Hi, my name is E. R. Warren, and I write novels.
I'm a novelist by night. But by day I'm a doctoral student in Japanese history.
I also was a journalist for a print newspaper.
I currently reside in Los Angeles.
My first novel was a long corporate drama about an eccentric who adopts a little boy. I think it was around two hundred pages. I finished it the night before my thirteenth birthday, and it was a labor of love and passion, unchecked creativity and enthusiasm.
It was also dreadful in that special way only achievable at thirteen. That story has been lost between computers, and moving, and life, and if no one else ever reads it ever, I'll be happy. But we all start somewhere.
Since then, I've done a slew of projects. I have gotten better at writing.
Now people willingly read the things I write.
I have come a long way.
In 2007, I completed my second novel, Serango: The Lines Drawn in Ink. This was my first series, and I described it as a "meteorological fantasy-western." Inspired by the great fantasy series of my childhood, I wrote it in a multi-POV third person. The setting was up in the sky, at a floating city where the residents walked on clouds and traveled through storms. When a dragon decides to take up residence in Serango's treasury, he disrupts a heist led by a charismatic thief, and the pegasus-riding, gun-slinging army revolts.
In 2008, I wrote my first novella, Zachary Brown. This was a basic drama story about a teen who runs away from home and becomes a karate master, inspiring everyone around him.
In 2009, I completed high school, and before I graduated, I managed to complete Serango: The Opera on Strings. This was my first sequel. About the same length as the first book, this story saw our familiar soldiers and thieves re-team and face-off. Unfortunately, 2009 was extremely busy, and although I outlined the third and final book in the trilogy, Serango: The Cicada Freedom War, I did not continue writing.
In 2010, I started sharing my writing online at Figment. I shared a lot of gunk and forgettable short fiction, but there were a few gems. I wrote a sci-fi epic poem, The Nebula Realm, about a boy and girl who leave home in a rocket ship but get separated. The boy ends up trying to get revenge on the man who killed his parents, and the girl finds herself in the man's clutches. I also tried my hand at a serialized, classic adventure fantasy called The Mori Hero.
Motivated by the numerous failures (and successes!) of 2010, fueled by commenters and followers online, I wrote The Visterian Lovers, which was a wonderful little romantic fantasy about two girls who leave their hermit kingdom (in disguise!) and then get tangled up with princes (also in disguise!) Although it was just a novella, there were a lot of valuable lessons.
To be completely honest, 2012 was a little crazy. I started a series called Mabel's City and wrote the first two books. Mabel's City was about a singer who goes to a music school in Los Angeles and gets caught up in a magician conspiracy. Think "magical girl" meets supermodel vampires and you're not far off. Mabel's City was a blast to write. I also hit my stride online.
I entered a slew of publisher contests on Figment...and I actually won.
Grand Central Publishing’s Unholy Night Genre Mash-up Story Contest Winner
“The Madness of Crown Prince Sazaki”
Japan’s Crown Prince discovers ancient Shinto gods living in modern Tokyo.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publisher’s Sorcery and Cecelia Contest Winner
“The Russian Revenge”
A duke challenges his lifelong friend to a duel for the mysterious murder of his sister.
Harper Teen’s Bewitching Flash Fiction Contest Winner
“The Great Pumpkin Carriage Dinner”
A boy eats the remains of Cinderella’s carriage and turns into a pumpkin.
Handsome Coffee Roasters Flash Fiction Contest Winner
“The Comic Book Artist”
A lonely girl realizes how strawberry frappucinos define a person.
Kim Culbertson's The Liberation of Max Mctrue Flash Fiction Contest Finalist
"The Escape Artist"
A man buys a special car to attend a funeral back home.
“Amazing first line and much backstory in such a short time–believable, immediate world building.” — Kim Culbertson
For all the success of the previous year, 2013 was a classic case of the busy life impacting writing. I was trying to wrap up my undergraduate education at the University of Southern California, which meant that I was writing screenplays for my cinema school classes, as well as applying for graduate school. I planned on serializing Void Inc. online, which was a light science fiction story, but decided to stop in case I wanted to write the full novel and publish traditionally. I then attempted to adapt The Madness of Crown Prince Sazaki into a novel and decided I liked it just fine as a short story. I was chosen as a featured writer on Figment.com for my serials, and then I won another contest. So, 2013 wasn't all bad.
Walker Children’s Publisher’s Stung Flash Fiction Contest Finalist
Day One Winner for “The Oceanside Holograms”
A prince searches for his bride, the only real girl in a ballroom of holographic guests.
2014 was when the stars began to align. I finally embraced my Japanese history background; while I was completing my Master's thesis on Japanese plague gods, I wrote The Princess and the Fox Demon. This was an old fashioned fantasy romance, but in a radically different setting based on Ancient Japan. The Princess and the Fox Demon's was chosen by users as one of Figment's Favorites of the year.
For variety, I teamed up with The Teacup Trail, an online literary magazine, to write Burnt Chocolate, Fairy King, a silly serial about a fairy king who chases his "true love" to a modern city and must live with a cross-dressing pet shelter owner while learning about life and love. Wow, that's a mouthful of a sentence.
"The Storm's Edge" in Bewildering Stories • Issue 560 •
"The Dueling Orchestra" in The Teacup Trail • January 2014 •
"Burnt Chocolate, Faerie King" in The Teacup Trail • July 2014 •
"Bad Willow, Bad Poetry" in The Teacup Trail • August 2014•
"Burnt Chocolate, Fairy King: The Serial" • October 2014 •
Oh, 2015, what a mixed year you were... Fresh off my success with The Princess and the Fox Demon among teenage readers online, I began searching for an agent. While bemoaning my novel's lack of a love triangle, Western names, or an easy pitch, I wrote a sequel novel in the same universe, called The Hiwau and the Moon Consort. It was the longest thing I had ever written. It swallowed all of 2015, just allowing me enough time at the end of the year to outline and start the next novel.
2016 started off great. I finished the first draft of The Ghost and the Raging Girl, another book in the The Princess and the Fox Demon universe. I then wrote a magical realism/ light fantasy project called Food of Magicians, which features a girl who dreams of making a pizzeria in a magician mafia-run culinary city.
A decade after completing the first Serango novel, I went back for more. In this version, however, a dancer-turned-doctor seeks to uncover a conspiracy that is killing her friends as cloud-wearing monsters attack her city. The first draft was in true omniscient third person and featured a massive cast with very adult motivations. I finished Serango just in time to start...
...wherein I started banging out Kabuki-ish, which is about a girl who wants to be an actor, so she dresses as a man in order to play women onstage. But the nesting dolls of personality and gender are complicated even more when she is possessed by the Founder of the Theater, a charismatic ghost. She takes the theatrical world by storm, but she knows it's only a matter of time before she's discovered...
A quick glance at this implies that I'm a fantasy junkie. Not true. I just like to dabble in magic. On occasion. I mean, I like my characters to dabble in magic.
If you're here, it's probably because of Figment where I had a tiny footprint. If you're not, you're probably my mom.