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!

Dormancy| Kit Sora’s Storytime

STORYTIME! Yes, that is snow, yes I am naked from the hips up, and yes, it was just as cold as you would think! That said, I did have fleece lined leggings, fuzzy socks, and my wintriest boots on just out of shot!

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I had an antler shot in my head for a while, I was just lacking the antlers! Then, by some miracle, a dear friend Tara had a set and offered them to be to borrow for a prop! Because they were on lend, I could add the copious amounts of glitter that I had originally in my head, but the butterfly worked out just as well for the overall tone of this shot. Continue reading Dormancy| Kit Sora’s Storytime

Heather Reilly

Heather ReillyHeather Reilly is an author, musician, poet, and teacher currently living in Newfoundland with her husband and three children. She is the author of several publications, including the five-book YA series Binding of the Almatraek, along with many children’s books and songs. 

Reilly was a contributing author to Fantasy from the Rock, bringing with her her award-winner tale ‘In the Moonlight.’


promo_cover7_webFantasy from the Rock by Erin Vance & Ellen Curtis
Series: From the Rock, #2017

The Pitch: Twenty-One short stories written by an eclectic mix of some of the best fantasy authors in Atlantic Canada, some of them award-winning veterans of their field and some of them new to the craft! Edited by Erin Vance and veteran science-fiction author Ellen Louise Curtis, this collection features the heartfelt, creatively charged, astonishing fiction that showcases the talent and charm Atlantic Canada has to offer.

Winner: “The Green Lady” by Jennifer Shelby | Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest

After much deliberation, Engen Books is proud to announce the winner of the October 30 2018 Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest: Jennifer Shelby with her story, The Green Lady!

Jennifer Shelby was hatched in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and currently nests on a storm-ridden mountain rising from the banks of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. Her work has appeared in Spaceports and SpidersilkAndromeda Spaceways, and Cricket. In the spring of 2018 she won the WFNB Fog Lit Books “For Young People” prize for her short story, Dragon Crossing. Continue reading Winner: “The Green Lady” by Jennifer Shelby | Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest

Jon Dobbin

A native to the St. John’s metro region, Dobbin tied for first place in the 2017 48-Hour Writing Marathon, and tied for second in the 2018 Year. He describes himself as “the father of three, the husband to an amazing wife, an educator, and a tattoo and beard enthusiast.”

Dobbins work has appeared in the Chillers from the Rock and Kit Sora: The Artobiography collections. His first standalone novel, The Starving, hits shelves in 2019.


 

Chillers from the RockChillers from the Rock by Erin Vance & Ellen Curtis
Series: From the Rock, 2018

The Pitch: Twenty-five short stories written by a diverse mix of some of the best suspense and horror authors in Atlantic Canada, including both award-winners, veterans of their craft, and brand new talent.
Edited by Erin Vance and accomplished genre author Ellen Curtis, this collection features the thrilling, creatively charged, astonishing fiction that showcases the talent, imagination, and prestige that Atlantic Canada has to offer.

Introducing Ashley Green, contributor to Kit Sora- The Artobiography! Preorders open!

img_5638In addition to a slew of amazing, prize-winning talent and all the best authors working in Atlantic Canada today, Kit Sora: The Artobiography is host to some of the hottest emerging talent on the island!

One of those astonishing new authors is Ashley Green, author of the story ‘Flurries.’

Ashley currently residing in St. John’s, Newfoundland. ‘Flurries’ is her first published fiction.

Kit Sora: The Artobiography

A stunning, hundred-plus page hardcover collection of over 80 of Kit Sora’s most ambitious photographs, paired with short fiction inspired by the art by Canada’s best authorial talents. Includes stories by USA Today Bestselling Author Kate Sparkes, USA Today Bestselling Author Victoria Barbour, and Bestselling Author Amanda Labonté.

C$60.00

Farm to Table: Worldbuilding vs Storytelling

Last weekend I attended a panel on world building in genre fiction. There was a lot of interesting discussion, including one question a lot of genre writers grapple with constantly: When does world building stop? As in, when does world building become tedious exposition. After all, the reader doesn’t want an encyclopedic presentation of your lore; they want a dramatic story. I’m not sure about the precise numbers, but I’m willing to bet The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings have sold a helluva lot more copies than The Silmarillion.

When it comes to world building, I think the biggest challenge genre writers face is knowing when to stop, recognizing what they can, and should, leave out. The analogy I often use is that the writer is like a chef and the reader is their customer. When most people go to a restaurant, they don’t care about the work that’s gone into the dish. All they care about is the meal. What kinda soil did these turnips grow in? What sorta grain did this cow eat? Most people don’t care about this. They wanna eat their steak and veggies in peace. Likewise, do I really need multiple paragraphs on the history of every little village your adventurers pass through? No.

Sure, there are foodies and the whole farm to table movement of people who are really interested all that extracurricular stuff (The Silmarillion does sell copies). However, that’s extra. If you make flavourless food no one is gonna eat it no matter how much you tell them about the acidity of the soil.

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Hemingway said “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them.” Easier said than done. This is difficult for genre writers because there’s the fear that leaving out certain bits of information will leave the reader confused.

So, let’s say you’ve committed all these hours to drafting your writing and have developed a robust universe for your characters to experience. What sorta techniques or principles can you deploy to avoid falling into exposition traps.

David Simon, showrunner of The Wire and other great TV series, makes a great point when he observed that the viewer “loves being immersed in a new, confusing, and possibly dangerous world that he will never see. He likes not knowing every bit of vernacular or idiom. He likes being trusted to acquire information on his terms, to make connections, to take the journey with only his intelligence to guide him. Most smart people cannot watch most TV, because it has generally been a condescending medium, explaining everything immediately, offering no ambiguities, and using dialogue that simplifies and mitigates against the idiosyncratic ways in which people in different worlds actually communicate. It eventually requires that characters from different places talk the same way as the viewer. This, of course, sucks.”

Don’t be afraid of ambiguity. Andrew Stanton (writer/director for Finding Nemo and Wall-e) said don’t give the audience 4, give them 2+2. Don’t be afraid to let your reader work for their meal, so to speak. Let them fill in some of the gaps. That’s part of the fun.

When Han Solo tells Luke Skywalker the Millennium Falcon is a great ship because “it made the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs,” we don’t need to know what the Kessel Run is. We think, “oh this must be some kinda inter-galactic smuggling thing,” and now our imagination starts expanding this universe even more. Or we might even think, “this guy sounds like he’s making this up,” which builds character. It’s not necessary to see Solo for any of this to work, if anything it might ruin it for a lot of people.

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So, ultimately, it all comes down to storytelling. Most people don’t care about your homework. World building is a means to an end. Figure out what that end is and don’t worry about your readers understanding every inch of your setting.

Cheers

-b