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Review: 'Mindtouch' ('The Dreamhealers' Volume 1) by M.C.A. Hogarth (by Greyflank)

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

MindtouchM.C.A. Hogarth is a writer who belongs to the Furry Writers' Guild, something I've been involved with these last few months since crawling out from under my bed after hiding there for a few years. I went looking for a few good books about furries with LBQT+ relationships for a future BookCrossing bookbox, because I like to share furriness with my friends.

I wanted to buy a few books from Amazon for the free shipping; something I hardly ever do. I figured I should get to know my fellow writers better, and while this didn't seem like the kind of book I was looking for for, I liked the idea of two different types of ESPers co-mingling, both aliens on an alien world (not to mention, college kids ... education is sexy, am I right?).

I have to admit to being daunted by the size of the book. Four hundred plus pages. I wanted a writing sample, not a bible. I have over a hundred unread books in my queue! Did I really want to push most of those back in order to relate better to a name in a chat room? And it was book one of two. Who writes duologies, anyway?

Studio MCAH, July 2013, trade paperback $16.99 ([3 +] 408 [+ 7] pages), Kindle $5.99.

See also: Fred's review of Mindtouch.

Be Wary of Wishes

One day, a washer-woman encountered a talking fox, who begged her to hide him from a trio of hunters. She did, concealing him in her laundry basket. Of course, this simply made him fall in love with her. Now he wished that she would love him back… and she wished he were a human instead of a fox. So begins the dark fable Outfoxed, written and illustrated by Dylan Meconis. In 2012 Outfoxed was nominated for Best Digital Comic at the Eisner Awards. Now it’s finally available on dead trees thanks to the folks over at Toonhound Studios. You can also check it out over at the author’s web site.

image c. 2015 by Dylan Meconis

image c. 2015 by Dylan Meconis

One Very Mixed-Up World

Writer and artist Ian Jay refers to his on-line black & white comic Crossed Wires as an “anthro cyberpunk hacker romance action” story.  We’d be hard-pressed to find a better description! Visit his official Crossed Wires page to see what he means. While you’re at it, take a look at his on-line store. There you will find (among other things) collections of Ian’s previous anthropomorphic comics, including Epiphany and Megahertz.

image c. 2015 by Ian Jay

image c. 2015 by Ian Jay

Furries share worries about pay-dating fraud: spotlight on FurFling.com

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (24 votes)

A Flayrah exclusive investigation for Furry public interest
Pounced
Josh is a 22-year old single wolf looking for a mate on Pounced.org. He describes himself as "friendly, honest, caring, and fun." He warns other hopeful romantics about another dating site, that he says overcharged him after he canceled service: "Save your money, and avoid frustration."

FurFling.com will turn one year old in late 2013. After nine months of activity, it boasts 21,000 users in posts to Twitter- an amount called into question by evidence later in this article. It's by no means the first dating site that targets furries. Others, like Pounced (established in 2003) offer free service by and for fans. But FurFling differs by bringing new methods to entice payments, usually seen on commercial sites like Adult Friend Finder that attract allegations of fraud.

Review: 'Unico', by Osamu Tezuka

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Unico (paperback)Unico, the talking baby unicorn, was the last major character created by Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989). He was inspired to design an adorably cute character by Sanrio Ltd, the merchandiser of girl’s products, in 1976. Sanrio had just created “Hello Kitty” in 1974 as an idol to sell handbags, earrings, etc. to young girls. Unico was to be a companion to appear in serialized adventures in Lyrica, Sanrio’s monthly girl’s manga magazine, as well as a series of animated theatrical features that Sanrio was planning at the time. Even minor Tezuka is worth reading, and Unico is full of the magic and color of the world of the imagination, with enough talking animals to please any Furry fan.

Unico was conceived in the U.S.; Tezuka was visiting Sanrio’s Los Angeles animation studio in 1976, where the animated feature Metamorphoses (Hoshi no Orufeusu) was in production. Metamorphoses was designed to look “cute” (if you never heard of it, it’s because the feature bombed so badly that it was pulled from theaters one day after its release), and Tezuka was inspired to draw a cute baby unicorn. Sanrio was planning to publish Lyrica, and the company quickly commissioned him to write and draw Unico’s adventures for serialization. This became a typical example of Tezuka’s prolific output; Unico appeared in chapters of over 30 pages per monthly issue for most issues of Lyrica, from its first issue in November 1976 to its final issue in March 1979.

Digital Manga Publishing, April 2013, trade paperback $34.95 (410 pages; on Overstock).

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.

Monsters in Love

Here’s the first set of new discoveries we’ve made this year at WonderCon in Anaheim, California.

Christopher Lee (no, not that one) is a graduate from the California State University at Sacramento who majored in graphic design. After working for graphic magazines, toy companies, and special effects studios, he made the bold choice to go solo as a graphic-designer-for-hire. To that end he has created a series of prints, t-shirts, and other items which he sells on his web site, www.thebeastisback.com. Among the items he’s created is Kaiju Romance, “Twenty two of your favorite giant monsters from the Gamera and Godzilla franchises falling in love in unexpected ways.” Each of these 5 x 5″ cards was hand-finished, making each one unique, and they’re available now as a set.


image c. 2013 Christopher Lee

Animation: 'I Have Your Heart'

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

The Cartoon Brew has posted a new animated music video, “I Have Your Heart”, about a forbidden romance between a human girl and an anthropomorphic cat-man lover.

The 4’25” video is apparently not produced by an animation studio, but by three people; New York cartoonist/paper cutout artist Molly Crabapple, music composer Kim Boekbinder, and Melbourne stop-motion animator Jim Batt (and a small staff); it raised $17,280 on Kickstarter.

Review: The 'Kitty Norville' series, by Carrie Vaughn

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Kitty Norville and the Midnight HourThe paranormal romance genre has exploded since 2005. During the past three years practically every mass-market publisher has started one or more annual series with titles like Undead and Unwed; Tall, Dark & Dead; Bitten & Smitten; Love Bites; Sex and the Single Vampire; and How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire.

However, as you may guess from these titles, 90% of the paranormal romance series feature sexy vampire chicks. Others are about young witches or hunters of (handsome) demons. One of the few about werewolves and other shapeshifters is Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series. This is also one of the earliest, going back to Vaughn’s first short story, “Dr. Kitty Solves All Your Love Problems”, in Weird Tales #324, Summer 2001 (integrated into Chapter 5 of Kitty and The Midnight Hour).

Kitty Norville starts out as a mid-twenties, blonde late-night DJ at radio station KNOB in Denver. (Vaughn lives in Boulder.) One night she starts chatting about a tabloid’s improbable stories about Bat Boy, and invites her listeners to call in if they have ever seen him. For the next few hours she gets callers who talk about vampires and werewolves; enough callers that the station manager reassigns her as a talk show hostess of a new weekly program, “The Midnight Hour”, offering frank advice to those who have problems because of their hidden vampire or werewolf lifestyles.

“Kitty and The Midnight Hour”, November 2005, paperback $7.99 (ix + 272 pages); Kindle $7.99.
“Kitty Goes to Washington”, July 2006, paperback $6.99 (x + 342 pages); Kindle $6.99.
“Kitty Takes a Holiday”, April 2007, paperback $6.99 (318 pages); Kindle $6.99.
“Kitty and the Silver Bullet”, January 2008, paperback $6.99 (approx. 352 pages); Kindle $6.99.
All by Carrie Vaughn, published by Warner Books of NYC.

Talking Animals Animation Studio makes 'Flamingo Pride'

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

There has been an animation studio in Berlin since 2009 called Talking Animals Animation Studio. Why didn’t someone in Furry fandom think of that?

Not all of its short films feature talking animals, but the 6-minute 2-seconds “Flamingo Pride”, directed by Israeli animator Tomer Eshed, certainly does. See its trailer on Vimeo.

'Koochie Koochie Hota Hai' postponed again to July 2013

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Koochie Koochie Hota HaiOneIndia Entertainment, “India’s #1 Language Portal”, reports that the long-delayed Hindi-language Koochie Koochie Hota Hai feature, supposedly completed in 2009 or 2010 but release-delayed (because of poor box-offices in India for Indian-made animated features) until December 10, 2012, has been postponed again until July 2013.

The feature, a CGI-animated funny-animal remake of the hugely popular 1998 Hindi live-action Bollywood feature Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, is an anthropomorphic sci-fi (time travel) romantic comedy-drama with lots of singing & dancing. See Flayrah's April story for more details, or watch the English-language trailer.

Review: 'Jazmyn', by Bernard Doove

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Jazmyn, by Bernard DooveJazmyn, a bioengineered vulpeen (fox-woman) Companion in a parallel world, is fleeing into the forest after the murder of her human lifemate when a lighting flash enables her to stumble into our world. She is glancingly struck by the car of Ken Morita, who nurses her back to health, teaches her English, falls in love with her, and they get married and live happily ever after.

The End.

No, seriously. There are plenty of interesting and well-written details between page 7 and page 214, but that is the basic story. You can hardly imagine a more pure Furry wish-fulfillment novel: a beautiful, caring, talented human-sized fox-morph comes to our world, falls in love with [you], and they get married.

CreateSpace, April 2009, trade paperback $16.95 (215 pages; illustrated).

Review: 'The Silver Circle', by Kyell Gold

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Silver Circle cover art by KamuiKyell Gold wrote The Silver Circle as his first entry into the paranormal romance genre. As such, it is not a category-anthropomorphic novel as much as a category-werewolf novel, or a category-transformation novel. But it is Furry enough to please most anthro fans.

Valerie Creighton, a mid-level career businesswoman in her mid-thirties, has just had a mini-nervous breakdown. She is recently divorced from her husband who never did support her; she is trapped at a large corporation where she watches men all rise to executive positions above her; and when one more big account is handed to somebody else (male), she blows up at a company conference and rants until she gets a nosebleed. Martin, her supervisor who, despite not promoting her, clearly does not want to lose her, suggests that she take two weeks leave to relax, and even offers to let her use his vacation cabin at Lake Wahya.

Val, who is taking her maiden name of Michaels back, arrives at the lakeside grocery store just in time to encounter two unusual men; a taciturn older man with a thick Eastern European accent and a silver ring on his middle left finger, and a handsome man about her own age whom the storekeeper clearly does not trust. The next day, kayaking out to a little island in the midst of the lake, she finds the just-killed body of the older man with his throat torn out, and the other man dying with two silver-headed arrows in him.

This is a mature content book. Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region. (publisher’s advisory)

FurPlanet Productions, June 2012, trade paperback $11.95 (vii + 141 pages), Kindle $4.99.

Interview: Kyell Gold discusses 'Green Fairy'

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (6 votes)

Isiah sits down with Kyell Gold to discuss his latest novel, recently reviewed by Fred Patten.
Isiah's comments and questions are not to be taken seriously.

Isiah Jacobs: Welcome back to the show, Kyell! It's nice to have you back!
Green Fairy; cover by Rukis
Kyell Gold: It's a pleasure to be back!

Isiah Jacobs: So, your first publication for the year was back in March, with the release of Green Fairy. I assume it's a story about a gay environmentalist?

Kyell Gold: That's an excellent guess, but most people think about absinthe first, especially with the theme of FWA being "Moulin Rouge".

Isiah Jacobs: In fact, half of Green Fairy takes place at the Rouge.

Kyell Gold: A little less than half, but yes.

Isiah Jacobs: But your story and the convention wasn't the only things with the Rouge-like themes. Rukis also came out with Red Lantern AND both your story and hers were released at FWA. So that's triple the dose of Moulin Rouge, AND you were both guests of honor. Was all of this planned?

Video review: 'The Silver Circle', by Kyell Gold

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

Isiah reviews The Silver Circle by Kyell Gold, after his recent interview.