Tag Archives: Mary Fan

Mary Fan Visits the Crimson Keep

Want to know a fun fact? Contributing to Tales of the Crimson Keep was the first time I’d written in an already-established world. It was both exciting and a bit intimidating—as most new things are. As far as sandboxes go, the Crimson Keep was a pretty vast and flexible one. The premise of an ever-changing fortress with unlimited possibilities within the walls meant that nearly anything was possible.

At the same time, the first edition of the anthology was already out, and there’d already been many stories set in this world. The last thing I wanted was to write something that would be inconsistent with what was established.

The first thing I did was read every scrap of the first edition to get a feel for what kinds of stories fell into the world of the Crimson Keep. The answer: many kinds. Some were funny, and some were more serious. But all felt like they were skating across a glimmering pool of whimsy.

I decided to leave the established characters be and introduce the Keep to someone new: a visitor from another part of the world who, like me, was seeing the Keep for the first time. And so I created the character of Meilin, a girl who came all the way from the Far East on a quest to the Keep. How fascinated would she be by the fortress’ dangers and charms? How much trouble would she run into? Continue reading

Sword & Sorcery & Schmaltz

The first sword and sorcery I ever read was Robert E. Howard’s Conan, in the books published in the mid-1960s in paperback by Lancer Books, with the soon to become iconic cover paintings by Frank Frazetta. My father had brought home a recently published paperback edition of Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs that someone had left behind at his office. I recognized the Ape Man from the movies I’d seen on TV, but I wasn’t prepared for what I read. It was like I had discovered the real-life version of what was, essentially, portrayed as a grunting cartoon character in the movies. It floored me. I still think it’s a great novel, as close to literature as pulp fiction got when it was published in 1912. I reread it every few years.

My next trip to the library after that included a hunt for more ERB. I was rewarded with John Carter of Mars (so…score!), which was my gateway to sword & sorcery. As I recall, it was on a later library visit that I spotted Conan on the paperback rack, where the librarian told me I might find some more ERB books. Conan was hard to miss: a dark scene of a ripped barbarian in a life and death struggle with a gorilla wearing a startling crimson cloak! Continue reading

Bob Greenberger Chats About Renovating the Crimson Keep

The Master trains a handful of students at a time while also performing work on commission for wealthy nobles in this typical fantasy realm. He operates out of The Crimson Keep, a place renowned for its thousand rooms and hundred staircases. It is reputed to never stop growing or shifting as the result of an old spell gone slightly awry. The wizard’s castle was where apprentices could get lost in forever, and where it was rumored that servants could reappear after months gone to explain that they’d only been heading down to the cellar for another cask of salt.

The kitchen was at the castle’s center, one of the sections that got daily use and thus rarely shifted, and they had all long since learned the quickest route there, so they were able to navigate the corridors, stairs, and courtyards with ease—at least, until they passed through the small secondary rear courtyard and reached the kitchen itself.

It was also the world created during a massive round-robin writing session as the Crazy 8 Press writers introduced themselves to an unsuspecting world. Coming in August is Tales of the Crimson Keep – Newly Renovated Edition. To learn more, we spoke with co-founder and project editor Robert Greenberger. Continue reading

Crazy 8 Press Celebrates its 8th Anniversary at Shore Leave 40

Way back in 2010, Mike Friedman walked out of the Men’s Room at Shore Leave and wound up creating Crazy 8 Press, making its debut at the show a year later. And here we are again, back with more news, new books and lots of fun.

As you know, we killed our co-founder Glenn Hauman. We did this with malice aforethought and everyone is now arguing who had the most fun. The discussion will no doubt continue throughout the weekend.

Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Mary Fan, Mike Friedman, Bob Greenberger, the late Glenn Hauman, and Aaron Rosenberg will be participating in a variety of panels and events but you can also find the collective at the following events:


Glenn Hauman Wake, Hunt/Valley Rooms, 9:00-10:00 p.m.

Come pay your respects as we celebrate a life lived to its utmost, pissing people off, angering them into a murderous rage, suing him for all he’s worth (joke’s on them), and worse. The body will lie in state and members of the professional community will offer up eulogies. Continue reading

Mary Fan Discusses her new novel Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil

Crazy 8 Press has always been about bringing to you guys—the fans, the lovers of books—original stories that we, the authors, feel passionate about, and are dedicated to ensuring the finished tales remain true to our visions.

One year ago we invited YA and SF/F author Mary Fan to join our band of crazies, and now she’s here with her very first full-length novel under the Crazy 8 banner.

Entitled Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil, Mary’s new book is a YA Dark Fantasy with monsters, magic, and secrets that can remain buried no longer. Sound awesome? To us, too. Here’s what Mary had to say:

Crazy 8 Press: This is your first full-length book with Crazy 8 Press. Why this one?

Mary: First of all, it still feels like I got invited to the cool kids’ table when Y’all let me join Crazy 8 Press last year :-). I originally wrote Edge of Evil way back in 2012, and it got picked up by a small press that same year. However, after five years of production delays and a few forays into self-publishing through other projects, I was ready to take the book indie. Still, there’s a big difference between being independent and being alone. Being independent is liberating. Being alone is scary. So I was thrilled at the chance to put Edge of Evil out with Crazy 8 because it meant I could still have the creative freedom of self-publishing while also being a part of a group. Continue reading

Love, Murder & Mayhem: Read it Now: Note on the Blue Screen

Mary Fan’s “The Note on the Blue Screen” has a future-set, female AI Sherlock Holmes leaving clues for her best friend and roommate Watson to solve the most personal murder of all—that of Sherlock Holmes herself. Is the note on the blue screen Sherlock left behind enough to crack the case, or is Watson in more danger than she knows?

Here’s an early look:

The Note on the Blue Screen

By Mary Fan

You’d think that after you’ve lived with someone for three years, they’d have run out of ways to surprise you. Since my roommate was a humanoid AI originally created to assist in scientific research, her quirks were stranger than most. Especially since she’d fashioned herself into a private detective. I doubt the engineers who’d designed Project Sherlock had intended for her to take her name so literally.

She’d also picked up a form of the mythological Earth Zero detective’s greatest vice, and no matter how I tried, I could never make her stop injecting herself with corrosives, which ate away at her metal bones. Her artificial body would shut down parts of her brain to divert energy into repairing the damage . . . sending her into a state of euphoria. I’d always feared that someday she’d go too far. Continue reading