A Little Teaser

Just a little something that happened on my screen this morning…oh, it’s only a working title. And it won’t be out until 2019.

(and if you read the newsletter you already knew this was coming)

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SFWA Fantasy Bundle Includes Black Angel

SFWA–the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America–has been partnering with StoryBundle this year. They released a bundle of science fiction stories earlier this year, and this month, the fantasy bundle is available. I’m particularly excited about this because, well, my own Black Angel is one of the books selected for it!

The way this works is that you go to the above link (or click on the image below) and set your own price. To get all the books you have to go above $15, or just over a dollar a book. You’ll get all twelve in the e-book format of your choice. And if you already have Black Angel, check out some of the other titles–there are a couple furry books in there, or at least books with furry elements.

The collection was curated by SFWA’s president, Cat Rambo, who personally selected each of the titles. They look great and I’m looking forward to digging into them myself!

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Waterways 10th Anniversary Edition

Hey, since I recently mentioned having finished a new story about Kory and Samaki, I thought I’d make a more or less official announcement about the upcoming re-release of Waterways at MFF.

Waterways originally came out in January of 2008 and we thought it would be nice to celebrate the tenth anniversary with a hardcover edition, since it remains pretty popular and it’s never had a hardcover release. So since we were spiffing up the outside, I thought I’d like to spiff up the inside as well. The prose is over ten years old and there are definitely places where I could clean it up. Don’t worry, I’m not changing the story or any of your favorite lines.

We didn’t want to just release the same story with the same art in hardcover, so I’ll be adding two new stories–well, one that I wrote for my Patreon a couple years ago and one brand new one. The Patreon one is called “Turbulence” and follows Kory’s brother Nick after Kory goes off to college. The brand new one (which I was tweeting about) follows Kory and Samaki as they face some of the challenges of moving to college and learning more about each other. Both of these are short stories (10K and 6K words respectively), and John Nunnemacher has agreed to draw an illo for “Turbulence” to be included in this edition.

The book is being published by Sofawolf and will be available on their site after MFF, and at future conventions (though they tend to bring limited numbers of hardcovers to cons, so get there early if you want one after MFF). We haven’t discussed whether to update the paperback yet or not, but I’ll update the e-book sometime in December or January to include the new text, stories, and art. I don’t have plans right now to produce a new audiobook.

Anyway, hope you guys will all enjoy the nice new hardcover edition and the new stories and illo! I’ll be there at MFF for the release to sign copies for you guys, and also at FC in January.

(And btw, Camouflage is also coming out at MFF, from Argyll Productions/FurPlanet. More about that later.)

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Ty Game illustrations will be drawn by…

I’m pleased to let you guys know that I’ll be working with Neverwolf (NSFW art) for the interior illustrations of Ty Game (the OOP spinoff novel coming out at AC next year). Take a look at his stuff and I think you’ll see why he’ll do a great job! If you want to see some of the interiors, WIPs, etc. before they get published to the public, take a look at his Patreon as well. And if you want to read parts of Ty before the book comes out, take a look at my Patreon too. 🙂

We’ve worked out some of the scenes he’ll illustrate and I’m really excited to see them come to life. Stay tuned for more details and previews and stuff!

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Football This Year

Kit and I have had a declining relationship with football for years. Watching his Broncos win the Super Bowl was probably the last highlight, because of his family and community history with the team and the incredible pageantry and spectacle around that game itself. But it’s harder and harder to ignore the injuries that mount up every year, and the NFL’s foot-dragging response to studying them and taking simple, easy steps to ameliorate playing conditions, let alone helping former players live with the injuries they accrued over years of providing entertainment.

And this year comes the outrageous blackballing of Colin Kaepernick, at the very least a capable backup quarterback in a market desperate for that skill set. A couple owners have flat-out said that they wouldn’t hire him because of his famous kneeling protests during the national anthem (to protest police violence toward black men, women, and children); the others have spoken with their inaction. Fortunately, those protests have been picked up by other players and are continuing, but they are continuing despite the NFL’s best efforts.

Many of my friends are giving up football this year, and I’m certainly taking a step back. I’ve run a fantasy league for over a decade and this year I closed it down. I haven’t watched a game yet and have barely read any content compared to my usual football reading in years past. I’m sure I’ll watch a game this year, but I’m surprised at how little I miss it. And in a month or so, basketball starts up again (Warriors!).

This doesn’t mean I’m not going to write another Dev and Lee book. After all, the UFL has a lot of problems, and owner exploitation of the players is universal even if skin color is replaced with fur color and species. And Ty Game is still coming out next year, though there’s actually very little football in that one. So you’ll still have the Firebirds and the Manticores and the Pilots and the Rocs and the Dragons.

This also doesn’t mean I’m going to judge you if you keep following the NFL, and I’ll even happily talk to you about football and so on (I’m sure there will still be great personal stories about the people in the league, the stuff I really love, that I will keep reading up on). I mean, for years I’ve been watching the concussion issues and the homophobia and it took this last straw for me to realize that I could better use my time. But that was a personal decision for me, and that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone or even anyone else.

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“The Time He Desires” ACLU Donation Made!

Hey guys! Remember how FurPlanet and I decided to donate proceeds from sales of “The Time He Desires” to the ACLU to help fight gross stuff like the Muslim ban and lots of other terrible threats happening in the country? We got the sales receipts together and they totaled very nearly a thousand dollars! So Fuzzwolf rounded up and today we were absolutely thrilled to send a $1,000 donation to the ACLU.

Thank you, everyone who bought a book or who spread the word about it. Thanks to all of you donating independently to the ACLU or any other group fighting to keep our country free and equal. This is a nice gesture but the fight keeps going.

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Tower and the Fox at AC! (also ROAR 8)

If you are heading to AnthroCon this weekend, have a great time! You will not see me there, but you can purchase my newest novel, The Tower and the Fox, with Laura Garabedian’s lovely artwork (she will also be at AC; go say hi to her and get her to sign your book!) from the FurPlanet table. And while you’re there, check out ROAR 8, which has a story of mine in it (“Personal History”) that I’m quite proud of, which is in fact the story illustrated on the cover by BlackTeagan.

If you’re NOT heading to AnthroCon, you can still get in on the book action. The link above goes to FurPlanet; you can also pre-order it RIGHT NOW on Amazon. Regardless of where you get it, leaving a review on Amazon is super helpful, especially to this first-in-a-series book under a different name. The more notice it gets, the more we’ll be able to build on that for the next one.

Thank you guys for checking the books out, and have a great AC! I’ll make it back one of these years.

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New book: The Tower and the Fox

Tower and the Fox Cover

Coming in July, the beginning of a new fantasy series! The series is called “The Calatians,” and the first book is The Tower and the Fox.

(Aside: If you get my newsletter, you already know about this book and have read excerpts from it!)

I’ve been working on this book for some seven years, which is a record for me unless I dig up one of my trunk novels and try to publish that (spoiler: my trunk novels would need to be rewritten and no, that is not happening). What happened was that I started writing this story, and then it got too big and became two books, and then there wasn’t a lot happening in the first book so I got dissatisfied with it and shelved it, and then one friend said, “You can write better now than you did when you wrote that,” and so I started from scratch and rewrote the whole thing (keeping a few passages I really liked), which is also by the way what I’m doing now with the second book. Along the way I had an idea for a sequel, which became the third book when the first one split and then became the fourth book when another friend made an offhand comment after reading the new draft of the first and I realized I needed another book between 2 and 3. So that’s how a book becomes a four-book series.

The book takes place around Prince George’s College of Sorcery in the Royal Colony of Massachusetts Bay in 1815, which means that yes, there is magic and the American Revolution has not (yet) happened. Kip Penfold, one of a race of animal-people called Calatians created by magic four hundred years before, is trying to become the first of his kind to enroll in the college and become a sorcerer. The opportunity has arisen for him because of a mysterious attack that decimated the ranks of the College and made them desperate for new students. Even so, not everyone is on board with this, not many of the sorcerers, his classmates, nor even the rest of the Calatians in the nearby town of New Cambridge where he grew up. The Tower and the Fox follows Kip’s quest to be accepted as apprentice to one of the sorcerers at the College while preserving his relationships with his community and while surrounded by the mystery of who attacked the College and whether–when–it will happen again.

Kip is a fox (of course) and his best friend Coppy is an otter. Also enrolling at the college are Emily Carswell, the first woman to enroll in a College of Sorcery, and several other students who will offer Kip grief or support throughout the few months leading up to the decision about an apprenticeship. Along the way he will find a mysterious book that nobody else can read and a voice that speaks to him from the ancient White Tower that was the only building spared in the attack, in addition to more practical mysteries such as “is there anything another student can do to him that would actually result in them being punished?”

The Tower and the Fox is coming out not by Kyell Gold, but under my SF publishing name for a number of reasons. First of all, I’ve published a few short stories under that name and people know me; it’d be nice to have a novel to go along with those stories. Second, I think the Calatians series is more accessible to F/SF readers than much of my furry stuff, so even though it still qualifies as furry, it feels not quite as furry as Kyell’s books and it’s worth keeping that separation. People who like one of my author names can find the other without TOO much trouble at this point. Third, there’s no sex in it.

It’s being published by FurPlanet, coming out at AC, so you’ll be able to find it at their table there, and online soon after. E-book version coming soon, etc. etc. The cover and interior art is all by the amazing Laura Garabedian.

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The Naming of Foxes

I have a guest blog post up at Entropy Magazine about fursonas, pseudonyms, and suchlike. It’s one of the first places I publicly link my real name and this one, and I talk about the experience of becoming someone else as well as telling people how great furry fandom is (again).

(I’m being more open about my real name partly because I don’t care as much now, but also because “The Tower and the Fox” is coming out under that real name, so I want to make sure that my fans know that that’s also my book. I anticipate having to answer that question a lot. 🙂 )

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X-Phobia: The word(s) and the myths

Preview: the views below are intended to help people try to have constructive discussions around prejudice, and to learn how to understand other people so we can all share our experience. It’s kinda long, talks about prejudice, and insists on established definitions of a few words that people often either use or interpret incorrectly.

Part of the problem with the way any kind of X-phobia or X-ist term gets thrown around the Internet is that people aren’t working off the same definitions. In a lot of cases, people shift definitions around to suit their causes, but I think the majority of cases are just people who have one definition in their heads, and nobody bothers to explain what these words actually mean.

(By which I mean that people have many times attempted to explain this, but if I’ve learned anything from the Internet, it’s that there is always someone who won’t see something until the tenth or hundredth time you say it.)

So here goes.

To be perfectly clear to start here, X-phobia stands in for transphobia, homophobia, etc., not arachnophobia, triskaidekaphobia, or any other clinical pathological fear. X-ist stands for racist or sexist, not dentist, anthropologist, or any other profession. We’re talking about conditions that make people uncomfortable with other demographic groups, or behaviors that cause harm to those groups.

First myth: “X-phobia means you hate/fear every X person.”

Here’s Wikipedia on transphobia: “Transphobia is a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward transgender or transsexual people, or toward transsexuality.”

And homophobia: “Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).”

Note the important word in both definitions: “range.” Of course there are those frothing bigots who want all gays put in concentration camps; they’re homophobes. But then there’s also the guy who says, “I have no problem with gay people as long as I don’t have to see two dudes holding hands or kissing.” That’s a homophobic statement too. Or the person who says, “It’s perfectly fine for them to have those relationships, but I don’t think they should be allowed to adopt children.” In transphobia, you have: “As far as I’m concerned, whatever biology you were born with is your gender, period.” (Why do you get to define someone else’s identity for them?) Even a comment like “hey, if we can just identify as whatever we want, can I identify as rich?” is transphobic. It’s attempting to make a joke by trivializing the serious identity struggle that trans people go through, and it’s propagating a belief–that gender transition is a whimsical choice rather than something deeply felt for years, that there’s no professional counseling involved, that someone could just wake up one day and think “I want to be a different gender, or maybe neither, or both.” That’s as pernicious as the old saw about people choosing to be gay. That belief is what leads people to propose laws about what bathroom trans people can use, laws that actually harm people and make life more difficult for them.

All of these things encompass X-phobia. If someone says, “Hey, that comment you made is X-phobic,” it’s not constructive to say, “No; I don’t hate X people.” That’s not (necessarily) what you’re being accused of. You’re being told that your comment exposes some underlying misunderstanding of what this group’s experience is and/or reinforces prejudices. Here’s the thing: we don’t often know what our prejudices are until we examine them, and we often don’t examine them until someone calls us out on them. We inherit our understanding of the world from our parents and shape it with our friends, and if none of our friends include someone from X group, it’s easy to hold on to prejudices we don’t even realize we had.

So when someone points out a problem with a comment you made, they’re giving you an opportunity to learn. It’s constructive to say, “Whoa. I totally didn’t get that. Can you tell me what I did wrong?” Or “Wow, yeah, that was years ago and I was dumb then. I’m really sorry about that.” Are the people pointing out problems always right? Nah. But it’s also not constructive to run back to YOUR friends to ask “is this really X-phobic?” because they’re the ones who helped shape your worldview in the first place. If you really want to expand your world, listen to the people who are offering their advice.

Second myth: “I have X friends! I can’t be X-ist” (and the associated “therefore nothing I say is X-ist!”)

I thought we got rid of this back when it was “hey, some of my best friends are black.” Again: X-ist doesn’t mean you hate all X. When you befriend someone, you see them as a person; all the things that make up their identity are there, but they’re your friend first. And so your friend becomes the exception in your mind. Maybe you start saying “hey, my friend has surpassed this stereotype so why can’t all X people?” Maybe your default is still to believe that all X people are a certain way until you meet and get to know them. Or maybe you just haven’t talked to your friend about these beliefs, about their experience being a member of this group, so you feel like the simple fact that you enjoy the company of one person in this group means that you can say anything about them. Trust me: you can’t.

Third myth: “Hey, this one X person said that comment isn’t offensive, therefore it’s not X-ist.”

This one gets trotted out a lot. Republicans are very good at finding African-American conservatives to speak out against affirmative action, a program which has helped many minority candidates get an education or an opportunity denied to them by systemic racism in our private sector and educational system. The Washington, D.C. football franchise often highlights one of the fifteen percent of Native Americans who aren’t offended by their name (the percentage varies according to what poll and what year you’re looking at). But look: just because you can find one person who isn’t offended doesn’t mean that the twenty people who are offended are wrong. Is there some important truth behind your remark or behavior that supersedes the right of those people to feel like accepted members of society? It’s kind of like when a magazine writes, “Furry fandom is all about sex” (this was more common in the 90s than it is now), and they get that one furry to say, “yeah, pretty much everything I do in the fandom is sexual.” So…the rest of us should shut up about that comment because there’s at least one person who says it’s okay?

The counterargument is “What if there’s just one person who objects to everything? Should we listen to them?” I’m talking common sense here. What’s acceptable in society is constantly changing, and what’s acceptable in one community might not be acceptable in another; what’s acceptable in your community today might be different from what was acceptable five or ten years ago. If you want to keep hanging out in a community, listen to what its members are telling you. Doesn’t mean that every time a single person complains about something you say that you have to change it. But as I said above, when you get close to one of these sensitive areas, it’s always worth examining the things you say and do in public. You might come away thinking, “nah, those people are over-reacting.” But you might also say, “you know what, I still don’t see it, but I’m gonna take their word for it and try harder to understand.”

tl;dr:

Look, ultimately all I’m saying is that if someone tells you that you’re speaking/acting with prejudice, if they say you’ve said something X-phobic or X-ist, don’t snap back that you’re not a bad person. Take it as a chance to prove you’re not by examining the words you say and the beliefs that drive them. It’s hard to put aside beliefs you’ve had for years without questioning, but the longer you put it off, the harder it gets. And if you start, if you make that initial effort, you’ll find it easier and easier to go on, and you’ll be open to a new world built on a more solid foundation. I’ve had that experience and it didn’t kill me. It won’t kill you either, and it might make the world a better place.

(And also, if you’re trying to show someone that what they’re saying/doing IS X-phobic/X-ist, don’t wield those words like clubs. Be patient, be reasonable, and try to separate the statement from the person. “Your statement is transphobic” is a lot easier to start a conversation with than “you’re a transphobe.”)

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