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Review: 'Hot Dish' [vol. 1, edited by Alopex]

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)
Cover to 'Hot Dish, vol. 1', by Kamui

‘Hotdish’ is another term for casserole – a collection of seemingly disparate ingredients held together by a hot, gooey sauce. It creates a hearty portion of food for those on a relatively modest budget.

Hot Dish is a collection of stories about the romantic and erotic relationships between characters of disparate species and sexual orientations. It is a hearty portion of quality fiction which was too long to fit into our yearly adult anthology, Heat.

Hot, gooey sauce not included. (back cover blurb)

Hot Dish is an anthology intended for an adult audience only and contains some explicit sexual scenes of various sexual orientations. It is not for sale to persons under the age of 18. (publisher’s advisory)

Hot Dish, which includes a number “1” on the spine so more volumes are planned, consists of nine romantic Furry novelettes, about forty pages each, by pseudonymous authors.

(Really, I respect Furry pseudonyms, but when an entire book is filled with stories by Huskyteer, Lady Chastity Chatterley, Dark End, and the like, it makes it look like everyone concerned has something to hide.)

Sofawolf Press, March 2013, trade paperback $17.95 (xii + 374 pages). Illustrated by Keovi.

“Seducing the Sky” by Kandrel is a space opera. The tiger Taj (“Taj pulled himself to his full height. ‘I am Taj-Rol-Mani of the Hin generation.’ It had been a long time since he'd the chance to use his full name.” –p. 10), a space warrior, has been mentally connected to his AI partner and friend Raptor for as long as he can remember. When his one-man fighter ship crashes on an unknown planet and his connection to Raptor is lost, Taj must develop a new relationship with the otterlike Rock tribe, particularly the female Sky, who need a warrior. This is a traditional “spaceman is marooned on a primitive planet and joins its tribal natives” tale.

In “Mirror, Signal, Manouvre” by Huskyteer, a British trio of good friends is shaken when gay wolf Max is asked by his best friend, the clouded leopardess Jess, to father a child with the wolfess Cate so Cate and Jess, a lesbian couple, can have a child. Max agrees out of friendship with Jess even though he is terrified by the dominant Cate. Artificial insemination – Cate doesn’t want bachelor Max to have anything to do with the baby – no problems. But as the baby develops, Max becomes obsessed with it being HIS CHILD.

I asked Jess if Cate had suffered from morning sickness—I thought I might be less afraid of her if I could picture her with her head down the loo—but apparently she was cruising through her pregnancy the way she cut through commuter traffic on her motorbike. No cravings, even—when the three of us met for meals she tucked in to saintly salads, or oily fish for a brainy baby. I was the one who found myself getting up one midnight and eating a can of sardines straight from the tin.
With apricot jam.
Towards the bottom of the can I saw fit to ask myself what the hell I was doing. I’d heard of men getting cravings in sympathy with a pregnant partner, but I’d always dismissed it as a pathetic cry for attention. Besides, I wasn’t The Father. I was the sperm donor, and I wasn’t allowed to start having paternal feelings. Or pregnancy cravings.
I was just hungry, that’s all, and I’d always liked sweet-and-sour. Why was I hungry? Because I’d been lying in bed, not sleeping, thinking about the baby. (pgs. 65-66)

Max has met and bonded with basset hound Simon, and they could be a family for MAX’S CUB, and – it’s a domestic mess, with all four gay adults determined to be civilized about it. A heart-melting comedy rather than a farce. You’ll sympathize with everyone.

In “The Evening’s Festivities” by Faora Meridian, dapper coyote Nelin Reprobas is really a jewel thief who has wangled an invitation to wolf Lord Litanno Consalius’ exclusive ball to search the house for the fabled Sword of Merzaa the Fifteenth. Even though he is confident of his skill, he is dazzled by the unbelievable good luck of finding that Lord Litanno has entrusted the Sword to his incredibly beautiful daughter Lady Lucia, who is so smitten by him that she takes him into her bedroom to give him a private showing:

Their lips met anew as the surprisingly strong wolfess pushed at Nelin’s body, and their lips parted once more as the coyote found himself bent back at the knees over the edge of her bed. He allowed himself to tumble back as he gripped at Lucia’s sides, and the coyote grinned up at her as she yipped and giggled. Her cheek fell against his thigh as her fingertips played up and down his legs, and Nelin’s ears tipped back slightly to hide their pink tinge as she began to remove the cloth between her paws and his fur. ‘My dear Lady Consalius, if you are going where I believe you are to be going—’ (p. 93)

But it’s not the showing that he expects, nor is the evening over after he steals the Sword. Complications ensue.

“The Moment at Eternity” by Dark End is a bit confusing as scenes jump back and forth from four years before “the Event” to six months after it, but they soon clarify into a powerful story. The Event is the sinking of a cruise ship touring the beautiful but harsh Alaskan coast. There are only two survivors; Callie, a human bartender, and Aion, “a meta, a genetically-engineered pseudo-human with the outer appearance of a dog—a black Labrador, in this case. Although metas could be used for dangerous jobs or as soldiers, if this one had been on the ship with her, then he almost certainly worked as a prostitute and sex slave.” (p. 117)

Callie and Aion have to find civilization together. This shouldn’t be too hard; Alaska is settled enough that there should be a small town within a week or two’s trek away. But Callie has no survival skills, and as for Aion:

She saw the meta removing his own jacket and holding it open for her. Even though he was only a few feet away, it was a struggle to reach him—unused muscles screamed at her as they were forced back into motion, and each slick stone was a potential landmine under her unsteady legs. But she made it without further injury and pulled the jacket around herself even as the meta pulled her body in close against his fur. ‘Thanks,’ she mumbled, glad for any amount of comfort.
For a while they did nothing but rest, recuperating their strength.
Callie noticed the meta's hand, the one he had been clenching and unclenching before. It shook, shivering in the wind. ‘You're cold,’ she said. ‘You should take your jacket back.’
‘No. I'm plenty warm. With my fur, I could be naked and comfortable here.’
‘But you're shivering.’
The dog-faced meta looked to his hand and again clenched and unclenched it. ‘I'm warm. I just can't feel the tips of my fingers anymore.’
‘Frostbite?’ she asked, although it didn't seem possible if he was as warm as he said.
‘No.’ And then he added, as if to clarify, ‘I'm dying.’ (pgs. 118-119)

Metas are built to “wear out” after three years. Aion knew that he was due to start dying soon; the stress of the crash may have begun the process. His sole worry is that he may die before he can bring Callie back to civilization; or become so physically or mentally infirm that he will become an additional burden to her. Callie is deeply impressed by his devotion to her at a time when he could just let everything go. Much of the story is set after the Event, devoted to Callie’s attempt to fulfill Aion’s last wishes despite her human friends’ lack of understanding. A very quiet tearjerker.

“A Monster and a Gentleman” by Lady Chastity Chatterley is a slight but significant variant of the Beauty and the Beast theme. This fantasy is the only faux European fairy tale in Hot Dish. What if the Beast was not isolated but was an accepted although reviled member of society?

Hot Dish - 'A Secret Place', by KeoviQueen Muriel has two babies; Prince Domongart, who grows up to be handsome and perfect of body, and Prince Fergus who, because of a curse, “had the head and hindquarters of a pig, and the tail and scaly back of a lizard. Worst of all, it was covered in green fuzz that resembled the down of a chick.” (p. 157) A palace servant abandons him in an enchanted forest until he is rediscovered when he is 21. Since he is intelligent and well-mannered, and his royal blood cannot be denied, he is reluctantly taken to the castle to assume his rightful place at the royal court.

Everyone ignores and shuns Prince Fergus as much as possible except Lady Isolte, a noblewoman who has been promised to Prince Domongart for political reasons. Since she is pretty but hardly the most beautiful in the land, he palms her off on Fergus. Forced into Fergus’ company, she comes to realize that he has all of a prince’s ideal qualities except physical handsomeness – but can anyone accept such extreme ugliness just because of his genuine love for her?

The following night when he came to Isolte, she sat waiting on the edge of her bed. She looked even more nervous than the previous night. She was pale, beads of sweat dotted her forehead, and her eyes were red and puffy. Fergus seated himself beside her and took her hands in his. ‘Are you ill, Isolte?’
She shook her head. ‘Nay, not ill. I must do something that Valdorian ladies are not wont to do as it is considered most unheard of…’
Fergus glanced at the sword where it leaned against the wall on the other side of the room. She didn’t intend to slay him. At least, not at the moment.
‘I must tell you what I fear and hope you are willing to listen.’ She held her breath as if afraid of how he might react to this.
Fergus smiled gently, or what he hoped was gently. He bowed his head. ‘Please, tell me what weighs on your heart.’
She told him all the fears that ailed her: that he would accidentally eat her or crush her—or behead her if she didn’t give him an heir. (p. 183)

The closer that she comes to accepting Fergus, which means that Domongart’s practical joke has failed, the more the crown prince’s disdain for his brother turns to jealousy and hatred …

This review is running too long. The remaining stories are “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Kandrel again, back-cover-blurbed as, “A young mink’s computer-aided dreams go awry, leading to revelations about his waking reality”; “A Secret Place” by Dwale, “A stallion learns about love and finds a deeper purpose in life while studying the arcane language of flowers”; “Dance With Me” by Tack Otter, “An odd couple of canine and crow battle tradition and taboo amidst the chaos of a talent competition”; and “What Would You Do If I’m Not What I’m Supposed To Be?’ by Arcane Reno, “An African wild dog finds he can no longer escape reality when his best online friend decides to move to town.

Nine stories. Seven of them are arguably funny-animal stories in which the anthro-animal characters could have just as easily be human, and only two in which the anthro-status is meaningful. But all are well-written. If you can put up with mild lovemaking (by modern standards) to hot ‘n heavy XXX gay scenes, put Hot Dish volume 1 on your definitely-to-be-read list.

There is a full-page frontispiece by Keovi to each story. The cover is by Kamui.

See also: Video review by Isiah Jacobs

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (7 votes)

Once again, your so-called "review" is just a list of summaries in which you offer no literary criticism. The only thing approaching a review is the final paragraph before the artists' credits.

If the entirety of your review is contained in a single paragraph, perhaps you should simply post that cluster of four sentences (in this case two sentence fragments and two sentences), rather than waste your time or your readers' with unnecessary (and often wrong: see your review of Will of the Alpha in which you got the summary of "The New Toy" outright incorrect) summary posts. In fact, in regards to Will of the Alpha (full disclosure: I am one of the authors featured therein), most of your summaries contain small errors, and certainly do not do the stories justice.

It's quite clear to me, having read several of your reviews, that you feel that most stories aren't anthropomorphic enough. Furry literature is a metagenre, and as such follows certain conventions. Oftentimes the aesthetic is what the reader is interested in. These are animal people because we chose to write them that way (and I say 'we' as a furry writer, not as someone who has any connection to Hot Dish, which I do not). Not every story, and especially not short stories where economy is king, is going to have, or needs to have, an explanation of the origins of the furries, or include extensive animalistic features. Perhaps in this world, the anthropomorphic animals are much more like us than like animals (plantigrade feet, omnivorous diet, etc). And perhaps that is the world the author wants to create. It doesn't automatically make a story good any more than it automatically makes a story bad, of course. I'm not here to defend specific stories. I'm here to point out your complete inability to write actual literary critique.

The most laughable and yet sad thing is your assumption that writers writing under pseudonyms "have something to hide." You claim to respect furry pseudonyms and yet you immediately follow that claim with immense disrespect towards them. I don't quite know what fandom you think you are writing these "reviews" for, but clearly it isn't the furry fandom. Writers across all genres and throughout history have written under pseudonyms, and in this fandom, many, MANY of our best writers have and continue to write under noms de plume for any number of reasons. This alone should not be an issue to you or to anyone else. Perhaps they began writing in the fandom under that pseudonym and it is how their readers know them. Perhaps they simply wish to compartmentalize their furry side due to personal reasons. Casting aspersions on writers for following this age-old practice reflects poorly upon you as a literary critic (a term I use very loosely in referring to you for reasons I have already explained).

I want to see reviews of furry work. Whether they are positive or negative, at least they should contain a valid academic reason for the opinion of the reviewer. Roger Ebert was a master of this when it came to film. Unfortunately, as it stands, a person who reads no reviews at all of furry literature is better informed than one who reads a review by you. I'm hoping others step up to raise the bar. I know various people have plans in the works to try and do just that, so in the end, if your reviews serve any real purpose, it may be as motivation for others to produce something that actually fills the need for honest and well-considered critique.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Writers do have a long history of using pseudonyms for valid reasons, but a big difference is that most mainstream writers tend to choose pen names that sound like real names, where most furries publishing under pseudonyms tend to write under fursona names. For something like furry porn that doesn't have any real audience outside the fanbase, maybe it's not a big deal, but if you're not a diehard furry and are more used to reading mainstream fiction, I can see where it might be a little hard to take seriously a table of contents filled with stories by Frisky McSparkleWolf and friends.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

Those names are our identities as furries in so many cases. This is the fandom we are and the fandom we write for. Personal identity bias is irrelevant to the discussion of the merits of literary work.

Your rating: None Average: 1.6 (11 votes)

I like your pseudonym. It rhymes with "barf"!

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (7 votes)

As usual you have nothing productive to add to the discussion.

Your rating: None Average: 1.5 (8 votes)

It's a comment section, dude.

Basically, you've got two types of comment sections; one to a popular site (not like Flayrah's) where there are thousands upon thousands of comments where nothing of value can be said because, even if you have something witty/important/interesting/new/whatever to say, how can anyone find it in all the static.

The second type, the basically niche site (face it, like Flayrah's) is the same five jag-off's sniping at each other and/or circle-jerking each other's egos, forever, because that's the entire reader base, more or less.

Comment sections are the appendix of the Internet; they don't do anything and they're prone to horrific infections.

So, yes, I have nothing productive to add to the discussion; there isn't one.

Just some fucking worthless piece of shit spouting off to make himself feel big.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (6 votes)

It's like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. While you smack someone upside the head with a frying pan, you're secretly friends anyways.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (7 votes)

Is "frenemies" still a thing we're allowed to say?

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

I first heard the word from John Waters, so it's totally allowed.

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

It should be irrelevant, but one of many things I've learned about writing and publishing outside furry is that appearances matter. But like I said above, if things are aimed just at the fanbase, as they seem to be here, it's not as important as when you're publishing something that's also meant to appeal to readers who aren't furries.

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

I would think that an erotic anthology of furry stories probably isn't going to get a whole lot of readership outside the fandom. Just my thinking.

Your rating: None Average: 2.2 (9 votes)

Okay, a guy who calls himself Fuzzzzzzzzwolf wants me to stop having fun, because furry porn is, like, super serial, guys, and you better believe a guy with the word "fuzz" in his screenname knows how to be taken seriously, so I guess I'll add my actual two cents; if no one outside the fandom is reading something, why should Fred care about it?

Seriously, you may disagree with his reviewing style, but Jerry Beck, a fairly well known and respected mainstream animation historian sees enough in his writing to recruit him for his new website. I mean, what I'm saying here is, outside of "I created WikiFur" GreenReaper, none of us here are that big inside the furry fandom.

Nobody fucking cares who Sparf, crossaffliction, Patch Packrat, or Mr. Big Time Furry Publisher Fuzzwolf are, not even in the furry fandom. People outside the furry fandom respect Fred.

My point is Fred reviewing anything, even if his review does stink (hell, especially if it does stink) is kind of big thing; he's doing furry porn a favor. My point is, if it's only for a select group of individuals (who, by the way, when I argued that said group was hated by the mainstream, the best Green Reaper and company could back me down to was "completely ignored except when shoved in their face, and then condescended to" by the mainstream), you know, maybe you're right.

Maybe Fred shouldn't review it anymore.

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

You just seem cross, cross. Fred's been in the reviewing business for a long time, I think he's grown tough skin. You don't have to feel for him.

Your rating: None Average: 1.4 (7 votes)

Yeah, and I've been in the angry comment business a long time, so why don't you just shut the fuck up and let me do my thing, okay?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

I think you're overestimating my stature, or underestimating that of FuzzWolf. FurPlanet may not be super-well-known outside of the fandom, but nor is WikiFur, and certainly not Flayrah. :-)

He also lives only 17 minutes away! So don't give him any ideas about devouring me to become stronger, 'cause he could.

Your rating: None Average: 1.8 (6 votes)

Yeah, my entire point is "nobody cares about furry publishing." Fuck, Fuzzwolf's entire point is "nobody cares about furry publishing."

So, still waiting to be impressed.

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (5 votes)

My point was more that furry publishing is not yet known of in the mainstream and that isn't a goal for me anyway so I'm not inclined towards insisting everyone publish under real-sounding names just in case we end up on a bestseller list.

Lots of people care about furry publishing. You might not, hell half the commenters on this site don't seem to, but that's not indicative of the overall fandom. Furry fandom publishing has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. If you're unaware of that then you're just not paying attention.

As for impressing you, since you're a self-described troll on a site which has no value for intelligent discussion based on your description of it above, why would I care about impressing you?

You stay here and make bitchy comments. I'm writing off Flayrah as not being worth my time and going back to publishing awesome books and comics that plenty of people other than you care about.

Toodledoo! :-P

Your rating: None Average: 1.8 (9 votes)

Wimp.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

"I'm writing off Flayrah as not being worth my time"

It is worth your time though. Can you name other places that create reviews and content that spreads published furry material like this one? It would be a short list, right? Consider that one guy who's rubbing your fur the wrong way isn't affiliated with this site, much more than you have power to be. He just puts in time to contribute (which you could do, too). Writing off an important group effort just makes you sound like a dick to other people who would otherwise be interested in what you do.

Furry fandom publishing may have grown, but it's still not more than a hobby to anyone with the possible exception of a tiny handful (certainly not many writers). You can consider it a hobby forever, but it's at the arguable expense of a class of people who create content you publish, as much as personal. That has upsides and downsides (ask musicians whose work is widely shared but doesn't pay them a living).

Furry artists and fursuit makers don't all consider their labor a hobby. Do writers deserve more respect? It kind of has to do with your attitude, and relationships you make when you represent them.

I'm curious about the size/gross of your business... hehe, I run a pretty successful book selling business too... I'm curious with legit respect. :)
http://www.flayrah.com/5105/thoughts-measuring-furry-economy%E2%80%9D

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Some prefer to appreciate Flayrah's journalistic output without venturing into the comments.

I don't expect most of our readers to contribute; in fact, I hope most have more profitable things to do with their time. If not, we wouldn't have much to write about! I think it's cool that people are starting to make serious money out of the fandom - it should mean more of what we like, at a higher quality.

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

Well, since the stop notification process didn't work here I am again. :-P

As GreenReaper said, there are more profitable uses of my time than writing articles for Flayrah. I really should not read or respond to comments at all, but I felt I could add some insight to the discussion.

Regarding the "hobby" issue. Do not put words in my mouth. I take running my business very seriously. I never said it was a hobby, I said it was a niche market.

It's a niche market with the potential to grow, but I don't think it's a good idea to hinder our current customers' ability to find the authors they've been following online by having them publish under names other than they're known by in the community. That's creating a burden on our creators and showing disrespect to our core audience of furries in the vain hope that we'll hit it big in the mainstream.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

It's probably just me, but I have no problem with fan names/pseudonyms that are plausible names, like George Sand and Mark Twain in mainstream literature, or John Bristol (Jack Speer) and Ted Johnstone (Dave McDaniel) in s-f fandom. I have used a pen name that nobody except a couple of non-Furry magazine editors know about. Those were pseudonyms that would work equally well in "the community" and in "mundania". What I find eyebrow-raising are the Fursona names like Dark End and Huskyteer that scream that they are false names, and that they insist on only being known by. S-f fandom and comics fandom do not have these, and I don't think that anime fandom does. I have never understood why so many Furry fans feel that they have to adopt exclusive Fursonas, as opposed to someone like ----- who has both a fan name, Rod O'Riley, and a Fursona, Vinson Mink, and switches between them and his real name depending on which "community" he is in.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 1.3 (6 votes)

You might not like it being called a hobby, but that's what it is by the standard of any career writer (or publisher.) How many furry writers make a living from it? Can you name some, because that would be news to me... i dont know, i usually read stuff besides erotica about foxes in high school. How many make any income at all? Some furry artists and fursuit makers make a living from it.

The point is, your taking your business seriously isnt very impressive considering your "bitchy" comments here. Maybe your hopes would be less vain if you weren't writing people off so casually. Even hobby writers (well, i also have an eye out for projects to invest in.)

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

Patch, I don't get why you're displaying such an attitude towards FuzzWolf. You said he considered his business a hobby (implying that he was disrespecting writers), then took ownership of that term by saying that if he didn't like it, too bad, because he wasn't making writers enough money. I mean, that's just kinda rude. :-p

By the standards of the IRS, FurPlanet likely counts as a business. They're attending seven conventions this year, have been organizing pre-sales at them, and from what I've seen shift a significant amount of product from their table; then there's online sales. It may not be FuzzWolf's only job, but that is true of many jobs today.

Perhaps you feel you can do it better? If so, by all means give it a go - I'm all for healthy competition in publishing. But I suspect you'll find he was speaking from experience on the topic of what names furries (both readers and writers) like to see on their books.

Your rating: None Average: 1.6 (5 votes)

OK, let's back up and recap.

- Fred posts a review of Furry erotica, gets a harsh review of his review that seems kinda disrespectful considering it's Fred

- Sniping among Crossaffliction, anons, and Fuzzwolf. Fuzzwolf hauls out his furry publisher dick, gets on a high horse and declares Flayrah not worth his time. (At this point I have not said anything yet, but I take that personally.)

- I question Fuzzwolf's disrespect towards a group effort that includes myself and others who didn't say anything mean to him, and probably do as much or more to spread published Furry work (as far as I know) than any other site, just for the love of it... calling for a more professional attitude from Mr. Big-Time-Furry-Publisher if he respects the creators he represents.

- Since Fuzzwolf seemed to make it a mission of ego, I cast aspersions that it's a bit of a petty mission... oh, I'm sure it's not all about gay foxes in high school, but take a look at what this review is for? Setting aside attitude of Crossaffliction comments, the ones about the nature of Furry writing are kinda hard to argue with. Like, what does the most-awarded Furry writer write? (Actually that one Kyell Gold story collection I sampled was super fun, so you're not hearing it from a hater.)

- Could I do better? I don't do the same thing, but every year I buy 6 figures in books to stock my business through exclusive relationships with museums and one-of-a-kind publishers, and now developing co-publishing deals. I would think twice about dealing with a dude who represents his thing like he does here. Yeah, he doesn't have to care. His authors' loss.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Your behavior alone is enough to ensure I won't come back. If this is what passes for the comments, especially how you respond to any kind of critique, Fuzzwolf is right in saying this site isn't worth the time.

Your rating: None Average: 1.2 (5 votes)

Critique: 1/5. Put some effort in if you're going to do a dramatic flounce.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

I don't think it's as much disrespect as it is good business sense really, they don't want to waste time in the comments if the feedback is not looking to be constructive. I don't think they're going to up and leave Flayrah, it's still a good source. I think they more meant they didn't want to waste time debating when they could be doing.

However, when it comes to that it's sometimes best to not say that you're no longer going to waste your time, and just not waste it without further word. Crossie was being a jerk, something he admits constantly, has to do mostly with his origins on the web.

It's not unusual to have culture shocks. You start to believe the place you hang out on the internet (world) is how the whole internet (world) behaves. So when he said "This is a comment board on the internet of course I'm being useless and vindictive." he means that's the internet he knows and he wants it to be here too.

But that's a lot like if I were Japanese and went to America and burned all the bedframes because in Japan you place the futon directly on the floor. The reaction he gets here for such things I feel are somewhat similar.

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (5 votes)

In my end I assumed I was posting in a reasonable discussion about furry writing. What I got was the comments section of CNN.com

I'd like to see a good discussion, but I really don't feel welcome here.

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

I try to be constructive as all possible even in the face of anger. When it comes to this though, as Kage says (that he quotes to his late grandmother) "1,000 atta-boys ain't worth 1 'Oh Shit.'"

As slow as it's been at work, my mind kind of went to something about publishing, I think it'd be somewhat useful not only to the fandom but to publishing in general, I'll probably write it up from a fandom perspective. It's definitely an interesting idea.

If particular users are giving you a hard time, you can go to you user page and give them a block. I had to do that once.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Just wanted to say thanks for being constructive and reasonable to talk to. I appreciate it.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (6 votes)

In what way was I pulling out my "publisher dick" and making this about ego?

I started my statement with "Full disclosure for those who don't know me: I own FurPlanet Productions, a furry publisher." Previously I had posted in an article without that disclaimer and someone accused me of trying to hide my identity and that being a publisher made me biased.

So, this time I tried to do an NPR-esque disclosure so as not to appear as if I were hiding something. If that's what upset you I don't know what to say. That wasn't bragging on my part, just being open.

If I had assumed everyone obviously knew who I was that would have been egotistical. I did the opposite since I'm not a regular here, I assumed people wouldn't know me. I don't see how I'm being egotistical.

On that topic, you and Cross were the ones who kept bringing up status: how well known are people, your business is a hobby and so forth.

So if I don't say I'm a publisher it means I'm being dishonest and if I do say it then I'm bragging. All of these attacks don't even have anything to do with the discussion on realish names vs fursonas, but you've seen fit to bash me anyway.

As for why I'm pretty much done with this site, that's simple. Practically every time I've posted here I've been met with scorn, rudeness or attempts at trolling. I don't demand you bow down and respect me, but I don't think it's out of line to expect some common courtesy. I'm not a regular here. The only person who has been the least bit courteous, even though we don't agree on many points, is GreenReaper.

From my perspective, the most discussed articles seem to be about furs who have been arrested for cub porn or bestiality and the relative merits of those topics. Majority of reviews get 2 or 3 comments, tops. This thread doesn't count as half the comments are off-topic for the original post.

I post about Bitter Lake being on sale, the response is boring story. GreenReaper posted an article about the Black Friday sales going on at various furry retailers, the response was that the article was spam.

My conclusion on Flayrah is not due to one encounter with the resident troll. It is due to an opinion formed over several years which indicate to me that the users of this site do not care about writing and publishing in the furry fandom.

It all comes down to time for me and using my time most effectively for my business. We get no traffic from Flayrah so I put journals and ads on FA instead and promote via company Twitter accounts. I'd post a press release here if I thought it would be appreciated, but I don't think it would be. Should I try it? Feel free to prove me wrong.

Your rating: None Average: 1.8 (6 votes)

"Practically every time I've posted here I've been met with scorn, rudeness or attempts at trolling"

You dismissed the group effort of the site and claimed to be too important for it before I even knew you existed. Where was your courtesy? You make the attitudes, too... nothing stops you from ignoring a handful of comments you don't like and posting more positive things, though.

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So you didn't respond to the majority of what I said and your response is basically "you started it".

Glad we had this mature conversation. Oh and feel free to keep bragging about the number of books you buy and sell. It makes for a really amusing read when you claim I'm arrogant.

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So, you started it, but somehow it's everyone else's fault but yours... Glad we had this mature conversation, Pot.

Sure, I will feel free to mention things I do, but it's not because I'm telling people that I'm too important for them, with no time to comment on stories, post stories, organize and host meets, and all that other fan stuff that people do out of appreciation for each other. It makes fandom really amusing, and I love seeing people have a good community because of it. :)

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While I really shouldn't immerse myself in any more fandom-type arguments just now, I sort of feel obliged to defend a friend and share part of what I've learned about the art of marketing furry non-porn literature.

First of all, Fuzz, I've always been and remain grateful for the effort that you make to be professional and to sell books to a fandom that has proven remarkably resistant to the literary arts. Anyone who fails to see you as a professional in either your behavior or intent simply doesn't know you very well. (Disclaimer-- Fuzz has published I forget how many of my books, and sales have been steady if less than spectacular.)

As far as general furry literature goes... I've made almost $20k selling furry-themed books (meaning books I've written-- others like Fuzz do the actual selling) in the past twelve months. The bulk of those sales consist of a single series (The "David Birkenhead"books) that have taken off like skyrockets in the Amazon Kindle market. I continue to find it highly amusing that that most furs remain totally unaware of these hot-selling furry books by a long-time fandom author-- my buyers are 99%+ "straight" SF or Military Fiction readers who mostly seem blissfully unaware they're buying a "furry" book. To make a long story short-- this has been discussed at greater length elsewhere on Flayrah-- I've come to the conclusion that this is because I don't write porn, and it's easier to persuade a hard-nosed military fiction fan to read stories about space-bunnies than to get a fur to read non-spoogey books.

Also, to be fair, it's a matter of sheer numbers. _Thirty thousand furs_ would've had to have downloaded one of my books each, roughly speaking, to account for my total volume to date. (Again, these are rough numbers-- my sales may be as low as twenty-five or as high as forty thousand. Because I don't do my own sales and have multiple publishers the raw numbers aren't available at my fingertips.) What percentage of the fandom would that work out to be? Well over half, I'd assume. And selling to over 50% of _any_ market is too much to expect.

Once I worked out _that_ out, well... I came to appreciate for the first time that the fandom is still much too small to support a truly successful writing career, and also too small to support a "genre" of it's own. Even if one sells a book to half of all furs, the numbers are too small to financially support the man-hours of creating it. So since then, while I'm still writing furry fiction because it's what I have in my heart, well...

...it's a lot less furry these days than it was before. Instead I'm trying to play more to my other strengths as a writer. And thank _god_ I never tried to market my work under a pseudonym like Leaper Thumpbunny or somesuch. No SF or (even more!) military fiction fan would've given me a chance, and I'd have sold next to nothing.

Your rating: None Average: 1.8 (5 votes)

You never miss a chance to bring up how much money you've made, do you?

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When its a pertinent fact I talk about it. Otherwise no one else can share the benefit of what I've learned along the way. If you still don't understand, I fear I can't help you.

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Thanks for talking about it, it's really valuable info and welcome to hear.

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In fairness, readers liked the Bitter Lake story, judging by its rating. The sole negative comment was itself poorly rated.

The Cyber Monday story got a more clearly mixed response, but frankly our users are not that interested in stories which are trying to sell something. The story was also brief, and included contentious material (sex toys).

Press releases tend to be overly promotional (surprise!) and require editing before publication. In general, we'd rather report on the success of a work than be the direct cause of it.

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Like I said, we don't always see eye to eye, but you've always been courteous to me and I thank you. I have my criticisms of how Flayrah has changed since its beginnings, but I must say Wikifur is a top notch resource and I refer people to it often when they need convention info.

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Um, the vast majority of non-furry writers don't make a living from their writing, at least if we're talking about fiction. And that includes authors publishing with the big New York publishers.

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You're right. So what. The poor state of the publishing industry shouldn't be something to aim for, but something to aim higher than.

Few musicians make a living... artists get treated like they should do it for fun... I aim to pay them and treat them like pros if I can, when I hire them or represent them or teach them.

Some fursuit makers and artists do make their living... why not furry writers? Are there any? It's at least a bit of an issue to raise.

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

'So what' is that when you call it a hobby solely based on not being able to make one's primary living from it, you're including a lot of writers that most people would consider professional. Your definition just strikes me as a little too strict. (Even the IRS defines a business by the act of making a profit in a certain number of years, not by how big a percentage of your household income it represents.)

Why not furry writers? Yeah, I wish, but let's be realistic. Furry writing, at least that published within the fandom, is a niche market (readers willing to pay actual money for books) within a niche market (furry itself). If mainstream publishing, even mainstream genre publishing, which appeals to a much larger potential audience, isn't able to pay its writers a living wage anymore, I seriously doubt a fandom with a handful of small publishers, probably not even turning much of a profit if any, will ever be able to. I'm all for dreaming big, but shooting for the moon is one thing; thinking you can get there in that cardboard box in your backyard wearing a football helmet is another.

Keep this in mind also: Furries want fursuits and are willing to pay good crafters to make them because they realize they can't do it themselves. Furries want art and are willing to pay for it because they realize they can't do it themselves. Practically everybody in this fandom thinks they can write. There's nowhere near the same kind of demand for furry writing that there is for artwork and fursuits. (Plus, fursuit makers and most artists are making their money on commissions, and a commission system just doesn't work that well with text like it does with visual art or crafts.)

Are there any furry writers making their primary living from furry fiction? Not sure, but if there are I'd bet I could count them all on one hand and have a couple fingers left. I thought I saw Kyell Gold say something once about making most of his living from it now, but I don't remember for certain and may have misunderstood. (And he's writing books that appeal to the largest demographic of the fandom, and capable of churning them out on a pretty regular basis, two advantages that not all furry writers have, so I would question using his success as any kind of representative sample.)

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Fair enough :)

I see value as something you create, not completely out of your hands.

What is the most valuable furry book? I dunno... not from fandom, but a first edition of Watership Down in the 5 figures? That would be some sign of potential and desire. I make a living selling books, not too many are furry books, but some are and I will be doing lots more soon.

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Hobby or not hobby for the writers is debatable, but as a comment states above, most writers don't make a living from their writing. It's the same for actors and musicians and just about any creative professional. Just because it's not how you make your primary living, doesn't necessarily make it a hobby. It's certainly a profitable business for Furplanet, Sofawolf, and Rabbit Valley, so on the publishing end, certainly not a hobby.

Your generalization that all furry writing is erotica about foxes in high school is troubling, but not unexpected. That's the general perception of writing in general in the fandom and it's why I want to see more actual literary critique and informed discussion. The whole purpose of my initial post was that.

I'm not a horrible person. I'm quite friendly. I seldom meet a furry (or any other person, for that matter) I can't get along with. I respect Fred as a person, and I applaud his accomplishments. Also, his compilation of the Ursa Major stories was a great idea and well edited. I just happen to be of the strong opinion that it's time to step up writing critique in the fandom and every new 'review' I see here...well, it isn't. It isn't critique, and it isn't a review. But(and this shouldn't need to be prefaced on everything I say, but seems to need to be), it's just my opinion. It just happens to be a very strong one with me.

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While I thought you might consider giving Fred a little more credit for being fred, you didn't say anything I had any issue with. :)

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Hah, there can be only one!

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So it matters whether "Hot Dish" is intended for the general public or just for Furry readers. My comment that "Really, I respect Furry pseudonyms, but when an entire book is filled with stories by Huskyteer, Lady Chastity Chatterley, Dark End, and the like, it makes it look like everyone concerned has something to hide," is not pertinent if the book is intended just for Furry fans who are used to Fursona names. I suppose the question is: is Flayrah, for which my review was written, for the general public, or just -- only -- for Furry fans?

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Full disclosure for those who don't know me: I own FurPlanet Productions, a furry publisher.

I'm not speaking for any other publisher, but in my opinion the majority of publishers and writers in the furry fandom are writing stories for the furry community. Occassionally we publish a work which is either minimally furry or may be of appeal to mainstream audience. In those cases we sometimes use the Argyll imprint as you noted on your Summerhill review.

Other than that though, I think it's safe to say that most of our publications are aimed at the fandom and the majority of our sales are to furries.

If an author has built up a fanbase under one name in our community, it is not a good idea to market their published material under a name more "acceptable" to a mainstream audience. Niche marketing is a legitimate business practice, especially today given how flooded the publishing market is overall. I advise furry authors to not ignore the fans who have supported them up to and including publication.

Whether furry is or should appeal to the mainstream is a whole other conversation, but I would say that if furry writing becomes mainstream it will be on the merits of our storytelling and not on how mainstream appropriate our online names are.

Short version: IMO yes, you are reviewing furry books on a furry website.

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"If an author has built up a fanbase under one name in our community, it is not a good idea to market their published material under a name more "acceptable" to a mainstream audience. Niche marketing is a legitimate business practice, especially today given how flooded the publishing market is overall. I advise furry authors to not ignore the fans who have supported them up to and including publication."

This is exactly the reason I would use the name I use; aside from "this is the name I use on all my social media sites and hell it's my email account", it's also the name I've posted stories online as and published stories under. So I can't imagine why I wouldn't use it when submitting to a clearly Furry publication.

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As a practical matter, many do have something to hide, viz. their real-life identity.

Being connected to erotica (or furry fandom in general) can be used against you, to compromise your relationship with your family, your friends, or your employer. Even without that connection, having you real-life identity known can lead to attacks. This is not a theoretical issue; only last week, someone tried to get me fired. It didn't work - my employer knows of my fan activities, and found no policy violations - but for someone in different circumstances it might have.

Disclosing my real-life identity is a choice I made, in part because I am already a target and feel that showing confidence discourages such attacks. However, this is a decision that each person must make for themselves, based on their personal circumstances.

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This seems vaguely analogous to the early Bolsheviks. Under the last days of the Russian Empire, they practically all found it expedient to use pseudonyms rather than their real names, to avoid the police, but some adopted names like Lenin and Trotsky which sounded real and were disguises, while others took names like Stalin and Molotov -- steel and hammer -- that boasted of their revolutionary identities.

To relate this to fandom, there is a fan -- I won't say who -- who I considered one of my best friends in fandom for over a half-dozen years before I found out that the name he uses in fandom is not his real one. He conducts all his life in fandom under a realistic pseudonym. At the other extreme, there are fans like FuzzWolf that are boasting that these are fan names; Fursonas.

I see now that my comment about the obviousness of Fursonas in "Hot Dish" was irrelevant to the book's intended market. Mea culpa.

Fred Patten

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Thanks for having this discussion with me Fred, I appreciate your civility.

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I'm curious what their claim was. "He's a furry, there's clearly a violation of good taste"?

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Full disclosure, since I have gone on a rant, and it does need to get brought up; I originally marked Sparf as spam in a pretty big abuse of power. However, I fessed up immediately and Green Reaper put it back up (he probably could have noticed it, but I don't know if he would have). At the time it wasn't really a big thing, but I would like to point out that Sparf here is basically posting to a three month old story looking for a fight, so it's not like him and Fuzzwolf (he has a wonderful Eric Cartman impression, by the way, great party trick) can complain too much that they got one. Sorry I punch harder, but you did start it.

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I haven't really noticed a decrease in actual spam with this implementation of the spam button, in fact I've noticed an increase of it.

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Correlation does not imply causation. :-)

I enabled "mark as spam" links for contributors because there was a marked increase in spam. They aren't there for anyone else, so they can have no effect on how much is submitted to the site.

Marking a comment as spam puts it into a queue, just as if it'd hit one of our "bad word" filters. This doesn't reduce its administrative burden much - it still needs to be deleted - but it improves visitors' perception of the site. Contributors see a slightly fresher version of pages, and come by often, so they're likely to be the first to see spam. If they can hide it, all the better.

For the record, I saw and dealt with the incorrectly marked comment before I read any email about it.

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Posts flagged as spam do get reviewed by one of the site admins (and yes, there has been a lot more of it lately); any posts that we judge to be not spam will get unflagged.

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I didn't come here to start a fight. I commented here because the discussion needed to get started on the offending articles themselves rather than just looking askance from elsewhere. I'm sorry if you feel otherwise, or that I'm "a piece of shit" and "trying to make myself feel big."

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I concur that your comments were reasonably within the realm of expressing your opinion and giving feedback on Fred's review. While some of your statements were a bit provocative, I would disagree with crossie's claim that you were here to "start a fight".

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I appreciate the disclosure, by the way. It says something about you that you're willing to admit that. (Not that I am upset that you did it.)

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While I would agree with the prospect that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, nor an author by their name, my experiences is that it does have an impact if one's goal is trying to approach the mainstream.

What's in a name? Well sadly if you have a name that doesn't sound "white" in America you are less likely to be called in for an interview. Is that right? Hell no. But is it a fact? Unfortunately yes.

Think of this. Of our authors who have successfully found larger markets, what do their names have in common? Well they don't sound furry that's for sure. Phil Geusz, Kyell Gold, M.C.A. Hogarth. In fact if you look at the list in the Furry Writers Guild and compare which ones sound furry and those that don't, those that don't seem to far outnumber. It doesn't mean you can't be successful with one's furry name, just don't expect to if your name is named like a CSI furry character. Or, if your name is SexyKitty, be sure you know that you're going to be writing erotica.

So if you aren't someone who is stuck to their name, my advice would be go for one that is means something to you as a furry, but doesn't sound furry. For instance, as I'm getting into the writing business I have come up with my own using the alias I have had during my time goofing off. Sonious was one I'm known by my LJ, FA, and here. Tantroo McNally I'm known as from in more social venues. So I recently made my full name Tantroo Sonious McNally when trying to reconcile both halves. That seems pretty furry, so shorten it: T.S. McNally. There, sounds 'normal', but isn't.

However, that being said, obviously this is a book of furry erotica, and thus the furry names would not impact its potential sales... and if it did the read would be in for an odd surprise on what all these professional sounding guys are doing writing porn. Actually, that'd be hilarious.

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I don't keep a separation, myself, because I'm in a fortunate position not to need to, really.

And yeah, if you're trying to reach a larger market, the furry pseudonyms are problematic. But if that's what a writer intends they can certainly plan ahead for that and either start to use their real name some, or a real-sounding pseudonym.

I really didn't intend the pseudonym thing to become the major topic of discussion, honestly. I was more concerned with the lack of any real substance in the reviews. The pseudonym/pen name thing came up because I was really rubbed the wrong way by how disrespectful to the writers I found Fred's comment to be.

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On further review, I feel like I just got played.

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This story has gone from 0 comments to 63 comments in just 4 days. Is that some kind of new record?

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

I don't know if it's a record, but I'm sorely tempted to put the brakes on it by locking the discussion from further comments at least temporarily. We've had no less than three participants who were authors and/or publishers that are not frequent participants on Flayrah join in the discussion, and end up stating they were made to feel unwelcome with at least two of them saying they won't be sticking around. We ought to be doing more to encourage participation from those whose works are reviewed on Flayrah, yet it seems we have a very few regulars here who, if I didn't know better, I would swear are doing their best to chase them away.

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Moderating a rising 'tude level has to be tough, i hope it wouldn't make a double standard. One of those three came in with a chip on their shoulder and hated on the site before i made comments that weren't personal to anyone else. the others can just as well feel disadvantage from sheer volume of comments by people with big yaps who talk a lot (cough) :P

About the problem i caused by calling something a "hobby", it was both the wrong word to use and had a misunderstood intention because it should have stayed strictly a response to a few comments.

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I came in solely to discuss the fursona name point with Fred, which was discussed and resolved civilly and quickly.

Sparf made an interesting post which was a bit strongly worded, but I felt worthy of discussion. He was immediately flamed by a troll in a really juvenile fashion. Since said troll is one of the site's regular contributors that reflects badly on the site. Making fun of someone's name, seriously? This isn't grade school.

And both of your explanations for your behaviour has been "they started it, neener neener". Even if that were true, you have the free will to be the better man, rise above and maybe make a good impression on visitors to your community.

This is either a site for interesting articles with some thoughtful commentry or it's a tabloid with a chan-like level of discourse. Pick one and grow your audience accordingly.

My impression here is that for better or worse this community is very insular. I don't know much about you and you appear not to know much about the furry publishing world. It'd be nice to rectify that, but you'd have to be willing to dial the attitude back a bit and be more open to discussion.

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"you have the free will to be the better man, rise above"

Here is how I do that. When someone senses a problem (with me or externally), I won't do drama about how I'm taking my toys and going home. (I'm a big boy, I can take sometimes well deserved low ratings.) I work on exposing the source of the problem, even when it exposes me to backlash.

What that interview does (it's an interview, not advocacy) is puts a name and a few words on record. If/when history repeats and MTV airs something that furries don't like, you have a written statement to judge TV producers on. This should have been done 12 or so years ago when they aired that Sex2K episode. But as far as I know, we just have hearsay about it that makes furries look like drama spreaders, who attack messengers too.

See, I could complain about this site too, but it's trivial to me because I can answer people equally. And I like this site.

Wouldn't it be nice if those whose participation we're discussing worked like that? It could help you reduce your pre-formed negativity and feel more equal. IMO, this site is doing better and better because it's not heavily moderated and you can submit anything you want.

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We had written statements about what the MTV shows would be like. They were signed and everything. MTV just chose not to follow them. I don't run with the crowd behind that (or the vanity fair) article anymore, but they were told one thing and even promised one thing.. and then another thing was delivered.

So due diligence was done then. They just lied, and reminded people that contracts were private.

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"I don't run with the crowd behind that"

That's called hearsay.

I didn't have a bit of trouble getting a written statement for all to see. It just took a little initiative, and I had fun writing it up.

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No, I mean, I don't run with that crowd behind that ANY MORE.

Meaning, I don't have access to the written statements anymore.

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"That crowd" = hearsay, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearsay

Showing something would be good though... uh, 12 years ago... sorry, I don't find it very relevant, especially when nobody seems to be able to name anyone responsible besides it's director, and can't even show that it was produced by the same people or company getting hate now (I'm pretty sure it wasn't).

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Ya know what, screw it.

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Here's a funny story for ya. I have a lawyer helping me win a property battle. This weekend, I hosted 2 meets of 20+ furries each day to attend Pride weekend. Hosting exposed me to a nasty lawyer letter about "unapproved guests" (which I didn't have to respect, since nobody was doing anything wrong, it was just a stab.) So anyhow, I'm dealing with evidence and such things.

Technically, what you just posted about would seem to be a recollection that's not reliable to consider if you don't show it written down from the time it happened. Casually, no, I don't trust your 12 year old memory about someone else's contract. That kind of thing gives me a headache trying to remember it a week after I wrote it down. Don't take that as calling you wrong, it just means burden of proof is on you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recorded_recollection

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

And there's another person you've made throw up their hands in disgust and say fuck it. You also neatly combined it with a post about how awesome you are. Clearly you are a superstar here and doing a wonderful job of marketing Flayrah to new users.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Some topics don't reach agreement because they're debatable. Please stop venting spleen and talk to someone else.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

What does the MTV thing have to do with this thread, anyway?

Admin, just shut this whole post down already. The people who were actually discussing elements of the original comment are obviously done with those discussions by now, and the people left are just dredging up old grudges.

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Honestly, why bother?

The last four threads that got any traction ended up like this.

Like I said below, this site needs to decide what they want their community to be. When they do, I'll check it out.

I highly suggest something like discourse, which the peeps at BoingBoing switched to. It's done wonders for communication in just a few short days.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

"What does the MTV thing have to do with this thread, anyway? "

Same commenters. Negative attitudes, how some complain about them, and others handle them by answering people equally instead of asking to censor.

What old grudges? My story is relevant to the past few weeks (the first time I ever had anything to do with MTV vs. furries.) You can rate my story however you like. I'm using my regular profile but you aren't using one... that's not very equal to me, but please don't moderate.

You are right though, this has completely left the topic of the article and become a site meta discussion that should end soon.

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (4 votes)

I don't know if you should or shouldn't put the brakes on it, but I do know that lately this site has become very confrontational, very antagonistic, and very hurtful.

I think you need to all sit down and analyze what kind of site you want, what kind of community you want, what kind of discussions you want, and what steps need to be taken to reach those things.

Currently, you're turning into the FoxNation of commenting boards, where people are more interested in being right than fostering any discussion of value. I've been told over twitter by Greenreaper to use the voting stars to affect things, but how will that affect things other than making me feel good? I , scrolling back on this thread, see two lines of thoughts, one with multiple people, one with fewer people.. and it's clear that the one with multiple people are voting each other up while voting the other side down.. and the ones with fewer people are voting themselves up while voting the other side down.

None of this has anything to do with what that individual comment says, it's universal votes on them as people. And even so, none of the votes really do anything. There are no permissions added or removed for having a specific karma score. There are no limitations on site functionality. There is no ability to screen based on score (and even if there were, the score isn't about the value of discussion, but what people think of that person.) The voting stars are POINTLESS and do not do ANYTHING to enhance discussion here.

So think of something that DOES enhance discussion here, or lose more people over time.

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

An action that could be taken by those who wish to be rid of more more confrontation individuals is to go into their account settings (click on your own name).

STEP 1: Go to view ignored users, and then type their name in the list...
http://www.flayrah.com/ignore_user/list

I'm also not sure if that would stop emails from coming in if they post a comment on a story you do by default, so...

STEP 2: Stopping the Emails

There is also a "Comment Notification" Which you can set to "Never".

Also there is a 'Subscriptions' tab which has a list of all the email subscription you have, try taking the one for Hot Dish out.

-------

Of course this is for those reading who may stick around but want more control over the content and to take away some of the noise factor. I cannot stop those who want to leave from leaving. Getting angry at them is not going to convince them, nor anyone else watching the discussion to stay. It's an instinct I believe that's part of group think to take offense for another, or for an organization that one feels attached to. It's something that leads to pretty much any conflict you can think of.

I would say that just because someone posts a lot of articles here does not mean their word is worth more, though some seem to think it does give them some sort of privilege. The problem is if they do convince others that that is indeed the case (that more articles means you're more important to Flayrah), they are putting more responsibility on themselves, not more privileges. How one presents themselves is going to impact how people feel about their content. Like it or not. And if one's quantity of content proves they have more say on the site, more people are going to judge the site for the actions of those few individuals. Therefore the quickest way to kill Flayrah is not the ramblings of one individual, but how the content providers RESPOND to those ramblings.

This comment thread started with a criticism of Fred's article, of which Fred himself had handled the response fine. If it were left to Fred and his critics everything would have tapered off. Instead, we had two other regular contributors defend our top one as if we were some sort of street gang with "Ya' mess with one of us you mess with all of us." mentality.

Hate to break it to you guys, but that doesn't fly with a lot of people, and certainly not me.

In your blind defense of Fred you have harmed Flayrah's reputation, and not only that, with a furry publisher. That does not help Fred, in fact it does quite the opposite. If a publisher feels that Flayrah isn't the kind of forum they want their story discussed in they are certainly not going to be providing review copies to those who wish to engage in such things. That means less content for Flayrah unless they want to go out of their way and buy the book themselves, which we probably do a good deal of anyway, but you know wouldn't it be nice to be able to lower the cost of reviewing? Particularly for the very person you're spending so much energy defending.

While this comes with it's own set of debates that "well we shouldn't bow to EVERY whim of a publisher simply for the privilege of reviewing their content"; this is NOT the same issue that the gaming community had with GameStop. We don't get paid in advertising dollars from FurPlanet as Gamestop did from Kayne and Lynch's producers. You don't have to try and convince the world that "we need to prove we are not friends with the publisher, because if we are that means they'll question our ability to review things properly". Making enemies out of the publisher just to try and satiate the bloodsport of the public is not going to accomplish this, it just makes us look like jerks.

Here's the thing guys, you can't have it both ways. You can either write articles for absolutely no one and have everyone agree with it, or you can write articles for everyone and have pretty much no one agree with it and not take offense and personally when they don't, or yes--- even HOW they don't. I think the reason you were defending Fred so fervently is because that's what you'd do if someone did it to your review/article.

You're going to learn one thing really quickly: If you give critique you need to learn to take it, or you're going to come to hate your job really quick.

For anyone unfortunate enough to read through these contentious comments, you have my apologies. Even I have issue defending the actions of the staff here. While I belief in loyalty and defending others, I will never do so blindly and when their actions do not deserve it.

That being said I would give the rare agreement that the thread has devolved from its topic of discussion and should probably be locked up. It's unfortunate, I expected more from Flayrah than this, and while I do defend this site on many days, today-- and this-- is not something I defend, for to me it is not what think about Flayrah stands for, or should stand for. It's supposed to be carrots, not the throwing of the fertilizer used to grow them. That's the monkey genes in your human talking.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

On the other paw...

I have further discovered other bits of information that can also show where this conflict came from and that yes, Sparf did not come here with intentions of having a decent conversation, and have solid evidence to back this up. He did this because he was motivated to defend a friend. To do so, discredit Fred.

I will admit I did not recall the name Sparf, however I have met him. He was one of the two that was running the writing panels at the Fur the'More convention I did a report on back in April. Apparently he and the other person who run these writing panels do so at multiple conventions.

I discovered this by going to the views for this, noticing a bunch were coming from Twitter, so I looked up "Hot Dish Flayrah" and came up with these results. Only two of recent, which were both made by Sparf (Seeing his pictures on twitter I recognized the face).

There are two conversations:

1) Talks about him posting his comment here.

2) Talks about starting a book review site for furrys.

Let's talk about #2 first:
As you can see right away, someone asks "What about [Fred]?" In response he gave that we wasn't a fan of Fred's work and gave two example. This one and Will of the Alpha. The claim was that it was more synopsis then review. That's fair, but then his emotions betrayed his motive. The tweet basically called him a dusty corpse, and to be fair when I told him that wasn't proper he did apologize. Let's not dwell on the nastiness of the words, instead let's ask ourselves these questions.

"Why WERE the words so nasty?"
"What could have caused this emotion about Fred?"
"Why is he upset about the Hot Dish NOW several months later?"

These questions have probably been dwelling on those reading the back and forth with confusion, however I know the answer to them all. And yes, I'm milking the hell out of this because I spent hours of my July 4, Anthrocon-less, holiday time investigating these things. So my apologies.

The answer is quite simple, This is not about the Hot Dish review, is it?

No this is about something else. Another review done by Fred. Let's look at the date when Sparf posted about trying to create a review website... he did so on June 28th.

Now let's look at twitter feed #1... and the first response is by someone who also seems emotionally invested in Sparf's discrediting of Fred. AlforAlfor... he, by the way, was the second author who was heading the writing panel at Fur' theMore and no doubt elseware. Clearly these two are good friends, and they both don't like something Fred did... something recent.

AlforAlfor writes furry fiction, as does Sparf. His author name is Alflor Aalto... sound familiar?

How about a review on June 27th, a single day prior to the twitter feeds? http://www.flayrah.com/5042/review-streets-his-city-and-other-stories-alflor-aalto

It seems that Alfor wasn't happy with the review and was upset, a disgust he probably shared with his friends, including Sparf. I'm no fool and am understand the otter saying to "Tear [Fred] a new one" was a metaphor not a literal threat to his person (GreenReaper *Cough*)-- however it does show negative emotion that betrays the motive. Sparf was probably more willing to come forward and try and do something about it rather then just sit around. However, instead of critisizing the review that was actually bothering him he went back to other ones which were less 'review-ish' and point out the flaws in those. Also, since Sparf is known to be friends with Alfor it'd be far easier to see his reaction as biased if he criticized the review that was really the thing troubling him.

Here's the thing to writers, their friends, and their publishers... is it fair to a reviewer that if you don't like what they say about YOUR stories, YOUR FRIEND's stories, or YOUR EMPLOYEE's stories that you take passive aggressive tactics and go through their entire history and dredge up things because you're motivated by the passion of the moment? Is this kind of reaction to criticism the very thing we expect to not happen at the professional level? If at this level we are better then those internet fan clubs who go to defame others who we feel hurt the reputations of those we care deeply for, we need to show it and this does not.

So is it any wonder why this blew up as it did? You had two sides who are emotionally invested in something they care for deeply fighting to the death over it. Sparf was defending Alfor so went for Fred, CrossAffiction attacked Sparf to defend Fred, FuzzWolf protected Sparf (who have business relations) from CrossAffliction so attacked him, Patch attacked Fuzzwolf for attacking attacking CrossAffliction (who have business relations). So on and so forth, war never changes, etc. By the end it was basically Flayrah VS Writers/publishers. Two niches of furries fighting each other for what a relatively small thing.

So yes, it's tempting to shame one side or the other in this case, however don't be ashamed for doing what you felt was right at the time, just know that it was wrong after the dust settles. The reason I went for Flayrah's wrongs first is because I'm more familiar with the staff here, however I do have a tie with the writing community as well, so through that knowledge, while it took longer I discovered the behaviors on that side were pretty clouded too by the same emotions they were attacking.

Both sides clearly have regrets of these things. Now let's pick up the pieces and move forward... and for the love of crimney. Let's bring the discussion of why you felt the June 27th review was unfair TO that review, now that we know this is what this was all about. You might have been trying to protect you and your friend's reputation by using this as a proxy for your battle (as Russia and the US use the Middle East for there's...) but you look down... you cost him 500 views!

The only one to benefit after this is Hot Dish... you're welcome guys :)

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

So now if we comment here under a searchable name/profile (or God forbid, post articles), we're going to have users digging through our social media accounts and investigating our circles of friends in order to speculate at length about our possible ulterior motives?

Yeah, that really encourages participation.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

Participation is easy if you dont have a nasty agenda to hide. if you do, maybe this place is better without it? Search my profiles all you want, btw, i have no interest in digging thru yours, actually you can find me in person at ac right now and if you do i will give you lots of hugs :) i dont have any real problem with anyone here, even if we dont agree. Its a good way to be.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Your vanity in bringing every topic back to being about you even when if you read what I had wrote it clearly is not, nor ever was, is far more damaging to yourself then any twitter statement that could have ever been made in an outside source.

At least Sparf damaged his own image in the protection of another...
You're damaging the image of others in protection of yourself.

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I'm sorry, i cant understand what you're trying to say. You sound mad for some puzzling reason. I read you post about someone who came to post with a negative agenda. Someone else got mad about digging through social media accounts. I replied in support to say digging isn't the problem, the agenda was. Did something in that answer upset you?

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"Search my profiles all you want, btw,"

1. That was unnecessary, for one, I did not go "Digging" through Sparf's entire twitter feed. You're only enforcing that sense of paranoia in the anon.

2. You're making it about you and how you're somehow more perfect then Sparf because you have 'nothing to hide in YOUR feed'.

3. From my perspective you're flat out lying you have nothing to hide in your feed, because unlike Sparf's; it's protected.

I am upset that seem to be using my post as some sort of excuse for your unnecessary arguments with Fuzzwolf and others here. I ensure you, that was not my intention.

Your rating: None

Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong to go "digging" like anon called it. It was totally relevant.

Oh yeah, i forgot my feed is protected! Its all stuff that would only matter to friends, and some of it is about being slutty. But i will happily show it to you if you let me add you. That would be nice. :) or i can make it public if you really care, but it isnt all that special.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

This is hardly NSA level and all it really shows is that a friend came to the defense of another friend, I hardly see how this is 'incriminating' in any sense of the word. It was his choice to use his name, but it was also his choice to post those twitter messages. It's important that people know where conflict generates from, because it's important that it is avoided if it's unnecessary. If you're emotional over something it's best to be up front about it, and at the same time, sometimes you need to take a breath and not let your emotions cloud your judgement.

It's not like I haven't been agitated ever on my time on the internet, but if someone is speaking with anger, it's best to treat it as unimportant (if you suspect trolling), or try and figure out why the anger is there as to alleviate it. Responding in anger to anger will not solve anything.

If it does cause people to hide, then that's unfortunate, but I did reem the staff (to which despite the motives of the guest was still inappropriate behavior, and certainly was not known to them at the time) here and it'd be unfair to also present the ills on the other side as well since they are present.

I didn't have to dig through anyone social media account, as I said, I merely searched on "Hot Dish Flayrah". So that means even if Sparf was being anonymous I would have been able to find out who it was if he posted to his twitter. Him being anonymous in this case would have actually done more good than harm, as CrossAffliction would have never been able to make the comment, and FuzzWolf would not have gotten as upset over it. Perhaps one should make their twitter private if they don't want anyone searching through it (besides the NSA that is). In addition, if one's intent is nefarious, yes I think it's in their best interest to remain anonymous, and I would rather they be so as it makes things less personal.

But is it not hypocritical to get upset at me for going through Sparf's past twitter posts to look for 'flaws' after he clearly went through Fred's past reviews to look for 'flaws'? I did mine for truth, not anger, I think the otter lucky to have a friend who would go to such lengths for him, and I would be lying if I said he didn't successfully do a good deal of damage to Flayrah's reputation. So if that was the intention I guess all in all he should consider his action a success. It's too bad our staffers did not take pause and see what was going on before they too gave into emotion.

Forgiveness is what's needed here, on both sides of the isle. Not "ah-ha"-ing or vengence. There's been enough of that already.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

In the end, the otter's comments spurred me to look. Somehow the Hot Dish review came up in a DM conversation (I think), or in IMs and so that's where I looked. And then I posted here out of reactionary anger at the pseudonym remarks, rather than thinking things out.

I said one particularly awful thing on twitter that has since been deleted and apologized for there, again, out of anger, and which you successfully and rightly called me out on.

A big problem I have is not engaging when I get passionate about something and I don't always things through properly before I post. Patience is a trait that, while I have tried to cultivate, is not anywhere near at the level it should be.

I've come to a revised position since this whole thing began. There's room for reviews like Fred's. They're a valid, if brief, format. Just because it's not what I want to see doesn't mean I'm the be-all end-all of writing critique. I'm certainly not, and that's a provable fact. I want to see more reviews that are geared more like the sort of academic discussions I'm used to on other topics. And pretty much that means if I want that, I need to make it happen. I succumbed to the Internet's usual method of bitch first, bitch later, bitch some more, and then after all that, don't do a damn thing myself, or encourage and support others in doing so.

As far as I'm concerned there's nothing I need to forgive anyone for because apart from some snark by Crossaffliction which I didn't really pay any attention to, nobody really did anything to warrant me holding a grudge.

The mea culpa here is mine. Not for my ideas (I stand by the ideas I have), but for presenting them in anger and in a confrontational way that dragged friends into the fight and pulled the level of discourse lower. And for holding as invalid a style I don't agree with using, instead of going by my standard attitude of live-and-let-live. That's the hardest thing to admit, because I really try hard. But everyone stumbles, and this was a big one.

So I offer my apologies and a pledge going forward to check my attitude at the door next time I cross the Flayrah threshold.

On an unrelated note, congratulations to Fred on being one of the GoH's at Rainfurrest, and on a successful anthology release at Anthrocon.

Your rating: None

Thanks for the apology, sorry if I seemed a bit hard on you. You do good work, and your panel was good as well. I know you're passionate about writing, and frankly even if it was a bit of a rough start, it's the first time I can recall one of Fred's works being talked about to such a degree.

I do think it'd be great if people want to have discussions on the books to a larger extent to do so in the comics, or even to do their own reviews either here or on another site if they choose to. More conversation on furry writing is not a bad thing, and I'm certain Fred would love nothing more then to have it. I mean, he spends a lot of time reading them.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

You shouldn't be sorry. I should be for being confrontational when there was no need. You chose a style that fits the needs of your review and the site. I wandered in 'off the street' and started taking pot shots.

I don't know if you see the previous comment I left above but congratulations on the GoH nod from RainFurrest and I picked up What Happens Next at Anthrocon. Genuinely excited to read it. Your editorial work on the Ursa Major anthology was very good as well (while I'm offering positive comments).

Your rating: None

I try to keep all of my book reviews to about a thousand words. For anthologies and short story collections, this doesn't leave room for much more than individual plot synopses and a very brief summary review. Sorry about that.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

You shouldn't be sorry. I should be for being confrontational when there was no need. You chose a style that fits the needs of your review and the site. I wandered in 'off the street' and started taking pot shots.

I don't know if you see the previous comment I left above but congratulations on the GoH nod from RainFurrest and I picked up What Happens Next at Anthrocon. Genuinely excited to read it. Your editorial work on the Ursa Major anthology was very good as well (while I'm offering positive comments).

Your rating: None

It ended up in the thread above this one somehow.

Your rating: None

Thanks for all of the congratulations. Yes, I am glad to see so much discussion of one of my reviews. I said that I try to keep my reviews to about a thousand words; a major reason is that if I write them longer, too many people find them boring and won't read them at all. I realize that this is unfair to anthologies or collections that have many stories to cover in the same review.

As for the comment about obvious pseudonyms, that was written from the viewpoint of making the book more salable to the general public. The criticism that this is irrelevant for a book that is designed to sell to Furry fans alone is valid. I will remember it in the future.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 1.2 (6 votes)

LOL, here's something to enhance discussion here, ha ha ha ha ha..!

http://crusader-cat.livejournal.com/44435.html

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http://img.lulz.net/src/daftallancc.jpg

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"Hot Dish" [1] has won the Furry Writers' Guild's Cóyotl Award for the Best Anthropomorphic Anthology of 2013.

Fred Patten

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About the author

Fred (Fred Patten)read storiescontact (login required)

a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics