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!→
Engen Books is proud to introduce Diane Lynn McGyver, author of the novels Shadows in the Stone and Scattered Stones as one of the authors in 2019’s Dystopia from the Rock collection!
“This first book in Diane Lynn McGyver’s Castle Keepers series is very well done and will keep you turning pages right to the end. What I particularly enjoyed in this solidly mainstream fantasy is its fresh focus on established themes. It’s like an award-winning movie director telling the person behind the camera to lower or raise the picture in the viewfinder for a new angle.“ — Amazon.com Review of Shadows in the Stone.
Diane says she fell in love with the fantasy genre when an awesome dungeon master introduced her to Dungeons & Dragons at the age of 13. From there, she landed into the world created by Terry Brooks and then the ones created by Mercedes Lackey. By the age of 19, she knew she was truly lost to the other realm.
Ten other authors will be joining Diane Lynn McGyver, David Wright, Erin Vance, Jon Dobbin, Elizabeth Whitten, Peter Foote, Chantal Boudreau, Ellen Curtis, Finnan Beaton, Christopher Walsh, Lisa Daly, Jeff Slade, Michelle Churchill, Ryan Belbin, Nicole Little, Brad Dunne, David Rimmington, Heather Nolan, Gareth Mitton, Shannon Green and Ali House for the 2019 Dystopia on the Rock collection! We still have award-winning and prolific authors in the genre to announce! Who will join them? Stay tuned and Never Look Back!
Engen Books is proud to introduce the inclusion of prolific short story and novel author David Wright in 2019’s Dystopia from the Rock collection!
Born in Vancouver, Wright is the author of over 70 stories published since 2004. His career spans publications in the United States, Australia, & the United Kingdom. He is currently the author of seven novels: Flight of the Cosmonaut, Codename Vengeance, Elf Lord, A Travel Guide to Murder, A Travel Guide to Murder: Hawaii, and, A Travel Guide to Murder: Caribbean. Continue reading David Wright announced as a ‘Dystopia from the Rock’ author!→
This January I was commissioned to write two short articles. It had been awhile since I did the freelance thing, and these pieces were outside the niche that I’d been carving for myself recently, but I said yes because it was an opportunity to make some quick money after Christmas. Also, the publisher has always been a pleasure to work with. And, I mean, it’s pretty hard for a writer to turn down a paying gig. However, I soon realized that taking on these sorts of projects was holding back my career. I was chasing the quick nickel instead of the long dollar.
When I first started my writing career back in 2013, I didn’t understand the value of specialization (among many other things). My passion had always been to write novels, ever since I was little kid, but I didn’t have a voice, didn’t know where to start. So I decided to follow the path laid by many other writers before me that I’d admired: journalism. I did a six-month internship at The Walrus magazine then embarked on a brief freelancing career.
I was interested in a lot of different things and figured it was all just writing. I chased after every possible pitch. I wrote articles about food banks, homelessness, women in the Canadian film industry, Newfoundland traditions, food, and immigration. I said yes to any opportunity.
This taught me two important lessons: 1) in order to be a great writer, or anything really, you have to focus on one very specific thing, and 2) to do that, you have to say “No” a lot.
In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown shows very simply the power of focusing on one thing vs several things. You can try to do ten things to the first degree, or you can do one thing to the tenth degree. Doing the former means you’ll spread yourself thin and only really nibble around the edges. The latter means you’ll end up actually mastering your chosen field.
There was no way I could write about immigration one week, food the next, and somehow find time to write novels in the meantime without my work suffering.
This begs the question: How do I find my niche? It’s easier said than done. Some people know from the start what they want to do. For example, you may have always wanted to be a sportswriter and every step you took from high school was in that direction. On the other hand, like me, you may have a lot of interests and can’t decide. In that case, I’d suggest doing a lot of things until you find your niche. After writing enough things that I wasn’t interested in, I managed to deduce what I was interested in.
Once you’ve reached this point, you’re ready for step number two: Saying No.
Focusing on one thing means that you’re gonna have to say no to things that don’t contribute to your long term goals. And you’re going to have to say no a lot. Like a lot, a lot. What’s more, as you gain success and notoriety in your niche, more opportunities will come your way. You’re gonna need to parse which ones are right for you.
This is difficult for two reasons. 1) Turning down opportunities feels wrong. Like you’re being lazy and unappreciative. This requires discipline and focus. And 2) Knowing the right time to say no requires sound judgement.
Warren Buffett, who is worth an estimated $82 billion, says that the thing that separates successful people is that they say no to a lot of opportunities. Buffett owes approximately %90 of his wealth to just ten investment stocks. Therefore, there is a tonne of value to be found by drilling narrowly and deeply.
Or, consider Stephen King. After Carrie, he had to a choice to publish either Salem’s Lot, which would cement him as a horror writer, or Roadwork, which was more literary. King wasn’t afraid of specializing so he went with the former. I think that’s worked out pretty well for him.
So, whenever an opportunity comes your way, you have to ask, “Does this contribute to my long term goals? Am I chasing the quick nickel or the long dollar?”
That was the mistake I made when I said yes to those commissions at the start of the year. It wasn’t a bad opportunity, just not the right one for me. I don’t want to sound ungrateful or snobby, like it’s beneath. It just didn’t fit in with my long term goals. I was chasing the quick nickel.
Engen Books is proud to introduce one of the exciting new talents in genre fiction that will be making their debut in 2019’s Dystopia from the Rock collection: Elizabeth Whitten! She brings with her her short story, ‘Unsettled.’
A native of St. John’s, Whitten is an editor and freelance journalist. At the 37th IRMA Conference, she was awarded the History Feature-Merit for “A Force to be Reckoned with,” which ran in Downhome Magazine, January 2016, p. 128-131.
‘Unsettled’ will be her first published piece of short fiction, and deals with issues of rising oceans.
Fourteen other authors will be joining Elizabeth Whitten, Peter Foote, Chantal Boudreau, Ellen Curtis, Finnan Beaton, Christopher Walsh, Lisa Daly, Jeff Slade, Michelle Churchill, Ryan Belbin, Nicole Little, Brad Dunne, David Rimmington, Heather Nolan, Gareth Mitton, Shannon Green and Ali House for the 2019 Dystopia on the Rock collection! We still have award-winning and prolific authors in the genre to announce! Who will join them? Stay tuned and Never Look Back!
Engen Books is proud to announce the triumphant return of author Peter J. Foote to this year’s From the Rock collection, Dystopia from the Rock.
Peter J. Foote is a bestselling speculative fiction writer from Nova Scotia. Outside of writing, he runs a used bookstore specializing in fantasy & sci-fi, cosplays, and alternates between red wine and coffee as the mood demands.
His short stories can be found in both print and in ebook form, with his story “Sea Monkeys” winning the inaugural “Engen Books/Kit Sora, Flash Fiction/Flash Photography” contest in March of 2018. As the founder of the group “Genre Writers of Atlantic Canada”, Peter believes that the writing community is stronger when it works together.
Foote’s submissions have gained entry into each of the four modern From the Rock volumes. His story ‘The Silence Between Moons’ appeared in 2016’s Sci-Fi from the Rock, ‘A Troll by Any Other Name…’ in 2017’s Fantasy from the Rock, and ‘A Friend in Shadow’ in 2018’s Chillers from theRock. Foote has proven himself to be a renaissance man of genre fiction, capable of rising to the occasion of any challenge thrown his way. As competition over placement in the From the Rock series has improved, so has Foote steadily grown in his authorial abilities. His newest story in titled ‘Final Edict.’ Continue reading Returning Rocker: Prize-Winning author Peter J. Foote announced as returning for ‘Dystopia from the Rock’!→
Gather round, writers both young and old, for I am about to tell a tale that will chill you to your very bones…
Once upon a time there was a writer who had finished the first draft of her novel. She sent it off to her editor, who returned the novel with some notes. Upon reading these notes, the writer realized that there were three big problem areas that she needed to fix – one at the beginning, one near the middle, and one at the end.
The writer wracked her brain for ways to correct the problems. It required a lot of thought, but eventually she came up with fitting solutions and fixed everything that wasn’t working. After those three changes were made, she started going through the rest of the novel, working her way through other, smaller problems.
A few nights later she realized that she was nearing the end of her editing. Soon she would be finished and the novel could be sent off again. However, when she scrolled down to the bottom of her novel, she realized that something was terribly wrong. Continue reading Scary Stories for Writers | House Blog→