Cover Reveal for Mary Fan

 

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25643956-firedragon-rising

Publisher: Glass House Press

Sinister plots. An underground rebellion. And a treacherous road filled with monsters and enemies unknown.

It’s been three months since Aurelia survived the International Challenge—an elite monster-fighting competition. And the Triumvirate has been keeping a close eye on her ever since … as if they expect her to cause them more trouble.

They’re right.

Now that she knows about the underground revolution—and the dark secrets of her own past—Aurelia is hell-bent on escaping the government’s watchful gaze and joining the rebels. Finally, she’s found a cause worth fighting for. A way for her kind, the Norms, to take back their freedom.

Then, when she overhears a Triumvirate official’s conversation, she learns that it’s even worse than she realized. The government knows about the rebels, and the rebellion. They’re searching for people who sympathize with the cause. And they’re coming after her next.

Suddenly the time for dreaming about the rebellion is over. Aurelia must make contact with the rebels and plot a quick escape … before the Triumvirate has a chance to capture her. But government forces and miles of monster-filled wilderness stand between her and the rebel headquarters, and dangers she never imagined lurk in the shadows.

Before she can fight for the freedom of her people, she must achieve her own—or die trying.

 

About Mary Fan

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil. Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil follows a well-received debut novel, a space opera titled Artificial Absolutes (2013), and is the first in the Flynn Nightsider series. Mary would like to think that there are many other novels in her bag, and hopes to prove that to the world as well.

Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.

Website Facebook Twitter

Thinking about Mars

I found an interesting article in which sci-fi writers give their opinions about the future of human colonization of Mars.  Here’s a link.  I’d encourage you to take a few moments to check it out.

http://news.yahoo.com/why-colonize-mars-sci-fi-authors-weigh-154238503.html

It got me thinking… with the looming publication of my story in the Brave New Girls anthology, I guess I can claim to be a sci-fi writer too.  So here are my thoughts.

We’re already on Mars.  We’ve been there for over ten years via the use of robotic proxies controlled here on Earth.  This has really happened.  Mankind has literally placed the footprint of its intelligence on a whole other world.  Yet no one seems to care.  Why is that?

The answer: because it’s not accessible to us.  We don’t get to control the Mars rover, so why should we ever give it a second thought?  It’s not featured on primetime TV or the subject of the latest pop 100 hit.  For most of us, it simply isn’t an active part of our daily lives.  To the average person, myself included, real space exploration feels too much like a genius only club.  Sure, we all like a good sci-fi story or film.  But when it comes to the real deal, the hard won discoveries that actually get us there, we shy away.  We assume it’s over our heads and don’t even bother with it.  We need to do better than that.  Sure, we can’t all have a PhD in astrophysics or a Master’s in Engineering from MIT.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t get involved in some fundamental way.  It all comes down to accessibility.

In 1986, we came close.  We decided to send a civilian into space for the first time, a teacher, who was planning to come home and travel the country, speaking to school children and inspiring a new generation of possibilities.  For one brief, shiny moment – space was within reach of the common person.  But it wasn’t meant to be.

The tragedy of the Challenger explosion plunged us into a deep hole that we’re just now starting to crawl our way out of.  I’m not saying that we should rush into sending untrained civilians into harm’s way anytime soon, but we should be doing more to get people interested, at least a little.

Let’s face it, progress starts and stops with the pocketbook.  It always has.  The old adage, you get what you pay for, is as true here as it is with anything else.  Space exploration is expensive, and – at least for now – there’s no money to be made in space.  If there were, I guarantee we’d have boots on the ground on Mars within a few years.

But with no dollars to be had, we have to create a new currency.

The currency of inspiration.

We have to care.  We have to want to learn more.  We need to be given the secret knock to the clubhouse door.

 

11051216_827063833998200_5024608705083471531_n Helen Art

To learn more about the Brave New Girls project, please visit http://bravenewgirls.weebly.com/

Why I left adult fiction to write for young audiences

Broken Clock # 1 The Red Bag #2 Widowfield #3

I used to write adult fiction. Now I write for young audiences.

So why the change? The answer is simple. And complicated.

Let’s look at the simple explanation first. I’ve always had an active imagination. Some of my earliest memories reflect this. When I was little, I’d tuck rolled-up socks into my arm sleeves to simulate muscles, tie a pillowcase around my neck, and run around the house like Superman all day long. I would play with my action figures intensely for hours, pretending they were real-life beings engaged in epic adventures rather than inanimate pieces of plastic splayed out on the living room carpet. And I practically lived for the movies, counting down the minutes until I was once again led into that dark theater, where I could watch all manner of amazing things play out on that massive screen: a boy flying his bike across the moonlight carrying an alien in its basket, a man in a fedora being dragged through the dirt behind a moving truck while holding onto his trusty whip, a large space ship warping through the cosmos with a crew of intrepid explorers in tow…

These were the things that fired up my imagination and set me on the path that I’m still on today. So when it comes time for me to tell my own stories, it’s only natural that I gravitate back to those very same themes, to try and tap into those moments from my own youth—the ones that inspired my first sparks of creativity. After all, when it’s all said and done, that little kid with the sock muscles and pillow case cape has never really gone away.

So the real question is: Why haven’t I been writing for young audiences all along?

That’s where things get more complicated.

Aside from comic books, I wasn’t a big reader when I was little. You have to remember, this was in the days long before the Harry Potters and Percy Jacksons set the young-reader world on fire. We had chapter books for my age group, but they didn’t seem to be about things that excited me. As such, the reading bug didn’t bite me until I was about fifteen. And when it did, it bit hard, with adult fiction teeth. Stephen King. Dean Koontz. Robert McCammon. Horror. Thriller. Once I was old enough to appreciate those names and genres, I was hooked. That’s when I decided to finally lock the toys and pillowcase capes into a mental chest and tuck it safely away in the recesses of my mind.

From there, my first teenage attempts at the written word were mostly short efforts designed to emulate these new literary muses I’d found. It wasn’t until I got into my twenties that I started to take my writing aspirations somewhat seriously. By now, I’d discovered a brand new crop of authors to inspire me. At the same time, I began to study Criminal Justice and writing in college. The plan was to somehow combine the two. I saw myself crafting tight tales of crime and suspense in the vein of all these cool new thriller authors that I was having a hoot reading. Makes sense, right? Well…

Despite the time constraints of school, then graduation, and—eventually—a day job, I still found time to write. Not much came out of these early efforts. But that was okay. I was learning.

By my mid-twenties, my ideas had finally begun to gel into something that resembled a literary path. I penned what I considered to be a nifty little crime tale that I felt was worthy of at least a limited audience’s attention. It was no masterpiece, and not without its flaws, but the experience of both writing it and getting an audience’s reaction to it was enjoyable. This led to crime book number two—a somewhat improved effort … better suspense, better character motivation, better twist at the end. By book three, I was ready to pull out all the stops. The result was my best story yet, a wild thriller full of danger, suspense, and intrigue. Dark and brooding, it deals with some pretty intense themes—fear, regret, redemption.

By the time I was done with it, I felt emotionally and creatively drained. I’d just spent the better part of a decade writing what turned out to be a loose trilogy of very serious, very grown-up books. I was happy with what I’d created, but I began to wonder: Was this really for me? I knew that I had to keep on writing, but I felt like I was walking through the middle of a dark forest with no end in sight. To write another book in this vein would mean that I’d have to continue on that path for the foreseeable future. I didn’t want that.

I was tired of the darkness and ready to step out into the light. But how could I do it?

By now, I was in my thirties and seriously trying to re-evaluate what I wanted out of this whole writing thing. Then I remembered…

That little mental chest was still tucked away in the back of my mind, just waiting to be opened once again. So I dug it out, popped the latch, lifted the lid, and peered inside. What I found was astounding. All those toys, all those movies, all those hours of playing sock-muscle Superman and countless other games had congealed into an intense, bright ball of creative energy just ripe for the plucking. I knew right away that this was where my imagination belonged. This was the voice I wanted to share. This was the audience I needed to write for.

So I set a firm foot on this new path, started walking, and never looked back.

It was the best decision I ever made.

Do I regret the time I spent writing adult fiction? Not achance. I’m still proud of those stories. They were the right thing for me at the time, and I learned a lot from the process. Sometimes you have to try several things before you discover what it is you really want. Some people know right away. Others need a decade or two to figure it out. It’s okay. The important thing is to keep on going until you finally find your way.

I did.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.

My TREK to the Wizard World Comic Con

To defend my geek credit, today I will blog about my recent journey to the Wizard World Comic Con held this year in Cleveland, Ohio.  Okay, I’m pretty sure my geek cred needs no defense.  But I digress.

IMG_0646

First of all, this is February in Northeast Ohio, which means that travel conditions are iffy at best.  But neither howling winds nor blowing snow can stop this intrepid geek from white-knuckling his way to star struck glory.

IMG_0611   IMG_0610

Apparently, it can’t stop twenty thousand other people either.  This was by far the most crowded con I’ve ever been to.  PS.  If you can spot Waldo I’ll give you a cookie.

IMG_0649

How it works.  You walk in to a grid of vendor booths hawking everything from action figures and games to Nintendo cartridges converted into drinking flasks.  (no kidding)

As you make your way toward the back, you’ll find the signing booths where you can pay 40 + dollars to get a celebrity’s autograph.  Or you can just walk by and snap a quick photo for free.

IMG_0624

Look!  It’s Hershel from The Walking Dead!

Some booths have content creators who you can just walk up and talk to.  I was super stoked to meet John A. Russo, who co-wrote the original script for the classic film Night of the Living Dead.  Here’s a picture of the back of my head as I’m buying a copy of his graphic novel Escape of the Living Dead, which he signed for me.  Score!

IMG_0620 IMG_0148 IMG_0147

But this was only the beginning.  When Gail and I set out on this little journey, we had a very specific mission in mind.  GET OUR PHOTO TAKEN WITH BRUCE CAMPBELL.  That’s right, Ash himself was there and for a modest fee you could get your picture taken with him!

How this works.  You purchase your ticket in advance online and bring a printed voucher with you.  Once you’re there, you take the voucher up to a sign-in station and they give you a card which acts as your photo-op ticket.  They then give you a time when you’re to return and get in line, usually about a half an hour before the celebrity is ready to begin taking photos.

So we returned at the allotted time and got in line.  Up ahead was a booth covered by curtains.  This is where the photo will be taken.  You can’t see anything until it’s your time to go in.  Once the photo-op begins, you’re ushered in one by one, given about five seconds to say hi and snap a quick photo, and then you’re ushered out to make way for the next person in line.  All in all, you only have to wait in line for about a half an hour, pretty good considering the amount of people there.

So we did just that.

We took our voucher to the sign-in station, got our card, and waited for our five-seconds of screen time with the man himself.

And he didn’t disappoint.

While you’re waiting, you can’t see anything.  But when it’s your time to be ushered in…

Bam!  There we were with the one and only Sam Axe.

Like I said, it was brief but awesome.

They had us stand next to him and he said, “We’re going to pose like we’ve known each other a long time.”  Then snap.

img002

We got the Bruce Campbell chin pose.

Love it.

Afterwards, we picked up our printed photo and continued to walk the con.  By now, the crowds were really kicking into high gear.  All around, people dressed as fantasy and comic characters came and went.

IMG_0134

Look!  It’s Batman, the Joker, and Harley Quinn!

Take my advice. Wear comfortable shoes.  You’re on your feet a lot and there aren’t too many places to sit down.  Here’s us taking a brief siesta on a floor against a wall.

IMG_0631

We had a lot of fun.  We found some cool swag, saw some cool people…

IMG_0638

Look! It’s Adrian Paul from Highlander!

But we couldn’t let it rest at that.

Like I said, this was our TREK to Wizard Con.

And our trek would not be complete unless we got a photo of us with the Captain himself.  So we repeated the same process as we’d done with Bruce Campbell.   We took our voucher to the photo-op station.  We got our ticket.  We stood in line.  Waited patiently.  And finally, we were ushered into the curtain-covered booth, where….

img003

We had our picture taken with the one and only, William Shatner!

Ah, what a day!  Geek cred is fully secured.

With the crowds super bulging and our mission to get photos with Bruce Campbell and William Shatner complete, we decided it was time to hit the snow-covered trail for home.

But before going, we had to stop at one more booth.

img004

Why not cap the day off with one more snapshot?  This one’s of Gail with the Incredible Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno.

There’s only one thing I can say about that.

Excelsior!

New Teaser Card

I’m deep in revisions for the first Phoenix Saga novella, Legend of the Phoenix, so this week’s blog post will be a short one.

Today, I thought I’d reveal another of my handy dandy teaser cards.  This one features the Gryphons, who will be the main enemy force in the series.  They’re led by the cunning and charismatic, Lord Talons.  They’re fierce, deadly, and highly motivated.  I can’t wait to show them to you.

Enjoy!

Gryphon Card

Creating a comfortable work environment

If you’re like me, you need a comfortable work environment in order to help put yourself in a creative frame of mind and maximize your productivity. Whether you enjoy typing away in a crowded Starbucks or sequestering yourself in the deepest Hobbit hole you can find, your workspace is a key ingredient to word count success.

Let’s take a look at my own personal go to spot for example.

DSCN0125

Personally, I prefer a small out of the way place free of distractions like TVs and telephones. Therefore, we have a room in the house designated The Office, which acts as a catch-all for random Target purchases as well as the many crazy ideas floating around in my head.

I also like to decorate the joint with random items that help spark my imagination and get the creative wheels turning. Let’s take a look at a few, shall we…

Hitchcock Movie Posters

DSCN0133

You may be thinking: Wait a minute. Hitchcock movie posters? Isn’t this guy working on a fantasy adventure series? It’s true. The Phoenix Saga is a fantasy series. But I also really enjoy classic film. Creativity is creativity. I draw inspiration from many sources, and for my money, you can’t do much better than the master of suspense.

X-Files Cross Stitch

DSCN0128

This bad boy hangs on the wall directly behind my desk chair (courtesy of Mrs. Ebey’s mad stitching skills). What better thing to have at your back when you’re trying to channel the muse than a threaded Mulder and Scully?

To my left

DSCN0129

On the wall directly to my left, I have a corkboard that I like to adorn with things related to whatever it is I’m working on. Here were see pictures that represent (at least in my mind) various Phoenix Saga characters and settings. Whenever I get stuck, these pinned-up cutouts always help motivate me forward.

When all else fails

DSCN0132

Chuck Norris to the rescue! My early love of toys and action figures taught me how to appreciate characters and use my imagination to bring them to life. Though I don’t necessarily play with them as I once did in my childhood (okay, maybe just a little), leaving space on my desk for Chuck Norris to fight an Alien on a tiny Zen garden doesn’t hurt.

So what do you think? Is a comfortable work environment important? Do you use any special imagery or rituals to help get you in the creative mood? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Blog of the Phoenix Begins…

Greetings!

I’d like to start off by thanking you for taking the time to check out the first of what I hope to be many blog entries to come.

A little about what I’m working on now.

My forthcoming series, The Phoenix Saga, is currently in development with the first book due to be released soon by Glass House Press. The stories are set in a fantasy world that features a vast collection of mythical creatures pulled from numerous cultures throughout history. As you may have gathered from the title, the series focus heavily on the legend of the Phoenix.

Also in the way of news, I’m very excited to have a new short story accepted in the upcoming Brave New Girls anthology. This will be a collection of sci-fi stories from several established and up-and-coming authors featuring girls in tech-savvy roles.   All proceeds will be going into a scholarship fund for girls interested in a future in STEM. (I’ll have more on this in future posts).

I’m very excited to be working on these projects and I look forward to reporting more on them soon.

As for this blog, I’d like it to be a forum to talk about all things associated with fantasy and science fiction, as well as discuss the ins and outs of publishing and storytelling in general. I encourage you to please leave comments if you can. I love to discuss the world of genre fiction and I’d very much like to hear from you.

Well, that’s about it for now. Again, thank you for taking the time to stop by and happy reading!