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Latest News

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Announcing Heat #10

4/8/2013 8:22 am

[Alopex] I am happy to announce that production on Heat #10 is well underway and that we plan to release it at Anthrocon this summer. As usual, the stories and comics come from a mix of new and old contributors, and they include relationships of a variety of sexual orientations.

Stories:

  • "Best of the Best" by Franklin Leo, illustrated by ShinigamiGirl
  • "The Delicate Game" by Dark End, illustrated by Dark Natasha
  • "Flight Path" by Huskyteer, illustrated by Anyare
  • "Pushing" by TrianglePascal, illustrated by Kacey Miyagami
  • "Repaid in Silver" by Kandrel, illustrated by Toulouse

Poems:

  • "The Fangs of Love" by Bears from Arcadia!, illustrated by Stigmata
  • "In Season" by Tempe O'Kun, illustrated by Katie Hofgard

Comics:

  • "I Miss You, Too" by 333456
  • "Isis" by Keovi & Kyell Gold
  • "Mail Bonding" by Blotch
  • "Rough Day" by Donryu

This volume's cover will be by Serene Wyatt, and we'll have ads by Sefeiren and Blue_Panther. The volume wraps up with an Afterglow Husky by EclipseWolf.

Although we had discussed making this tenth volume an all-color publication and we considered delaying its release until fall, in the end, we decided to keep Heat #10 in its traditional black-and-white format, and we will be releasing it on schedule (barring any unforeseen complications). The Teagan half of Blotch is responsible for convincing me that we actually could keep this volume on schedule, despite having a delayed start, and has taken over management of all things artistic. For editing, Dark End stayed on after his work on Hot Dish to help out with some of the stories, and Jeff Eddy has returned as editor for the others. I am greatly indebted to all three for their roles in keeping Heat #10 manageable and on schedule!

(We do have plans for expanding Heat into more colorful realms, but we have moved those ideas into another project, to be announced at a later date.)

Can't wait until Anthrocon!

New Distributor = Cheaper Shipping for Australian Readers!

4/7/2013 4:46 pm

We're pleased to announce that we now have a distributor in Australia. Fans of our publications in Australia and New Zealand will have a much cheaper shipping option than ever before!

Australian Fandom Conventions, the people who bring you ConFurgence (formerly MiDFur), have opened up an online shop at ausfancons.bigcartel.com. Having just launched the site, they are currently carrying only a limited number of our titles. However, they are happy to hear what other titles you may be interested in! Let them know via their contact form, and if there is enough interest, they may expand their offerings the next time we send them a shipment.

Our Current Sales: At Least 20% Off Everything!

4/3/2013 6:33 pm

Spring is finally here in Minnesota! We feel like celebrating by putting everything that isn't already discounted on our site on sale for 20% off. Our current sales are:

Ursa Major Nominees

Furry Writers' Guild Book of the Month for April

Everything Else

20% off You must use the discount code "APR2013" at checkout to claim this discount rate.

Hot Dish, Out of the Test Kitchen! Part 2

3/24/2013 12:35 pm

[Alopex] Continuing from our previous installment about Hot Dish (swp.im/p/hd $17.95), we move on to the stories in the latter half of the collection.

A Monster and a Gentleman by Lady Chastity Chatterley is a beauty-and-beast story. There is no denying that. But what makes it stand out is its clever variations from the traditional tale, told with a narrative voice befitting such a fairy tale. Fergus, the monster in this tale, is truly kind in his heart and his demeanor, but he must learn to live with the fact that the people around him treat him instinctively as a beast solely based on his appearance. His fully human twin brother is his visual opposite; he is also Fergus’s opposite in personality. The two provide plenty of opportunities for the reader to ponder what it is that makes a monster truly monstrous.

Dream a Little Dream of Me is Kandrel’s second appearance in this anthology, in a setting quite different from the first. The story centers around Curri, a mink living in a world where Sweet Dreams Units provide computer-enhanced dreaming experiences. Only, in Curri’s case, his SDU seems faulty and even his waking reality starts to glitch out around him. The reasons why his worlds are misbehaving are surprising, for both the mink and the reader, and they pull together the story nicely in the end.

On top of that, the story has one of my favorite characters in the entire collection: Ricardo, a gecko and the local electronics repairman who Curri goes to for various services. One of his services is presented in perhaps more detail than is necessary to advance the plot, but he is such a fun character that I couldn’t bear having any less of him in the story.

A Secret Place by Dwale takes place in an intriguing setting: an ancient greenhouse operation, nestled in a forgotten mountain valley, growing flowers for sale to a much more modern and technologically advanced civilization nearby. Ipomoea, A young stallion from the city has come to the farmstead to help his wheelchair-bound aunt tend to the flowers. Although we see little of his city life, we learn about this larger world through the contrasts he sees between it and this little pocket of solitude in which he finds himself. For example, in the city, knowledge about nuclear power is heavily controlled and limited to those in the uppermost castes, whereas in the country, remnants of the previous human inhabitants’ nuclear technology (such as what powers the greenhouses) are viewed as somewhat mystical and must be maintained by wandering tech-seers. Such hints at a larger world outside the story give the setting depth and richness, deftly revealing just enough to color the story without making the story feel incomplete.

Within this setting we see Ipomoea coming of age and starting to question the assumptions about his life’s direction that have been defined by his caste. He is guided along by his aunt’s patient and tender lessons in floriography, the secret language of flower arrangements. Floriography is rarely found in the Heat slushpile, and this story stood out because of its particularly skillful incorporation of the trope into Ipomoea’s personal growth.

In Dance With Me by Tack Otter we follow Rowdy, an Australian shepherd pianist and his performance partner, Ben, a non-anthropomorphic crow with a natural talent for dance, as they prepare for a major talent competition. It’s nerve-wracking enough that the stakes are so high in the competition, but Rowdy’s focus is further distracted by his internal struggle over who he cares for most vs. the expectations of his family (and society in general). Musical themes run throughout the story, even when the music isn’t playing, in metaphors and other turns of phrase that reveal how deeply music runs through Rowdy’s life. The story also stands out in how it explores the ways in which a bird and a more humanoid character might express their love for each other in bed.

What Would You Do if I’m Not What I’m Supposed to Be? by Arcane Reno explores one of the fears that is increasingly common in today’s age of internet communications: what if the person who only knows you online doesn’t like who you are in real life? Marcus, an African Wild Dog in real life, plays Kraid, an anthro dragon in Echos of Myth, an online RPG that is fully immersive via a port implanted into players’ nervous systems and a Visband worn over the eyes. His game partner is another male dragon named Daigen, and Marcus has yet to reveal to him his real identity, including the reason why this virtual reality is so much more significant for him than it is for most players. When Daigen reveals that he hass moved to Marcus’s town in order to be able to hang out in real life, Marcus is faced with many questions that he has been avoiding.

Even though Marcus has his flaws — he is easy to find fault even in people who mean well — he is an engaging character who we want to succeed and who we want to find love. He has an entertaining relationship with his mother, whose tough love is perfectly suited for his situation, and he’s a consummate geek who lets fly with the nerdiest of references at the most opportune moments.

As the longest story with the longest title, it is a fitting tale for the anchor position in this anthology. But more than that, it ends on an uplifting and positive note that is the perfect way to close out this diverse collection of stories.

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