Black History Month Spotlight: Jakebe T. Lope

Hey, friends! Check out this interview with the AWESOME Furry Writers’ Guild author Jakebe! He’s super cool and you should check out his work! You rock, Jakebe!!

Best,

Amy Clare Fontaine

Furry Writers’ Guild

It’s February, and in honor of Black History Month we have been featuring some of the black authors that are members of the Furry Writers’ Guild. Today will be our last feature for the month, and we will be sharing an interview done with Jakebe T. Lope! He has had stories featured in Breaking the Ice: Stories from New Tibet, Historimorphs, and New Fables. Without further ado, let’s get to the interview.

FWG: Tell the guild and our readers a bit about yourself.

Jakebe: My name is Jakebe T. Lope, though I’ve gone by others in my day. I’ve been in the furry fandom since 1996, so I’m pretty sure that makes me a greymuzzle! I’m a long-time writer and blogger — my blog “From the Writing Desk” is a collection of personal essays about the writing process, my journey with mental health, the…

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Love Never Fails

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Today is Valentine’s Day. I encourage you to spend time today reflecting upon a gift that runs much deeper than shallow, ephemeral effects like candy hearts and flowers: a love that permeates our very being and transcends the bounds of space and time.

My favorite Scripture passage, 1 Corinthians 13, says it better than I ever could:

“13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Today, I invite you to consider ways in which you might live a more loving life, a life of compassion and kindness and service to the greater good. Unconditional love brings out the best in us. Blessed be.

Black History Month Spotlight: Copper Sphynx

Hey, friends! Check out this interview with Furry Writers’ Guild author and artist extraordinaire Copper Sphynx for Black History Month! You rock, @KayFey!

Best,

Amy Clare Fontaine

Furry Writers’ Guild

It’s February, and in honor of Black History Month we would like to feature some of the black authors that are members of the Furry Writers’ Guild. Today we’ll be sharing an interview done with Carmen K. Welsh Jr. who is also known as Copper Sphynx! Without further ado, let’s get to the interview.

FWG: Tell the guild and our readers a bit about yourself!

Copper Sphynx: I’ve been a fan and consumer of anthropomorphized media most of my early childhood. When I watched a movie, cartoon, or finished a TV show or book, I would draw/write the story to continue it. 

I currently write Fantasy/SF, Furry, essays, and comics. 

FWG: What is your favorite work that you have written? 

Copper Sphynx: I would like to say my most recent publication, but, in honor of Black History Month, I have to bring up my first and only published poem…

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A Hollywood Werewolf and Three Poems: Free Writings Out Now in Echoes!

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Hi, friends! Recently I said goodbye to the town I lived in for the past year, McAllen, Texas. My favorite thing about McAllen was its fabulous library, as well as the friends I made there.

I had the good fortune of being part of the McAllen Public Library Writing Circle, a writing group that meets monthly at the library. An anthology they just published features three new poems and one new story from me, as well as work from other great authors, on the theme of “echoes.”

My story, “What Spawned the Sequel,” is about a rejected werewolf actress who dreams of giving a speech at the Oscars. Her dream comes true, but not in quite the way she hoped. My three poems in the anthology range in scope from national political catastrophes to a casual chat in a coffee shop.

You can access the Echoes anthology for FREE here: https://mplwritingcircle.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/echoes-anthology-1.pdf You can also buy or borrow paperbacks at the McAllen Public Library, where you can check out Beyond Acacia Ridge too!

Cover Reveal! ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ (Insignia Drabbles #1)

Check out this amazing cover! I have three 100-word stories in this book about lesser-known yōkai (supernatural beings of Japan). Also, a friend of mine (Carmen Indalecio) has her first ever published stories in this book! I can’t wait to read them! Congrats, Carmen! ❤

INSIGNIA STORIES

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m very excited to share the cover for our upcoming anthology: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles. It is the first planned release in the new Insignia Drabbles series. I haven’t decided the release date yet, but it will likely be mid-February.

For now, enjoy the cover!

~Kelly Matsuura~

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This anthology includes 80 drabbles (100-word stories) inspired by Japanese folklore and yōkai tales, as well as original fantasy and science fiction pieces. You’ll find wicked cats and dragons; ghosts and monsters; spaceships and time travelers; and much more. This collection has it all!

~~~

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Our Christmas Miracle

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“All I want for Christmas is to see a wolf.”

My research teammate said this repeatedly over the past few days as we braved the ice and snow of central Wisconsin, following gray wolf tracks through the forest. We examined scent markings wolves had used to announce their presence, set up acoustic recorders to collect their howls. We listened with bated breath to the silence under the stars, hoping to hear them sing.

On Christmas Eve, my teammate got her wish.

The night began with a howl survey. Such surveys involve driving a road in an area of likely wolf activity, howling into the darkness and waiting for replies. This was our third night of conducting such surveys, and no one on our team had yet received a response. For the first time, I was the howler, and I was incredibly nervous. I had practiced earlier that day, howling to myself while alone inside our team’s living quarters. I was worried I sounded like Scooby Doo with laryngitis, afraid I’d be the reason we wouldn’t find the wolves.

At the fourth stop along our route, I called out to the wilderness. My broken voice carried through the crisp, cold air. We listened intently to the perfect silence, waiting for an answer.

From across the distance, a chorus of coyotes cried out to us, their eerie, beautiful sounds giving us a glimpse into their wild, wandering lives. For a while, we relished the music.

And then the wolves sang too.

Low, mournful howls sent shivers down our spines. My teammate pointed a microphone in their direction as the songs rang out through time and space, connecting us briefly to a world that will never be ours. My heart soared as I savored the moment. For the rest of the night, I was floating on air.

Based on the direction of the howls, we placed a recorder at a new site in the forest. After a rendezvous with the rest of the team, we headed home. My teammate drove us carefully through the shadows and mist. And then, all of a sudden, she stammered and pulled over.

She’d seen a wolf. A wolf on Christmas Eve. Standing by the side of the road, staring right through her. We turned around and drove back, but we never found the wolf again. It vanished like a ghost. But it was there.

A Blackfoot legend refers to the Milky Way as the Wolf Trail. For the past year, I’ve wondered frequently about my place in the universe, whether I’m walking down the right path. But I think, like the wolves, we forge our own paths, carving trails through the snow to where we’re meant to be.

Sometimes, the stars align to reward us with a blessing that takes our breath away. Some call this God, or else fate, the auspices of the universe, or a mere result of stochastic events. Throughout the world, for thousands of years, humans have celebrated the triumph of light over darkness, the presence of hope and community amidst the loneliness of winter. Life’s myriad ways of persisting against impossible odds never fail to astound me. I will never forget Christmas Eve 2019, when the wolves sang to us. And I’ll never forget how my friend got her lupine miracle.

New game! Red Dog and the Endless Spaceship

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Howdy, folks! I’ve released a new free game (with graphics and sound) on itch.io called Red Dog and the Endless Spaceship. Give it a whirl over here: https://fontainepen.itch.io/red-dog-and-the-endless-spaceship

I made this silly little game with Adam Le Doux’s Bitsy Game Maker. Bitsy is a very accessible game editor; even if you have no programming experience whatsoever, you can quickly and easily use it to make a simple game. Try it out! https://ledoux.itch.io/bitsy

Furry Book Month!

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Happy Furry Book Month, everyone!

Furry books are books that feature anthropomorphic animals. These animals could live like humans, with clothes and houses and cars and such (as in The Wind in the Willows) or be similar to their real-life counterparts in behavior and lifestyle, only sharing with humans their intelligence and/or language (as in Watership Down).

As you can tell from these two examples, anthropomorphic animals are prominent in classic literature. However, our history of telling stories about such characters predates even these beloved novels, going all the way back to the fables of Aesop and Jean de La Fontaine—and still farther, to ancient mythology.

What’s exciting about furry literature is that it is timeless. Humans have always wondered what it would be like to slip into another creature’s skin, to see through the eyes of other beings that share our planet. We still wonder this, even today. Over the years, zoologists have given us invaluable insights into the perception and cognition of nonhuman animals, and we are continually learning more. But ultimately, I think a lot about the lives of our fellow creatures will always remain mysterious to us. That’s where imagination comes in.

Furry literature is still here, and in fact there are now several publishers who specialize in furry books, not to mention a Furry Writers’ Guild and awards unique to the furry writing community. October has been chosen as a time to celebrate and promote anthropomorphic animal literature, with the goal of sharing our love for it and making more people aware of its ongoing relevance.

With this goal in mind, furry publishers often run discounts on their books this month. Goal Publications is one of these publishers. Goal Publications is offering 15% off all the books in their online store this month, both print and ebook (excluding bundle deals), if you use coupon code FBM2019 at checkout, from now through the end of October. This deal includes my hyena novelette Beyond Acacia Ridge and two furry anthologies that feature my stories, A Glimpse of Anthropomorphic Literature and The Daily Grind, the latter of which I helped to edit. If you’re interested in getting 15% off on these or other great furry books, please check out their store: https://www.goalpublications.com/storefront.html

This month, I hope to finally read Watership Down and to also read Nexus Nine, the newest novel from one of my favorite authors, Mary E. Lowd. What will you be reading for Furry Book Month?

Break Stuff, a new Twine game for IFComp!

Today is the start of the judging period for the Interactive Fiction Competition! See IFComp’s announcement here: https://blog.ifcomp.org/post/188069134484/the-25th-annual-ifcomp-is-here There are eighty-two entries this year! My entry is a Twine game called Break Stuff.

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Break Stuff cover art

In Break Stuff, you make decisions for a troubled young woman who just broke up with her boyfriend. When your old friend from high school comes over, she invites you to vent your negative feelings by breaking stuff. Who could resist?

Break Stuff is a brief foray into depression, lost love, feminism, growing up, and the brokenness that makes us human. Please see the content warnings listed with the entry on the site before you decide whether to play it or not. Break Stuff can be found among the rest of this year’s games on the ballot here: https://ifcomp.org/ballot I hope you will enjoy it!

Change Your Choices, Change the World: the Interactive Fiction Competition

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You’ve reached a crossroads in your life. A fork in the road. A tipping point. What you do today, this hour, this minute, will change you…and the world.

I think we all can remember an epic moment like this, a big decision we made that altered our course and transformed us into someone new. But what most of us fail to realize on a regular basis is that even the seemingly small choices we make add up to something huge over time.

This is why I love interactive fiction. In interactive fiction, we, the readers/players, are main characters, and the choices we make, even ostensibly small ones, tend to have consequences down the road: for our environment, for our societies, for our relationships, for our personal success and happiness. We get to explore how the priorities we set and the means by which we pursue them affect us–and the world.

Does this sound familiar? I hope so. “An unexamined life is not worth living,” Socrates said. I appreciate how interactive fiction challenges its writers and readers to think critically and live intentionally as we work to solve the puzzles of our lives.

The Interactive Fiction Competition, an annual event to celebrate and promote interactive fiction, is allowing IF authors from around the world who registered (for free) to submit their entries for the 2019 competition until 11:59 pm Eastern Time tonight. If you’re curious about the world of interactive fiction games, please consider becoming a judge! Anyone, no matter their level of past experience with IF, can create an account to play and rate games during the competition. Judging goes from October 1 to November 15. If you’re interested in judging IFComp entries, please read the rules (https://ifcomp.org/rules#judges), guidelines (https://ifcomp.org/about/judging), and FAQ (https://ifcomp.org/about/faq#judginggames) for judges and make an account on the website here: https://ifcomp.org/user/register. I hope you, like me, will fall in love with these fun and thought-provoking games. And I hope you will consider how whatever you choose to do after you finish reading this blog post will impact the rest of your life.