Maeve MacLysaght of Copps Literary Services
Erin Fulmer is a public benefits attorney by day, author of urban fantasy and science fiction by night, and Pitch Wars class of 2020 mentee alumna. She lives in sunny Northern California with her husband and two spoiled cats. When she’s not writing or working, she enjoys hatha yoga, taking pictures of the sky, playing board games with friends, and napping like it’s an Olympic sport. She is represented by Maeve MacLysaght of Copps Literary Services.
CAMBION'S BLOOD, the second book in her Cambion series and sequel to her debut urban fantasy CAMBION'S LAW, is out June 7 from City Owl Books. She also maintains a weekly blog at her website https://erinfulmer.com/ where she shares substantive writing craft tips, publishing industry insights, and thoughts on her personal journey as a professional author.
What does mentorship mean to you, and why do you want to be a mentor?
Mentorship to me is a way to share and pass on institutional knowledge and experience as well as a way to give back to the writing community that has given me so much. My mentee experience in Pitch Wars was incredibly valuable - my mentor helped me become a better writer, taught me so much about the publishing industry, gently introduced me to the experience of dev edits, and was a huge positive influence on my confidence and skills. They are my role model and now that I have some traditional publishing success, I want to pay it forward and lift up my peers. I am already exploring some unofficial mentoring activities like providing resources to other writers in my blogs and on Twitter, as well as offering critiques and positivity passes. It's so rewarding to feel like I've made a positive impact, even a small one, for others who are passionate about their creative work. I want to expand my efforts and gain more mentoring experience in a slightly more formal context.
What is your mentorship style? What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
I love to give positive feedback and don't believe in the doctrine of tough love. When giving feedback, I recognize that I don't know all the answers and wouldn't expect a mentee to always do things my way or make my suggested corrections. I am a fan of trigger warnings and am always seeking to improve my cultural competency. I think my biggest strengths are helping hone prose with line edits, identifying ways to strengthen character arcs and deepen emotion, and helping pantsers or plantsers refine their structure (from experience!) I think my lack of experience as a mentor is a major weakness, since I can't 100% say what my style would be when it comes to dev edits, and I would definitely have a learning curve in this role. I sometimes miss small details/inconsistencies (a copy editor I am not) and tend to be more of a big picture reader.
What makes a great mentee? Describe your ideal mentee/mentor relationship.
A great mentee communicates their needs and preferences directly and explicitly, respects the boundaries I communicate, is willing to put in the work into revisions, and is emotionally prepared to receive critique as well as support. I give plenty of positive feedback as a rule, but my major goal as a mentor would be to assist the mentee in elevating their craft as well as providing guidance in the publishing world. The ideal mentee would be a mature writer with some experience receiving feedback who is serious about publishing their work.
How would you describe your normal working speed?
What kind of communication can your mentee(s) expect from you?
Discord, Slack, or Twitter DM is the best way to get a hold of me and my favorite way of communicating day-to-day. While I may not see a message immediately, I'm generally pretty responsive in text-based communications. You can also email me, though I may be a little slower to respond that way. If you haven't heard back from me within 48 hours, feel free to send a nudge as I sometimes space and think I've responded when I haven't.
I use Google Calendar and anything not on it may or may not happen, so expect to get invites from me for scheduled check-ins. As far as Zoom/video check-ins I will probably do these on an occasional to rare basis unless requested more often, as I have audio processing issues that can make video calls challenging. Please communicate your needs and expectations to me and let me know as they change. I am a direct communicator and appreciate the same from others when it comes to expectations and boundaries, so if something I'm doing doesn't work for you, I hope you'll let me know up front.
What kinds of communication are you able to accommodate?
Email, Zoom/Skype/Video, Text/Whatsapp, Social Media DMs
Are you able to make accommodations for mentees that request them?
Indefinite/As long as the mentee needs to complete our work together. I would expect a 4-6 month working period with 1-2 revision passes and plan to work with the mentee to set a mutually agreed upon working period, but will be available to support after the conclusion of the revisions.
Check all that apply: What do you plan to offer as a mentor?
Submission package critique (Query, Synopsis, 50 page sample), Partial manuscript critique (50 pages), Full manuscript critique, Multiple manuscript passes and query support, Line notes/edits, I can provide some marketing support as far as creating graphics and videos, blogging, and social media, though I don't have experience with self-publishing/indie tasks like getting ISBNs, designing covers, formatting for self-pub.
How polished should your submissions be?
Magic Mirror, Funhouse Mirror
I would potentially work with an antique mirror if I had a very good idea of what needed to be done, but as I'm a first time mentor with minimal dev edit experience on others' work, I need to have that vision and game plan ahead of time.
Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
I am seeking an adult science fiction or fantasy novel to work with during this mentorship period.
In science fiction, my tastes run the gamut from “hard” science fiction (far-future Earth or set in space), near future dystopian/utopian, cli-fi, post-apocalyptic, space opera, and speculative fiction that plays with time and space like the multiverse in SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS. I’m fascinated by stories that delve into transhumanism, the implications of technology for human experience, and artificial intelligence, like those explored in BLACK MIRROR or the MURDERBOT CHRONICLES. Scrappy underdog crews facing down big, evil corporations (think SPACE SWEEPERS) will quickly capture my heart. I also love stories in which humans must learn to communicate and coexist with aliens or non-human sentients who are very different from us, as in ARRIVAL.
Hopepunk and solarpunk are very much my jam, so if you are comping to Becky Chambers’ WAYFARERS series, I want it. I have also particularly enjoyed recent science fantasy like A.K. Larkwood’s THE UNSPOKEN NAME and Tamsyn Muir’s GIDEON THE NINTH, so I would love to work on a manuscript with unusual worldbuilding in which technology and magic intertwine.
Similarly, I’m a huge fan of urban and contemporary fantasy where supernatural entities and modern life coexist, so please consider me for your UF/CF subgenre manuscripts provided the supernatural adventure is the A plot and any romance is secondary. I also enjoy a good portal fantasy or sojourn with the Fair Folk. I am choosier about high fantasy and second world fantasy—to really hook me, I have to see strong personal stakes and characters who are reluctant heroes or regular folk swept up in epic events, especially if they’re out to overturn existing power structures. "Burn it down" energy is always welcome! Or, if you’re writing tongue in cheek and taking inspiration from Terry Pratchett’s DiscWorld novels, I’m very much down for humor that flips tropes with affectionate irreverence. If you can describe your manuscript as “high fantasy, low stakes” like Travis Baldree’s LEGENDS AND LATTES, I’m definitely interested.
Generally, a strong narrative voice, well-defined conflict, and innovative worldbuilding will grab me first and foremost. I particularly love a good detective story or mystery in the SFF space. Themes of surviving trauma, breaking cultural/generational patterns, and coming to terms with complex identities speak to me personally. And, although I'm not the right reader for most SFF romance proper, I do appreciate (but don’t require) a strong love story running secondary to the main plot. I’d be delighted if some non-traditional relationships crossed my path in this context, whether polyamorous, aromantic/asexual, kinky, or adopted/found family bonds (think the diverse relationship models in THE EXPANSE, and honestly if you’re comping THE EXPANSE, I want it).
In all of the above, I love to see flawed and complex characters with underrepresented identities taking the lead. Send me your queer ND protagonists saving societies they don’t quite fit into, disabled characters in accessible worlds, BIPOC, women, trans, and nonbinary people in leadership roles, and bi panic B-plots. I am very here for queer joy and manuscripts that envision a better, more accepting, more egalitarian world, though I also love to read about characters fighting the good fight for equality and justice. If there's a lot of darkness in a story, I definitely need a thread of hope to pull me through.
Please do not send me:
No sexual assault, extremely graphic gore/violence, or animal harm/death on the page, please. I’m not the right person for excessively dark or gritty settings, for court intrigue or political dramas, for historical fantasy, for military science fiction or fantasy that primarily takes place on the battlefield, or for paranormal/fantasy romance. Abusive/chauvinist POV characters or characters actively working to uphold an oppressive power structure (such as a hereditary monarch fighting to keep their throne) aren’t really for me, even if there’s a redemption arc in store for them. I'm also not sure I'm the right person for a story that primarily involves deities or has strong religious overtones, though it may depend on the angle for this one.
What are some of your favorite books?
Ursula LeGuin's The Dispossessed; Robin McKinley's Sunshine and The Blue Sword; Neil Gaiman's American Gods; Martha Wells' Murderbot Chronicles
What are some books, movies, shows, games, etc. that you've recently enjoyed?
Books: The Thousand Eyes (A.K. Larkwood, sequel to The Unspoken Name); Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes; The Girl With All the Gifts (M.R. Carey); The Echo Wife (Sarah Gailey). Movies: Don't Look Up (2021), Palm Springs (2020). Shows: The Witcher, Star Trek TNG, Upload. Games: Disco Elysium, Heaven's Vault, Call of the Sea.
Is there anything else you want potential mentees to know?
I'm a first time mentor, so I'll be learning this round too! I think I'd be a good fit for a mentee who is a discovery writer or "plantser," as I'm a recovering pantser myself with a lot of tools to share from my own experience with taming wild plotlines and thinking about story structure, character motivation, and conflict/intensity. I can also help out with brainstorming, line edits, query writing, query lists, and advice on marketing, author platforms, and other aspects of trad publishing, especially from a small press perspective.