Further Confusion Schedule

Hey guys! I’m gonna be at FC again in *checks watch* eight hours or so, and here’s where you can come listen to me yap about stuff if you feel so inclined. When not yapping in a panel I will be yapping behind the Sofawolf table, next to the FurPlanet table, so you should come by and say hi! NOTED AUTHOR and fellow RAWR instructor Ryan Campbell will also be behind the table sometimes, and either of us will be happy to sign books for you. I don’t have anything new since MFF, but Camouflage and the Waterways 10th Anniversary edition hardcover will both be here at FC for the first time, as will The Tower and the Fox!

Friday, January 12

3:00pm: Patreon and Furry

Saturday, January 13

1:00pm: Furry Writing in 2028

4:30pm: Let’s Talk About RAWR!: The Furry Residential Writing Workshop

10:00pm: Adult Furry Writing [18+]

Sunday, January 14

11:00am: Developing a Writing Practice

10:00pm: Unsheathed Live! [18+]

 

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Camouflage out on other e-book stores

Hey, just a quick note to let you know that Camouflage is now (or should be very soon) out on the Kindle store, Nook store, iTunes, Google Play, and Kobo, and it remains on sale from baddogbooks.com. So, you know, if you were waiting…

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The Shape of Love (Personal)

Wolf and cat and fox

What our movie nights look like now.

You folks who have had to come out to family and friends know that it’s hard to pick the right time. Holidays are often the most convenient time because everyone’s together, and yet there’s so much else going on that it’s still tough to figure out where to drop a big piece of news. But this is the Internet and everyone’s always around, so if you could gather round, I’d like to tell you about a big positive change in my life.

It’s been going on for years, actually, and a lot of you already know about it. Kit and I have added a third person to our relationship, a Geoffroy’s Cat who goes by the name of Hashtag. You’ve likely seen him around if you’re a furry who reads social media. Hashtag’s been effectively living with us for about three years now, but officially moved in a year ago. If you follow him, you know he’s sharp-witted and very funny, but he’s also really sweet and he will probably kill me for telling you all that. But you guys know me and you know I wouldn’t fall in love with anyone who wasn’t.

The path to this place wasn’t easy, and involved a lot of communication and missteps and trial and error. But it’s been great for a good long time now, and all indications are that it’s going to continue to be, at least as well as anyone can read a relationship. Hashtag complements me and Kit in many ways, and, most importantly, communicates well with us.

Since the idea of adding a person to our couple first came up, I’ve learned a lot about poly relationships. As you might expect, adding a person to a couple creates several possible relationship configurations. These are often described in shapes: a “V” when one person has two relationships but those others aren’t in as strong a relationship; a triangle when all three are in a strong relationship (there’s a quick one-minute video about that here: https://www.multiamory.com/mm-episode/multiamory-minute-07-poly-relationship-shapes). So to be clear: we’re a triangle, not a “V.” Each of us loves the other two, we’re all on equal footing.

And the language of polyamory isn’t commonly known, besides which (just as with couples) everyone has their own preferences. So here are the words we use to refer to each other and which you guys can use if you want. Kit and I are still legally married; Kit is my husband and I’m his husband. Hashtag is my boyfriend and Kit’s boyfriend and we are his boyfriends. We are also all each other’s partner, which is maybe the most equitable term although it’s a touch clinical and none of us feel it like we do the others. Still okay though. “Significant others” is fine if you’re feeling 90s, and of course we’re furries so “your fox” and “your wolf” and “your cat” also work. We are collectively a family or maybe a triad; Hashtag is okay with the term “thruple” but it makes me feel bitey, so use at your own risk. Maybe I’ll get used to it.

And because I want to demystify things, if you guys have questions about how our three-way relationship works, ask away. I’m not going to talk about private information (“o hai Kyell how’s your sex life?”), but if you’re like “I can’t imagine how you tell your families” or “what do you do when two of you want to do something and the other doesn’t?”, ask away (many of our family members know, some do not, based on our judgment of how well they’d handle the information–much like your family members about your non-traditional relationship/furry fandom membership).

(Also, we’re furries, and sometimes we commission artists, and that means that certain aspects of our private information are available in certain places that I’m sure you know.)

Anyway, I’m glad to be open about this. My boyfriend deserves a public acknowledgment, because he’s been awesome. My husband, as you know, is also awesome and remains so. <3 <3 Thanks guys for listening, and happy 2018.

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My Furry Identity

One of my college friends transitioned from male to female a couple years ago. One of the things she told me as she was in the midst of her transition was that when someone called her “she,” it gave her a good feeling, a little thrill. Among the many small and large details she shared of her transition, this one stood out to me, and through it I got a much better feeling of what she was going through.

Transition is a process (loosely speaking, and with the disclaimer that this is my understanding from the words of others) of asserting your external identity to match your internal one. But our external identity is not only defined by us; it’s confirmed and reinforced by the people around us, in intentional and unintentional interactions. We have only a limited amount of control over those interactions, and that feels really untenable. We can tell people what pronouns to use, how to affirm our identity, and so on, but ultimately (as we have seen in countless examples over the last few years), it’s up to those people whether to follow our wishes or not. So any example of someone affirming your new identity, especially unsolicited, feels very good.

The reason this detail stuck out to me is that I could identify with it. I’m not transgender, but that same feeling of having an internal identity somewhat at odds with what is presented to the world, is at the core of many in the furry community.

Let me hasten to say that I don’t mean to compare the experience of coming out as transgender to that of being furry. Transgender people face a great many more challenges; gender identity is so ingrained in our culture that it’s difficult just to get people to consider that someone’s gender identity might be different from the gender they were assigned at birth, and gender plays a role in so many parts of our culture that it’s impossible to avoid. The reason I used this example is that people who are aware of the struggle of being transgender understand the idea and the feeling of someone’s gender identity being affirmed by outside society, and I wanted to use that particular aspect of being trans to highlight something that most outsiders don’t understand about furries.

An outsider’s view of furries, as presented by the media, often focuses on people who dress up in costumes, or the activities in the fandom–artwork, writing, charity. By so doing, they miss the point of what the furry community is about for many of its members. When I was asked to describe the furry fandom to someone outside of it who was curious about it, their first question was, “Why is your avatar that of the animal?” (referring to my Twitter icon, one of many illustrations of my red fox fursona).

I hadn’t thought before that what we consider a basic cornerstone of our fandom could be so mysterious to an outsider. Of *course* we use our fursonas as avatars. That’s how we represent ourselves to others in our community. But it’s deeper than that: that’s how we represent ourselves to ourselves.

For some people, I think, choosing an avatar upon entering the fandom is a little like picking teams in laser tag: you run for whatever color your friends are. But for many of us, the species of our fursona matters deeply. Animals are imbued with a good deal of meaning through our culture, from Aesop’s Fables through Le Roman de Renard and countless Disney movies, and most people know a few basic facts about a lot of animals. It’s not hard to find an animal you identify with; even people outside the fandom can come up with an answer if asked, “What kind of animal would you be?” (Try it. You’ll get some amusing answers.)

In fact, I use that question to explain the furry fandom to outsiders sometimes. I’ll ask them, wait for the answer, and then tell them, “Furries are just people who have thought about that question a lot.”

We think about that and we share those thoughts with each other. And here maybe you’ll see what we have in common with my friend from the beginning of this post. I think that if I were an animal, I’d be a fox. There are a number of reasons for that: as a kid, I was never physically adept, but I got by on my wits–these are cultural stereotypes of foxes. I’ve been uprooted and uprooted myself a bunch of times, and always adapted to new surroundings–and the red fox is the most adaptable of carnivores, successful on multiple continents. Foxes in mythology are crafty but often not malicious, an ethos I identify with.

I'm a fox

So this image of myself as a fox isn’t just picking a mascot for my life. It’s tied up in how I view myself as a person and how I want to be viewed by others. And when my friends and other furries say, “Hey, fox,” to me, I get that little thrill of affirmation that other people recognize the identity I’ve chosen and acknowledge it.

Several of my friends have told me privately that they feel the same way. I once made an impression on a friend who is a husky by telling her, “You *are* a husky,” so much so that she wrote about that small moment in her recap of the convention. And this, I think, is the part of the furry fandom that so many in the media miss, that so many outsiders don’t see. We don’t pick our animal avatars just for fun; we don’t wear expensive costumes because we like dressing up. We wear badges at conventions with illustrations of our fursonas or characters we relate to; we get costumes made of them; all of this is so that we can represent to the world this internal identity that is so important to us. Why it’s important is a whole other matter, maybe as impenetrable to outsiders as an unfamiliar gender identity or cultural identity. But the why shouldn’t matter as much as the fact that it *is* important.

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Award Eligibility Post For 2017

Hey, since people are posting “things I wrote this year” for award purposes, here’s my list. No novellas this year! I realized that I didn’t get a Cupcake out, but that’s okay, I have one planned for next year.

Novels:

Love Match vol. 1 (January, FurPlanet) – My Patreon patrons have been watching this story unfold for years and it’s fun to see everyone else discovering it.

Camouflage (December, FurPlanet) – Originally drafted on this blog several years ago, finally edited and published. I really loved researching the 1500s and building the world of this story, and it’s such a thrill to see it in print with some beautiful illustrations by Rukis. I think this book has one of my favorite endings of anything I’ve written–not just the last few paragraphs but the last few chapters.

under the name Tim Susman:

The Tower and the Fox (July, Argyll Productions) – Really excited about this one. After seven years of planning and writing and rewriting, I finally got the Calatians series launched. The second book is written and ready and the third is plotted, and I can’t wait to get them out. Laura Garabedian’s art is just perfect for it, too.

 

Short stories:

“Personal History,” in ROAR vol. 8 (FurPlanet, July) – Love this story. It’s one of those stories whose last thread came together as I was prepping it for submission and I’m happy I took exactly as much time as needed to get it finished.

“Who Walks With Monsters,” in Arcana (Thurston Howl, November) – Backstory from the world of “Unfinished Business,” my story in Heat 12.

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My MFF Schedule (or, WHAT TO KNOW IF YOU WANT A SIGNED BOOK)

My panels at MFF are all in the Lambert Room in the Hyatt, where the writing track is. Here’s where to find me:

FRIDAY

1:30-3 pm: Character and Dialogue

3-6 pm (approx): Signing new releases “Camouflage” and hardcover tenth anniversary edition of “Waterways” in Dealer Den at the FurPlanet/Sofawolf tables (see directory for location)

6:30-7:30 pm: Scene and Story Structure

7:30-8:30 pm: RAWR: A Furry Writing Workshop

 

SATURDAY

11 am: New Release Reading (I will read from “Camouflage”)

12-2:30 (approx): Signing in Dealer Den

3-4 pm: What It Takes to Write: Process, Discipline, and Lifestyle

4:30-6 (approx): Signing in Dealer Den

9-10:30 pm: Adult Writing

 

SUNDAY

TBD but at some point in the morning I’ll be signing in the dealer den.

3-4 pm: Westerns and Historical Fiction

You will notice that on Friday, the dealer’s den opens at 1 pm and I have a panel at 1:30. This means that I will likely not be in the dealer’s den for very long after opening, if at all, especially as the den and panels are in two separate buildings. So how about you guys come to the 1:30 panel and then follow me back to the dealer den and I’ll sign a bunch of books?

General signing policy: I vastly prefer to sign books in the dealer den rather than at panels. However, if I am early to a panel and not otherwise busy (like scarfing down lunch in the five minutes before the panel), and your request doesn’t delay the start of the panel, I’ll sign stuff then. In most cases I have to leave the panel quickly to let the next one set up and also because I’m running off somewhere else, so after a panel isn’t a great time to ask me for a quickie signature.

In other circumstances, if you see me around, use your judgment. I’m happy to take a moment and sign a book, but if I’m having a one-on-one chat with someone, or if I’m eating, then I greatly appreciate you respecting my time and holding off until a dealer den signing, or at least a less busy time. If you’re not sure, then ask! I am always glad to at least say hi to a fan, and if you ask, “When would be the next good time to get you to sign a book?” I may offer to sign it right there. Or I might say, “I need to go meet some people but I’ll be in the dealer den tomorrow.”

(And along those lines, feel free to come up and say hi if you see me around the con!)

In the end, I want everyone who wants a signed book to get one. So hopefully I’ll see you guys in the dealer’s den and around the con, and if you want a signature, let’s make sure you get it. 🙂

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Waterways Audiobook on sale for Black Friday!

Audible is having a “Treat Yourself” sale for Black Friday, and Waterways is included as one of the titles! If you’re a member and haven’t picked it up yet, check out their sale at http://www.audible.com/mt/2017TYSS_YA, where as of Friday, November 24, you can get Waterways and a few hundred other titles for just $4.95 each! As an Audible member, I’m for sure going to be checking it out. And if you already have Waterways, this is the perfect time to recommend it to a friend, or to buy them a Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa/solstice gift!

Note: I am not planning to do a revised audiobook of Waterways for the tenth anniversary, given that this one took four years and three narrators to get done. So this one will be the only audiobook available for the foreseeable future. Anyway, it’s only $5!

 

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Piracy

Talented artist Demicoeur has a very nice post on piracy on FA, and links to a post by Maggie Stiefvader and her very interesting experience with piracy.

In brief: if you think piracy is a “victimless crime,” you’re just rationalizing your own bad behavior. It has real consequences. That said, I’m lucky enough to have a lot of support in the fandom–but I also know there are PDFs of my books out there on the Internet that I didn’t put there.

I’m sure none of the people reading this would steal a book, but maybe if you’re talking to a friend and they say “I’ll just download it off the Internet somewhere,” you might speak up and say, “Can you really not spare the five or ten bucks to support the author? And if you don’t think it’s worth that much, don’t read it.”

 

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New Anthology: Arcana

A while back, Makyo had this idea that it’d be fun to do an anthology with a story based around each of the major arcana from the tarot deck. Several of us encouraged her and so lo, it has come to pass! I have a story in this, as do many other talented authors.

If you’d like more information, you can find it at: http://anthologies.furrywriting.life/arcana/

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Waterways Hardcover Pre-Order Pre-Announcement

Hey guys! If you want one of the snazzy new Waterways Tenth Anniversary hardcover books with the BRAND NEW STORY in it, and the BRAND NEW ILLUSTRATIONS, you’ll have a chance to pre-order one from Sofawolf starting next week sometime. There’ll be details on the Sofawolf blog this weekend and I’ll copy them or point to them here.

We will be signing and numbering the first 160 orders, and when I say “we” I mean *I* will be signing them and hand-numbering them. There will be no extension of the numbering–when 160/160 is sold, that’s it.

If you want to order other books of mine or publications I’m in (like Heat), you can do this at the same time and I’ll sign those as well. And of course you can also order other Sofawolf books, like Ryan Campbell’s excellent Fire Bearers series, but I will not sign those.

The pre-orders can be picked up at MFF, probably (pending Sofawolf confirming that), or they will be sent out the week after the con, because I’m not flying up to Minnesota to sign them until after MFF. They should arrive in time for Christmas if you want to get one as a gift for someone (again, pending Sofawolf confirming).

Keep an eye out and save up $40 for next week!

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