All posts by amandalabonte

International Women’s Day and the entrepreneurial spirit

I wrote a post on my Facebook page recognizing the business women in my life and, particularly, my mom. I was asked to share those thoughts (with a bit more detail) here on the Engen blog. I hope you enjoy!

In honour of International Women’s Day I wanted to recognize the female entrepreneurial role models in my life, particularly my mom.

In my other day job, the one where I am not writing fiction, I own a business with my mom. We started out from almost nothing to build a business that employs over a dozen full and part-time employees (not including ourselves) and deals with over one hundred clients a day. But this isn’t a blog about our awesome business skills, this is a blog about getting a seat at the business table.

One of the most important lessons I got from my mom is that if no one will give you a seat at the table, then you need to build your own table. There are more men building tables, and often they get better seats at the table and that’s the more reason we need women to get involved. Especially minority women and women on the fringes either because of age, social standing, or other factors.

I feel like starting a business is a highly creative endeavour. And like other creative pursuits, it’s a richer experience when there’s a greater diversity of voices.

But starting a business is hard and I am not trying to make it sound easy. There are all sorts of barriers. I guess all I am trying to do is recognize the good work the women around me are doing and hope we can all support each other. Even if it’s just to say: “Good job!”

I don’t want it to be business as usual anymore, not when, if we all have a seat at the table, it can be business as extraordinary.

Writing marathons: Don’t take my word for it

I’m pretty excited about hosting a writing marathon in the St. John’s region this coming June. But while this is an easy sell for me, it may seem a little daunting for some. That’s why I decided to do an interview with writer Kaarina Stiff about her experiences with novel writing marathons.

Kaarina is a full-time writer and editor living in Ottawa, ON.  She has participated in three novel writing marathons and was the Young Adult category winner in the Toronto Novel Marathon in both 2015 and 2016. She was gracious enough to answer a couple of questions about the process so that I could share her experiences with potential participants. Continue reading Writing marathons: Don’t take my word for it

Cinders review by Amanda Labonté

Cinders - novel“Set in the extreme heat of a Los Angeles summer, Cinders fairly sizzles with mystery and crime drama. With great attention to detail, Matthew LeDrew tells a tale that deals not only with good and evil, but also the gray area in between. Weaving through multiple perspectives, the story culminates in a satisfying conclusion that leaves the reader wanting more from these characters. A great addition to any thriller library.”


Amanda LabonteAmanda Labonté lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she gets much of the inspiration for the characters and places about which she writes. Though she knew she wanted to be a writer since the eighth grade, it was many years before she finally walked into a creative writing class and found a new home. As the co-owner of an educational business and mother of two she spends much of her day with kids of all ages. They give her some of the best reading recommendations.

The 48-Hour Novel Writing Marathon

This June, a growing number of participants from the writing and business communities, are working on a novel writing marathon for writers and would-be writers in the St. John’s region!

Two years ago I attended a writing conference in Orillia, Ontario. I really enjoyed attending workshops and networking with other writers, but one of the things that really stuck with me was all the talk about novel writing marathons.

Prior to this conference, I had never heard of a novel writing marathon. Maybe you haven’t either. A novel writing marathon is pretty much what it sounds like. Writers gather under one roof and work on a brand new manuscript for a period of time (in this case 48 hours). The participants can work straight through, take a break and go home, or sleep under a desk. The only rule is that the work submitted at the end must have been completed during the marathon.

Now, other than 48 hours of dedicated writing, what’s in it for the writer? Well, at the end of the marathon, all participants are encouraged to submit their working manuscripts to a team of judges. Not only will you get feedback on your work, the winner will also get a chance to submit their full, completed manuscript to a publisher!

Who is the marathon aimed at? Any writer or potential writer who is looking for an opportunity to get a good start on a manuscript, wanting to network with other writers or looking for a break in the writing industry. The winner will be announced at a special event in August (announcement coming soon!) . All participants will be invited.

The cost for participation in this event is a charitable donation to the event’s chosen not-for-profit (TBA). There is no set minimum, so whatever amount you can get in sponsorship from family and friends will be enough.

Sound interesting? Join the Facebook event for updates and announcements, including when to register. facebook.com/…/amandalabontewrites/events

Hope to see you there!

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Why snow days are the best days (for writing)

Amanda LabonteAs a writer, I think there is something magical about a day when you can stay inside and block out the real world – both figuratively and literally if the snow is halfway up your front door.

Before going further, I do have to confess that I am a winter grinch. When the first hint of frost hits the air, I heartily join in the chorus of ‘not yet’. I refuse to pull out my heavy coat and boots until the snow sticks to the ground. I curse when I am already running ten minutes late and I go outside to find the car needs to be scraped. Again.

But then a day comes when everything closes. When the police ask all cars to stay off the roads. When the convenience stores run out of chips. And, if you are a writer like me and not one of those brave souls who has to work in an ER or 24-hour gas station, those days can be creative perfection. Continue reading Why snow days are the best days (for writing)

Call of the Sea Bookiversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of the release of Call of the Sea. This is my first novel, so the learning curve was steep but the process was very fulfilling but the journey of getting from my laptop to the store shelves was a long one.

I started writing Call of the Sea about eight years ago and I had no idea what I was doing. It took six years to write and submit to a publisher. Then it took another year for the publisher to get it to print. Then, eight months in, the publisher went out of business.

But everything happens for a reason, and that’s where Engen Books comes in. They not only took over the publication of Call of the Sea, but also the follow up novels in the series (coming out in April of 2018 and 2019).

So while there have been many twists and turns in the road so far, I am thrilled with how things are going right now and I am really excited to be working with all the awesome people at Engen Books.

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Hanging out at my first signing – a wonderful/terrifying experience.

“‘The Six Elemental’: a compelling page-turner!” | Amanda Labonté

“In a grim future where peace can never be taken for granted, we are introduced to Kit Tyler, an ordinary young woman who receives extraordinary powers. As the possibility of war looms with ever increasing certainty, we follow Kit as she questions her new abilities and her role in the coming conflict.

Blending the worlds of science and mythology, The Six Elemental is a compelling page-turner with a heroine we can all relate to.”

Amanda Labonté, author of Call of the Sea.