Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Fans Against Fraud email

I received this to the FWG email address last week. Haven’t looked into this issue, so I should note that by posting it here I’m not endorsing it (either personally or as president of the guild), just passing this along to see if anyone else knows anything about the situation.

The email was as follows…

Hi - here’s a story tip.

A fraud operation has been ripping off geeky fans for 10 years from Northern California. It’s grown to an international movie tour happening now. Nobody has reported this.

The Last Unicorn is the movie, from the world classic fantasy book. It also has some ties to John Steinbeck, the Lord of the Rings, the Science Fiction Writer’s Association, and a lawyer who was disbarred.

Original source info – share freely:

A different take - share to people you know:

It has some ties to “furries” - the niche community of science fiction and anthropomorphic fantasy fans. Nobody deserves to be ripped off for treating a writer like a hero.

The long pattern of harm is being repeated on a national level right now. Unless it’s exposed and people are warned, it won’t stop. Please don’t let that happen.

Please share, and talk to me if you can do something to help.

(This was then followed by a list of emails and Twitter accounts that they’d sent this email to, which I’m omitting both for privacy reasons and so as not to encourage spam to those addresses.)

I don’t know a lot about this… However, my husband did order an audio book version of The Last Unicorn to give me nearly ten years ago. I was really excited when he told me about it. However, the actual product never appeared, and he doesn’t know if he was ever charged for it. So… There’s that.

On the other hand, we went to see The Last Unicorn in a small local theater and see Peter S. Beagle last fall, and it was absolutely lovely. I got to ask Peter S. Beagle whether he’d known how The Last Unicorn would end when he started writing it. Apparently, he didn’t – which is amazing, since the end is foreshadowed in the first paragraph.

Wow, I think this Connor guy was the one who was handling sales for Peter at Anthrocon. I spoke to him for several minutes while waiting to get a book signed.

Well, if Peter Beagle is at AC again then I guess someone can ask them directly.

Interesting. I know that Patrick Rothfuss (author of The Kingkiller Chronicles, which includes Name of the Wind) was very much excited about The Last Unicorn, and took his child to see it (it happens to be one of his favorite books). I have no idea if he would even get an inkling of it being tied to any form of fraud though. If he did, I highly doubt he would even begin to endorse it considering the pattern he’s been showing with organizations like World Builders.

I’ll keep my ear to the ground. If I hear anything, I’ll let you guys know.

To be continued, thank you.

Maybe it’s because I’m reading this early in the morning before my brain has the chance to fully wake up, but I’m still confused over what’s going on and what the tour of The Last Unicorn has to do with it x.x

The title is fradulent. My Little Pony has proven there are lots of unicorns!

FYI, the following tweets were just posted to Peter S. Beagle’s Twitter account (@petersbeagle):

Peter would like me to share his thoughts regarding the Fans Against Fraud website, please read the next 3 tweets. --Chris

“This site is a ridiculous mash-up of selectively-edited misrepresentations & flat-out falsehoods. You can take my word for it.” -PSB

Customers w/ pending orders are welcome to email us: Contact@conlanpress.com which is being staffed by a dedicated customer service person.

There is nothing else here that merits response. Our focus is Peter’s actual well-being, and building his legacy.

To be continued, thank you.


I haven’t been able to find any place you’ve associated a real name to your accusations, and some of the “facts” you’re presenting seem, well… dramatized for effect. For instance, it’s not fraudulent in and of itself that “Conlan Press” does nothing but pimp Peter S. Beagle products – the Publishers Weekly article you’ve linked to says in its first paragraph that’s what the company’s purpose was at launch. You make a great deal of hay about Charles Petit being disbarred, but the records on your own web site show he was suspended for six months, not disbarred. (I realize that’s not a ringing endorsement – “C.E. Petit: not disbarred, only suspended!” – but when you’re making these kinds of accusations against a lawyer it behooves you to get the details right.)

Perhaps Chris Rickert is “drinking the Kool-Aid,” but I think it’s worth at least sharing her side here:

I have been a friend/volunteer/employee/artist working with @petersbeagle and @ConnorCochran for many years, Mike. It has been a wonderful experience. I have nothing but good to say about Connor, neither does Peter.

In case anyone needs to hear it again tonight, I have loved every minute of the work I have done with and for @ConlanPress. I have been supporting myself as an artist thanks to @ConlanPress’ selling my art via @lastunicorntour. And been paid promptly. I am friends with @petersbeagle. We talk…about everything. He has no complaints (well, he’d like beer at the signing table).

The Twitter conversation with Chris Rickert suggests you’re someone known to her. This makes it a little hard not to read a personal undercurrent to all this. Your Twitter stream doesn’t do a lot to shake that, either; it’s full of tweets at famous people trying to get them to “spread the word” or replies to people who are either saying “oh, I never got that thing that I ordered” or – in at least as high a proportion – that their experiences with Cochran aren’t all that bad.

There’s certainly a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that Conlan Press is a huge pile of fail when it comes to getting new physical products into production. They appear to be basically a one-person company sometimes pretending to be bigger, and my impression is that Cochran’s quite good at deflecting blame onto others or extenuating circumstances. (Those who remember a certain cult comic called “D’Arc Tangent” by Phil Foglio and Freff, née Cochran, will know this is not a new thing.) But understand that your “Anonymous Fan Shouts J’ACCUSE!” approach makes this whole affair come across less like someone doing a journalistic exposé and more like an obsessive with an axe to grind.

(N.B.: For the love of all that’s holy, don’t link to industry joke Write Agenda. Being on their shit list casts Mr. Petit in a good light.)

To be continued, thank you.

Can you explain the comment about the Foglio/Freff comic?

Sure. D’arc Tangent was a magazine-sized black and white comic with impeccable art and what seemed to be a really interesting storyline, published by “ffantasy ffactory,” a company that Foglio and Freff formed together to publish the thing. It was supposed to run 16 issues, but only 1 was published before the partnership dissolved amidst much finger-pointing. Foglio accused Freff of being incredibly late in producing his part of, well, everything, and I’m fairly sure I remember at the time that Foglio had other accusations about the way Freff conducted business in general, although I can’t find any documentation for that now. (This was all pre-Internet, and there’s very little on the web you can find about it now.) Freff in turn accused Foglio of kind of half-assing, well, everything, and later claimed most of issue #1 was actually his work.

Both Freff and Foglio have claimed to hold rights to continue the story at various points, but neither one ever did. My (possibly not so) wild suspicion is that legally neither one could really move forward without the other’s permission, and neither one would cross the street to piss on the other one if he was on fire.

-.- So what I’m getting based on scanning through what’s been posted thus far is that it all boils down to typical he-said/she-said drama on a grander scale, aka “Take my word for it because I say it’s true!”

I think my tolerance for bullhockey like this has been burnt through.

This is probably the most straight-forward and interesting answer I’ve seen thus far X3

He said: “You’ll get the audiobook soon.”
She said: “I paid for it literally 10 years ago.”

I think my tolerance for bullhockey like this has been burnt through.

I think you missed my point.

I’m probably wrong in this, but the impression I’ve been getting thus far is that you’re asking us to take your word on all of this, either by posting very flimsy or no evidence. If there’s only one thing Wiki has taught us, it’s that the only ‘facts’ worth believing are those we cross-reference ourselves, and you’re leaving us very little opportunity to do that.

The fact that you seem to completely misunderstand something as simple as what suspending a lawyer really means does very little to give you credit in the long run, anyway (https://lawyerist.com/66859/what-does-suspension-really-mean/). So you’ll excuse me if I find it difficult to believe you’d have an understanding of even more intricate topics.

I leave the rest of the conversation for others to follow-up on. Thank you for your time and have a good day.

It is very possible for companies to lose orders too. It happens all the time.

Can’t tell you how many times it’s happened on woot. And most of those times it’s Fed-Ex or UPS’s fault >.>

The last time I looked into this, the product that my husband ordered simply never finished being created. So… Personally, I decided not to order stuff from Peter S. Beagle’s site again a long time ago.

Curious, was anything ever said about life circumstances getting in the way? Did you ever pursue it for a refund?

I know I had to back out of a few commissions I was paid for, though I did my best to make it clear why and to offer refunds x.x