2013 Year-In-Review by Engen founder Matthew LeDrew

2014 fireworksWell, that was a little longer of an unintended hiatus to the updating of the website than I had originally foreseen. Take a week off and two months fly by, the nerve of it I swear. But we have still been busy, plugging away at our projects for 2014 over here at Engen Books, and while we’re excited about them all, a new year isn’t just about looking forward, it’s also about looking back on the thing’s we’ve accomplished, with an eye on both nostalgia and towards doing better in the future.

So I’m hoping to start what will be a tradition here at Engen Books.com, the Year-In-Review. Cue British nobility music. Pinkies in the air everyone, we’re not monsters.

Black Womb comes to a close

2013 marked the end of Engen Book’s original title, the Black Womb series. After seven years and ten books, the story of Xander Drew and the rest of the crowd from Coral Beach comes to a close. It happened without much fanfare, as we were in the midst of revamping the website at the time and were not updating content. The ending of the series was a choice that Ellen and I had wrestled with for some time, but it felt right after ten. Will it be the last we see of these characters? Who knows, (Spoilers: me, and definitely not) but what we’re left with are ten books that tell exactly the story I wanted to tell, and that was the whole reason I started Engen Books to begin with. Sometimes the series could be immature and sometimes I felt bad about it, but in those times Ellen would make me look at our library of authors and stable of titles and remind me: this is the house that Black Womb built.

New Engen Authors

2013 saw the addition of six new authors to the aforementioned Engen stable. Six. If you’d asked me seven years ago if we’d have six authors in total by this point, I’d have laughed at you, but that’s what we added this year alone. And I know it’s cliche, but they are all amazing in their own ways. They are: Tara Murphy, Megan Milner, Leanne Chatham-Milo, Ali House, Randi Livingstone, and one other. It was clearly an unintentional year-of-the-woman at the Engen hiring party (Kidding).

These authors produced amazing work for Sci-Fi on the Rock Returns and Bluenose Paradox, and what’s horrible is that several of them didn’t receive proper recognition. Tara Murphy was published during that website hiatus in April, and I had intended to have the site feature a news story of each of the Bluenose Paradox authors…. at which point the website didn’t get updated since November 19th. Great job.

For the record, they’re all amazing and I look forward to reading more of what they offer. That’s the real gift of running Engen Books, you never run out of great stories to tell.

Engen gets Dysfunctional

And yes… we couldn’t not mention this. Steve Lake and I started a show on YouTube called “the most dysfunctional writing podcast EVER,” and it has been. Response to it has been great and I take any opportunity to work with Steve. Anyone who can’t get enough of Steve can also hear him on the Whostorian show as well as every Monday night in the St. John’s area on the Blind Lemon Blues radio show.

The Dysfunctional Podcast will return in 2014. 😉

There’s been lots more, too much to mention. If I had time I’d just mention every fan by name, because you’re the ones who made 2013 great. I’d shout out to Amanda Evans and let her know she doesn’t have to find excuses to come around to the booth next year: just come talk. We don’t mind. I’d tell Travis Whalen and the rest of his crew from Sci-Fi on the Rock to come back and have a chat, and I’d bow to them for their great word-of-mouth campaign to get us known and hope they are keeping it up. I’d thank Ellen, who is always there for me and is currently penning the third Infinity book. I’d thank Jen Lambe for helping us make Bluenose Paradox a reality, and I’d thank Jay Paulin and his wife for making the best little girl in the world who was a wonderful dinner guest of ours one afternoon at Hal-Con.

Here’s to 2014.

Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew, Engen Books

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