his secretary Francine Tsarong (snow leopard); Mayor Stimple (bison); Lydia Willard (black panther), an art gallery owner; Terrence Ortega (polar bear), another art gallery owner; and many more.

“‘There you are.’ Growning huffed and leaned to the side, out of the line of the mayor’s horns. His rubbery snout uncurled, dangling like a stub of hose below his piggy eyes. ‘Stella, at last.’

‘I’m five minutes early.’ She checked the clock on the far wall to be certain.

‘Fine. Yes.’ Growning waved a gesture of dismissal. ‘Feel free to continue, Mr. Mayor.’

‘We’ll rely on you for full coverage.’ The bison’s voice shook the door on its hinges. ‘I want a dedicated team for this.’

‘Exclusive coverage?’ The tapir’s trunk extended to its full length. Not exactly impressive, but enough to tell Stella his interest was piqued, focused on whatever the bison had proposed before she arrived.

‘Now, now.’ The mayor tugged at the front of his suit, and his two companions exchanged a look that told Stella they wouldn’t be getting an exclusive. ‘The Gazette has sponsored the awards. We have to allow them…’

‘You went to the Gazette first?’ Growning clutched at his heart with one hoofed paw. ‘To the Gazette? We’re the Arts Examiner. Arts. That rag only publishes a column on culture once a fortnight, not to mention some of the garbage they’ve printed about y–’

‘They came to us.’ The bison rumbled over the top of Growning’s tirade. ‘Almost the second we had the idea, in fact. We have to allow them coverage, but the Examiner has more space for arts columns. We came to you first.’” (pgs. 7-8)

Read the rest of this entry »

Bearly Fiction, Volume One, by Frances Pauli – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Bearly Fiction, Volume One, by Frances Pauli.
Moses Lake, WA, Gastropod Press, May 2018, trade paperback, $5.99 ([2 +] 114 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $0.99.

The subtitle says “a collection of anthropomorphic stories by Frances Pauli”. The back-cover blurb begins, “Eleven animal stories from author Frances Pauli. From dogs to dinosaurs, from the courtroom to the coral reef, follow these critter characters through a wild variety of adventures across genres.”

In her Introduction, Pauli says that these are all reprints, so you may have read some of these before, in several anthologies of furry fiction. They’re still good, and it’s nice to have them all together. Also, this is a thin but tall book, 7.5” x 9.2” – that’s almost as large as a standard sheet of paper. Considering the low price, you certainly get your money’s worth.

Bad Dog – Hellhounds are born at the witching hour exactly. Hatach is born thirty-five seconds after the witching hour. How will this affect his being a hellhound?

Rats – “A rat walked into a bar.” But he says that he isn’t a rat. Or he wasn’t, anyway. The bartender tries to help him figure out why he turned into an anthro rat.

A Temper for Order – “Piper’s beak tipped the bottle with expert care. The liquid oozed through the narrow spout. Not a drop spilled. One of her feet clutched a smaller, hand-blown phial. She needed twenty drops more to get the mix just right. Twenty drops exactly. Balanced on one long leg, the little hen slicked her feathers closer to her body and counted while she poured,” (p. 14) Piper mixes herbal medicines in an avian beachfront community. Her friend Trudy, a weaver, is determined to play matchmaker for her. But Piper is obsessed with neatness, and the cock that Trudy seems determined to match her with is Dash, a seemingly-staggeringly-drunken stork. Is there more to Dash than is apparent?

El Emperador – Jessie is looking to buy a fast horse. The one the horse trader calls El Emperador looks like a broken-down fleabag. But Jessie is desperate, so she buys him and renames him Harry. How can she get the Emperor/Harry to run?

Read the rest of this entry »