First of all, thank you everyone for an amazing year. I know it’s not quite over yet, but we just surpassed a milestone: we doubled our web traffic from last year today, as we have every year the last four years, so I wanted to take the moment and say THANK YOU.
This has been an intense year. It’s our first year full-time devoted to Engen Books. We’ve opened our new office space, started the Kit Sora Flash Fiction Contest, and in general been a big part of the genre community, which we’re very happy and grateful for.
Here’s what you helped us do in 2018!
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.
So many people took part in the Kit Sora Flash Fiction contest that we couldn’t help but honor the pictures that inspired them in this lovely collection. It’s proving to be a huge success for us this year and looks like it will continue to be into 2019, and we cannot thank you all enough for your continued support on this project.
Touch Your Nose
This is a personal victory for me, as it’s a story I’d been wanting to tell for some time. I’m blessed to have a board and editor that allows me to not only be a businessman but also an artist, and I get to follow my passions to strange places every now and again. This one was definitely strange — the reviews bear that out — but I love it all the same.
The Pitch: With the start of senior year approaching, Alex and Lia struggle to find their place in an ever-changing reality.
As Lia develops a new appreciation for human culture and norms, Alex learns more about what it means to be a human in the merrow colony. But integrating into a new world is not without its pitfalls. In his search to understand his place, Alex will come face to face with hidden truths about his past that could drastically affect his future.
Thoughts: we were so happy to take on Call of the Sea the previous year, and continuing it with the next chapter was a dream come true.
The Gold and Steel Saga
As Fierce as Steel by Christopher Walsh
The Pitch: As Fierce as Steel is the inaugural entry into the world of Gold & Steel, a new fantasy series from Canadian author, Christopher Walsh. It is centered around the lives of two women, those of the Lady Orangecloak and Lady Marigold Tullivan. One is the leader of a brave group of young men and women in open rebellion of their government. The other was born into that patriarchal world and destined for greatness, as a trophy wife, a fate she will do anything to alter.
As Fierce as Steel introduces those characters and that of other men and women of the nation of Illiastra and beyond, who all have aims on seeing a new day dawn in their country. Look into a world on the cusp of its own industrial era, filled with robust characters of all walks of life as they navigate adventures and drama on their road to a new Illiastra.
Thoughts: Absolutely thrilled to have Chris Walsh’s Epic Fantasy as a part of our roster. With Legends and Tales Volume One added this year the series is already expanding and we’re all waiting eagerly to see what Chris does next.
The Pitch: College freshmen Liesel Andrews spends her days studying pre-med and her nights stitching up werewolf bites. As a human who has the rare capacity to see the vampires, werewolves and witches who live in the shadows, Liesel pays her tuition by moonlighting as a medical intern at St. Benedict’s Hospital for the Underworld. She figures she’s doing a decent job of balancing her two lives until Jax Halloran walks into the ER. Not only is he tall, dark and obnoxious, he’s also a high-ranking vampire who needs her help. A virus is threatening the vampire community and Liesel may be their only hope at finding a cure.
Thoughts: When an author as good as Amanda Labonté asks if she can do a second series, you don’t even hesitate. This series is a fun romp into the world of urban thrillers from a more fantastical, whimsical slant: it’s exactly the type of thing we were looking for, right when we were looking for it.
After Dark Vapours
Werewolves and a dark family secret in Northern Labrador! Growing up without his father, Tyler had no way of knowing the horrible secret that has plagued his family for generations. To free himself and find the cure, he will have to look beyond himself and into his dark history.
Thoughts: After Dark Vapours is exactly the type of book by exactly the type of author I like working with: heady, literary, and with great significance: but unafraid to be entertain first and remember that a book’s primary role is as entertainment. It’s the best of both worlds.
Arcade Rat by Nicholas Morine
The Pitch: In this futuristic VR nightmare-world, Kaine’s only chance to rise above his decrepit surroundings is the suicide cabinet filled with ASCII, Roguelike.
Thoughts: I’d been itching to work with Nicolas Morine since I’d read Kowloon Walled City, 1984. Arcade Rat is a great book. Like Brad Dunne he’s fiercely intelligent and unapologetic in his storytelling. It’s to the point and incredibly rendered, the type of tale I’m proud to have on the shelf.
Olivia Williams used Shakespeare’s timeless words to comfort herself through childhood sexual abuse, disordered eating, and a toxic relationship. She thought a summer studying in London in the legendary Globe theatre would be the healing learning experience she always longed for. Surrounded by new friends, beautiful culture, and budding romance, Olivia knows her life is about to change. She doesn’t expect this, though. Not again.
Thoughts: We added Chelsea Bee to our roster this year and she’s a ball of creative energy that is unmatched, always bringing flare and laughter to meetings. I read a version of this book that was previously published and knew I wanted her on my team, but I didn’t know we’d be lucky enough to get to adopt London Calling as well. Keep an eye out for Bee in the future.
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.
Featuring the work of Paul Carberry (Zombies on the Rock), Kelley Power (Winner of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters competition), Matthew LeDrew (Coral Beach Casefiles, Infinity, Xander Drew), Ali House (The Six-Elemental), an introduction by Dale Gilbert Jarvis, & much more!
Thoughts: last but not least we have Chillers from the Rock, the brainchild of Erin Vance and Ellen Curtis brought to life by twenty of the best authors in the business right now. This collection was a huge deal for us. It went Bestseller on Amazon before it was even technically released. This, more than anything else, was the introduction of the newer, more serious Engen Books. Fitting that it would be a thriller, like our first title was so many years ago.
There’s miles to go before we sleep and 2019 looks like it’s going to be even bigger. Thank you to all of you for making 2018 our best year yet, and a special thanks again to all of the following:
Kelly Rose, Peter Breau, Matthew Barret, Jennifer Shelby, Jeff Slade, Elizabeth LeDrew, Carolyn R Parsons, Andrew Pike, Peter Foote, Dale Jarvis, Kelley Power, Teresita E. Dziadura, Paul Carberry, Anastacia Hopkins, Jon Dobbin, Bronwynn Erskine, Chelsea Bee, Sam Bauer, Ali House, Shannon Green, Michelle Churchill, Chantal Boudreau, Matthew Daniels, Maggie Carroll, Lynn Reicker, Eryn Heidel, Nick Morine, Kit Sora, Brad Dunne, Christopher Walsh, Amanda Labonté, and the greatest of thanks to Ellen Curtis & Erin Vance!