Sunday, November 17, 2019


Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?

I thought I wanted to be a novelist, but after several false starts and abandoned projects, I decided to switch to short stories. My first fiction (Don't Look) was published in 2010, and I've been writing and submitting speculative fiction ever since.

What got you into writing?

Books. I'm reader who goes through books like a kid binging Halloween candy. And I think it's natural that at some point, after reading hundreds, thousands, of stories, you say, "I could do that." It took me awhile to actually attempt it and then a ton of tries until someone bought something I wrote.

What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?

I first imagined a flash length story about a human boy who kept getting mistaken as fae. So my initial idea eventually became the title of this much longer tale—The Boy Who Was Mistaken for a Fairy King—but I knew the story's length was going to be much longer than I planned the moment I wrote the first paragraph.

Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe them?

I love them all, but if I had a favorite it'd be the narrator. The hidden teller of the tale. Who isn't in the story, but tends to insert themself in the narrative and becomes less and less objective as the story progresses.

What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?

This is a hard one. But there are a series of scenes where Carl, a perfectly normal human boy (except for the antlers on top of his head), is greeted by some not-so-human creatures with some strange requests and yet he's pretty relaxed about the whole preternatural world existing alongside his and happy to be of help. In these odd meetings, Carl is just Carl. He's like, I have antlers, you're a tree in the shape of a man, why wouldn't we have a cordial conversation? And it never, not once, occurs to Carl at any point that the reasons all these fae beings approach him is because of his antlers. He assumes it's because he's a good listener.

“Hello,” Carl said as he took in his visitor’s appearance. Although, as with the troll, he wasn’t sure his first impression of ‘man’ was correct. The man was slender but solid, his build burly. Bones bowed under his skin like weighted branches. His multi-colored hair was prickly as a crew cut. As he approached, Carl realized the bristles weren’t strands of hair, but pine needles in shades of orange and green, representing all stages and hues of a pine needle’s life, from new growth to forest floor, and that his skin was scalloped like a pine cone’s seed scales, which, up close, made his flesh seem shattered.

“Greetings,” the pine man said and his voice echoed with silence the way all pines did. For Carl, who had heard trees talk all his life, it convinced him the stranger was not a man, but a tree in humanesque form, which he hadn’t realized they had. He wasn’t sure if this was a trick of his pine or all pines.

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

The first bit. First line, first paragraph, first page—the part where I go from idea to words. The part where it starts to get real. Or as real as fiction gets.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

There is a lot of winging it involved. The Boy Who Was Mistaken for a Fairy King took me about six months to draft. I haven't ever thought about describing my writing process before, other than, I sit down and type out words. But it goes something like: get idea; think about idea; make up some characters with traits that make idea work; have fake interactions between characters in my head; figure out how to make all those interactions into a story; maybe scribble down some ideas for scenes or dialogue on scraps of paper and forget about them; brainstorm titles — I can't start a project without a title (Boy, With Antlers, was the initial title for this project); stare at a blank Word doc; spend more brain time germinating words until I get a first sentence good enough to type out. That first sentence gives me the style and mood of the story, and, once I have the first bit, I know the rest of it will eventually work. Sometimes it takes longer to figure out how it's going to work. If I get stuck, I spend more time writing sentences in my head or making up more scenes until I come across something that will work.

What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?

I tend to hover under the umbrella of speculative fiction—science fiction, fantasy, horror…  I like making things up, imaging things that aren't real but could be.

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

All of them. Every book and every author I've ever read—which is a lot. I piece together patterns I've seen elsewhere and stitch them together to make something a little different. I love authors who give good voice. And there are a lot of them out there. I'm very much a sucker for style over substance.

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

So much yes. I think I mentioned I originally thought this idea would be under 1000 words. And a light, fluffy story. Something cute. But then I wrote the first bit and thought, oh, it's going to be longer. And the teller of the tale snarked their way in and I thought, oh, it going to be darker. I initially hadn't planned on Evangeline's character and yet she became the backbone of the story. Oddly enough, I ended up in the same place at The End, so the story was both full of surprises and ended exactly the way I thought it would.

Thanks for stopping by!

Author's Twitter: @ByHLFullerton

Publisher’s Twitter: @AnnorlundaInc

Thursday, October 3, 2019

BRAVE NEW GIRLS submissions are now open!

Damn, how is it October?? The weather here in Jersey City certainly doesn't seem to know it, with its 90-degree heat and its summer-style cloudbursts. But October it is, and y'all know what that means? BRAVE NEW GIRLS SUBMISSIONS open up! A couple days late, admittedly. My bad. As y'all may have surmised from the opening of this paragraph, this month caught me quite by surprise.

Also, can I just say, how amazing is it that we're getting a FIFTH anthology??? This whole thing started out as one little book, and Paige Daniels and I thought it was literally one and done. That was 2014. Now here we are, looking at 2020...

Anyway, details and submissions form here:

The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2020. The criteria are that stories must be:

  • About a teen girl (14-18) with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math)
  • Geared toward a tween/teen audience (10-18)
  • PG in content, as many of our readers are very young, and we want parents/guardians/family friends to be comfortable giving these books to the children in their lives. No graphic sex ("sweet" romance with kissing and hand holding and such is fine), no graphic violence (bloodless comic-book-movie-style violence is fine), no swearing (biblical curse words, i.e. "hell" or "damn", and made-up sci-fi cursing, e.g. "frak" or "gorram", are fine)
  • In the sci-fi category. We're open to any and all sub-genres (space opera, contemporary with speculative tech, historical with speculative tech, dystopia, cyberpunk, steampunk, solarpunk, dieselpunk, biopunk, silkpunk... all the punks)
  • Between 2,500 and 10,000 words in length
We strive to be as inclusive as possible and encourage authors and characters from the whole range of human backgrounds, across race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, religion, national origin, ability, socioeconomic status, and more.

Each story selected will be accompanied by an illustration, and each contributing author will receive a complimentary paperback of the anthology, which will be released July 2020.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Surprise release: A Girl Called Firedragon!

Guess what, y'all? I have a new book out! Just in time for the Halloween season comes A Girl Called Firedragon, a collection of dark fantasy stories about teen monster slayer Aurelia "The Firedragon" Sun.

If that sounds familiar, it's because this isn't a 100% new release. Back in 2014, when the first book of my YA fantasy series Flynn Nightsider was under contract with Glass House Press, the publisher asked me to write two e-book-only novellas to promote the book. These were The Firedragon and Firedragon Rising. For various reasons, I ended up taking my rights back from Glass House and publishing Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil with Crazy 8 Press instead. I'd always wanted to see the novellas in print, and so I decided to release them together in a compendium, along with "The Firedragon's Hunt," a short story I'd originally published in the anthology Missing Pieces IX, and an all-new novella, The Firedragon Strikes, exclusive to the collection. In addition, I commissioned illustrations from the talented Fauzy Zulvikar Firmansyah to accompany each story.

A Girl Called Firedragon features Aurelia's standalone adventures prior to the events of the first Flynn Nightsider novel, following her journey from government-trained cadet to underground revolutionary. Available in e-book and paperback formats.

Cover design by Key of Heart Designs, featuring photography by Tom Castles of model Angel Fan.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

COVER REVEAL: Windborn (Fated Stars, #1) by ME

It's cover reveal day for Windborn (Fated Stars, #1) by yours truly! This sweeping YA fantasy will be released on February 11, 2020 by Snowy Wings Publishing. An epic adventure across an enchanted fantasyland, this story follows air nymph Kiri on her desperate journey to escape from dark magicians. The cover painting was done by Anne Drury, with titles by Story Wrappers.

This book has been a long time coming, y'all. I dare say I first started dreaming about the world that would eventually become this book when I was a little kid. Like loads of other little girls, I loved tales of enchanted forests and mythical beings and epic adventures, and I soon started weaving my own versions in my head. I'd spin long, epic storylines in my head in the moments before drifting off to sleep or when staring out the car window. When I started writing, I left these fairytale adventures behind to focus on more deliberately plotted stories. But they stayed with me, and Windborn was my first attempt at bringing their world to life.

Anyway, without further ado, here's the cover!

Now, I know some people aren't too keen on full-wrap reveals, but Anne specifically designed this cover to be a full-wrap hardcover (and cropped it later for the ebook). Here it is, in all its glory:


The Age of Fire is coming. It’s written in the stars.

Trapped by dark magicians, the air nymph Kiri is running out of time. Like the rest of her kind, she’s bound to her homeland, and if she doesn’t return in seven days, she’ll die. Her only hope is in the magicians’ young apprentice, Darien, whose fierce gaze belies a kind heart. Despite her warnings, he helps her escape, and Kiri soon finds herself fleeing from relentless pursuers who will stop at nothing to recapture her and kill the boy who dared defy them.

With the magicians hot on their trail, Kiri and Darien embark on a treacherous journey through dangerous lands. But she soon learns that there’s more at stake than her own life. An ancient evil is stirring, one foretold to consume the world with fire. And Darien is at the center of it—though how, she doesn’t know.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on her life, and unless she can make it back to her land, she won’t live long enough to unravel the dark puzzles surrounding the intriguing, secretive young man—or stop the monstrous force bent on destroying everything.

Add it on Goodreads:


Mary Fan is a YA and sci-fi/fantasy author based in New Jersey. Her books include Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon (YA steampunk fantasy, Page Street Publishing), the Starswept trilogy (YA sci-fi, Snowy Wings Publishing), the Flynn Nightsider series (YA dark fantasy, Crazy 8 Press), and the Jane Colt trilogy (a space adventure series from Red Adept Publishing comprising Artificial Absolutes, Synthetic Illusions, and Virtual Shadows). In addition, she is the co-editor of the Brave New Girls YA sci-fi anthologies about girls in STEM, which aim to encourage girls to explore STEM fields and raise money for the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.

When she’s not writing, she can usually be found at choir rehearsal, at the kickboxing gym, or falling off a flying trapeze.

Twitter: @astralcolt
Instagram: @astralcolt