Call for Flying Story Submissions!

Over the last three years, the From the Rock series has become one of the preeminent anthology series’ in Atlantic Canada. We have been home to some amazing established talent and helped some new authors break through that have gone on to dominate their fields, becoming genre bestsellers in their own right. From the Rock is a title readers consistently ask for, review well, and a great way for avid readers to get introduced to indie talent they might find interesting. In March 2018 the series’ third entry, Chillers from the Rock, went Bestseller on pre-orders alone!

And this year, we’re doing it again… twice!

After the colossal success of Sci-Fi from the Rock,  Fantasy from the Rock, and Chillers from the Rock, Engen Books has decided to continue the From The Rock line with a second entry in 2019: Flights from the Rock, to be available in Summer 2019. Continue reading Call for Flying Story Submissions!

Call for Dystopian Submissions!

Over the last three years, the From the Rock series has become one of the preeminent anthology series’ in Atlantic Canada. We have been home to some amazing established talent and helped some new authors break through that have gone on to dominate their fields, becoming genre bestsellers in their own right. From the Rock is a title readers consistently ask for, review well, and a great way for avid readers to get introduced to indie talent they might find interesting.

And this year, we’re doing it again! Continue reading Call for Dystopian Submissions!

Winner: “Frigid” by Catherine Rector | Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest

After much deliberation, Engen Books is proud to announce the winner of the July 15 2018 Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest: Catherine Rector with her story, Frigid!

Catherine Rector was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, and grew up in rural Nova Scotia. Currently residing in her nerd cave in Belgium, she spends most of her time on single player adventures like reading, gaming and writing. Continue reading Winner: “Frigid” by Catherine Rector | Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest

Hail, Paimon! Perspective in Hereditary

One of my favourite podcasts at the moment is Show me the Meaning, which does deep dives into the themes of popular movies. (It was a big influence for my podcast Deconstruction Junction.) Even when I disagree with them, I still find lots to think about. Recently they were discussing Hereditary, a pretty awesome but polarizing horror movie. They mostly took issue with a pivotal moment in the film where the plot shifts from psychological horror to supernatural. I want to zero in on this moment because it reveals a lot about perspective and how the viewer treats the camera as an “objective” point of view.

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(Before I continue I’m gonna make a spoiler alert here. If you haven’t seen Hereditary then I strongly suggest watching it before reading this because I’m gonna be discussing some plot details, especially w/r/t the climax and conclusion. You’ve been warned!) Continue reading Hail, Paimon! Perspective in Hereditary

The Weird Habits of Writers | House Blog

And here we see the elusive ‘Writer’ in its natural habitat… Be careful – we don’t want to scare it off…

 

Speaking for myself, I tend to do some weird things when I write. Usually I do this in the safety of my own home, where other people can’t witness these oddities, but sometimes the weird cannot be contained and spills out into the rest of the world…

 

As we can see, sometimes the writer’s face will suddenly contort into strange expressions, as if warning unseen enemies not to get too close…

When I’m writing a scene between two people, I’ll often find myself trapped in dialogue, so I’ll toss in some descriptions to break it up a little. If I want to describe how someone’s face looks, it’s easiest for me to make the face I want and go from there. If a character’s conflicted, I’ll pretend I feel that way and then I’ll notice how my eyebrows come together and the left corner of my mouth tightens. If you ever see me making weird faces for no reason, it’s probably because I’m working on a story.

 

If we get a little closer we can hear the writer talking to itself, repeating words over and over, as if invoking an ancient spirit…

I like my dialogue to sound natural (well, as natural as something entirely scripted can sound), so I’ll say the lines to myself – sometimes acting out entire scenes. If a line’s not working, I’ll try saying it a few times to figure out what’s not working. Do I need to find a better word? Rearrange the sentence order? Start from scratch…? What sounds better?

 

Sometimes, the writer will sit still for hours, not moving in the slightest. We suspect that this is some kind of strange meditation, and yet they do not seem very relaxed…

Yeah, I’ve been there. Staring at the screen or page in front of me, willing words to suddenly appear – afraid that if you move you might scare the words away. I’ve found this to be one of the worst ways for me to get over writer’s block, and yet I cannot stop doing it. I did it at least 5 times while I was writing this blog post…

 

Here we see the strange, awkward dance of the writer. Although there are no other people around, notice as they move about in strange ways, dancing to music that only they can hear…

Confession time: I like to act out fight scenes. It gives me a better idea of what’s going on and how the characters are moving, plus I get a better idea of tension and momentum and pacing. Also, it’s really fun to act out fight scenes.

 

I’m sure there are many other odd habits I’ve failed to mention, but I’ve got to go stare at my computer screen for a few hours and will some words to appear.

Do you have any strange writing habits you’d like to share? Any habits here seem familiar to you?

And remember, if someone sees you doing something strange and confusion clouds their eyes, just say “I’m a writer” and that should be explanation enough.

Do or Do Not: Anthony Bourdain, Star Wars, and Failure

Like so many, I was deeply saddened by the news of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. He produced many great TV shows and pretty much created modern food culture with Kitchen Confidential. He was a once in a generation influence.

I was watching one of his final interviews where he made a point that I’ve been thinking a lot about ever since. (I highly recommend watching the full thing.) He said, “I’d much rather not make TV at all or make unsuccessful TV than competent television…I detest competent, workman-like storytelling…I’d rather fail.” At the face of it, attacking competency seems wilfully ignorant, but what Bourdain means here by “competent storytelling” is by the numbers acceptable mediocrity.  He’d rather take a chance at something different and fail. “There are shows where people are just going to hate it. They don’t like the style, they think it’s self-indulgent. But that’s the kind of failure I like. A powerful reaction one way or another is infinitely preferable to pleasing everybody.” Continue reading Do or Do Not: Anthony Bourdain, Star Wars, and Failure

“Sweet Sixteen” by Nicole Little | Short Story Winner

Bridget always felt a connection to her mother at the beach. Perhaps the rhythm of the waves caressing the shore reminded her of the rhythm of the womb; it was after all, the only memory she had of her.

Abandoned at the water’s edge, no more than a few hours old; her frantic newborn cries had attracted the attention of a pod of mermaids swimming nearby. She’d heard the story a million times: how their songs had soothed her and, how, wrapped in their gossamer tresses and lulled by the lap of the water, she’d fallen asleep in their arms. Enraptured with this tiny human, they’d persuaded Neptune to grant just one request. He had cupped the baby’s tiny feet and bestowed upon her a most precious gift. Continue reading “Sweet Sixteen” by Nicole Little | Short Story Winner

Winner: “Sweet Sixteen” by Nicole Little | Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest

After much deliberation, Engen Books is proud to announce the winner of the June 15 2018 Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest: Nicole Little with her story, Sweet Sixteen!

Nicole Little was born in St. John’s, although she traveled and lived in Australia for 5 years before returning to Newfoundland in 2011. She has run a home daycare and has 2 daughters, aged 2 and 7. When she was young she once told someone that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up and they laughed at her.  She has never stopped writing, just to prove them wrong. Sweet Sixteen is her first published work. Continue reading Winner: “Sweet Sixteen” by Nicole Little | Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest

How to Blackmail Yourself into Finishing Your Writing | House Blog

Maybe you’re one of those writers who has no problem sitting down and writing a story from start to finish, or maybe you’re more like me and you get side-tracked multiple times before you can get to the end.

Although it’s romantic to think of yourself as a tortured writer who’s utterly desperate to finish that one big novel you have inside of you – which is so eager to come out, but can’t because you’re too weighed down by the massive ennui you feel just by existing – it’s much more practical to actually finish your darn projects.

Here are few problems that I’ve encountered while trying to finish a story/novel, and what I do to try to keep myself motivated*.

Continue reading How to Blackmail Yourself into Finishing Your Writing | House Blog