The Goat wins 2016 Cóyotl Award for Best Novella

The sixth annual Cóyotl Awards Ceremony was held this Saturday evening at Furlandia in Portland, Oregon. The awards seek to uplift works of furry literature and give the best of the year a chance to shine and perhaps get more public recognition.

Unlike its Furry cousin, the Ursa Major Awards, Cóyotl Awards are not open to public voting. The Cóyotl Award winners are the recommended, nominated, and ultimately selected by the members of the Furry Writers Guild.

Mind you, being nominated for the first 2001 Ursa Marjor awards was a huge boost to my ego. Never mind that I didn’t win; I wrote a Transformation story that made furries happy. To get a nod for that, made me feel that I had I succeeded in making a furry name for myself.

I was poised for bigger things. Until depression hit and I ran away from the fandom. My “hiding under the bed” years, I call that. Then the cure for depression that sucked away the ease of writing… the manic drive to stampede out a story on a keyboard… gosh, it took my a few more years to realize that I could still tell stories worth telling. Even if, you know, it was actually more like now.

I mention all this because the writer that I am now, isn’t quite the author of this novella. The Goat was actually written before I hid under the bed, so the Horse that won the Coyotl is actually the keyboard pounding obsessive from before finding meds that work. I don’t want to make this a self-deprecating post. I am honored to be nominated and to win… OMG, to be selected by my peers for this honor is almost overwhelming.

It’s just that I want to say this because Imposter Syndrome is going to start slipping in soon and then I’ll have to watch out for signs of depression. Every high has its crash, I’ve learned.

I am not the Horse that wrote this story. I am merely standing on his shoulders. Just as I stood on the shoulders of my Furry-Lit and TSA-Talk fellow writers, I have climbed up on and have been uplifted by Phil Guesz and all the other members of the Furry Writers Guild. Fred Pattern and FurPlanet lifted me up further and they reminded me that I had a gift to give to people. Ahmar Wolf and Thurston Howl were so nice and encouraging that I secretly suspected their sanity.

But not as much as I worried about Weasel who accepted The Goat unsolicited after only, I think, four days. When I said that I wasn’t happy with the first few pages, he responded with something like the text equivalent of scratching his head and asked, “What don’t you like about it?”

I read the acceptance letter so many times, the pixels on the email began to fade. I could not believe it, for a long time.

The younger, hyper Horse expected everything to be easy. This older and wiser horse, not so much.

I am grateful beyond words to find myself surrounded by people who lift me up, and it’s not false modesty that made me think that I wouldn’t win. The Goat’s not a book for everyone… its the story of abuse and magic. In an age with sensitivity readers, I didn’t even think I’d find a publisher in 2016, much less win an award. A furry book with very few furry characters that explored bi-erasure (before I even knew it was a thing) and doesn’t have a happy ending wasn’t a good bet to begin with.

Plus, Kyell Gold… I was competing with Kyell Gold for best novella.

That’s like finding yourself in a footrace with Usain Bolt. You do your best and just be grateful to be sharing the field with an Olympian. Be content in getting a good view of his ass as he trots by you, you know?

So… I’m shocked to have won.

Thank you to everyone. Everything good that I have, I have because other people helped me along the way. Writing is a lonely business and this acknowledgement by my peers certainly reminds me that I am not alone.