Category Archives: Fantasy from the Rock

The End is Near! Sort-Of…

At one of the panels for Avalon Expo, someone asked “How do you know when to end a story?”

I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I’ve had time to think about it and I thought I’d share some of my current musings. This is especially relevant since the big project I’m working on has spun so far out of control that I have no idea how it’s going to end…  Or if

Honestly, this advice is for me as much as you.

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So, how do I know when to end a story?

Short answer: Mostly intuition.

Long answer: There are a few ways…

  1. I’ve written the ending first.

Usually I know the end before I even start writing. Most of my short stories start out with that final moment, and then I just have to figure out what happens to bring me to that point.  It happened with The Gemini ProjectThe Invisible Boy; and the two horror stories I’m currently working on.

There were a few times where, when I got to the end of a longer story, I realized that the original idea no longer fit and it was going towards a new ending. But that’s not a bad thing – stories change, it happens. Sometimes you plan on killing all of your characters but a few of them end up surviving somehow. But then you write the final line (for the new ending) and you think to yourself “Yeah, that’s a fantastic ending line”. And all is right with the world again.

  1. I’ve written a really good end-line.

I love a good ending line as much as I love a good opening line. In fact, if I write a so-so ending line it bothers me to no end, because I know it can be better. It’s like looking at a row of pencils that aren’t quite perfectly in line….

Some examples are: Virginia Wolfe’s To the Lighthouse: “Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.” And George Orwell’s 1984:He loved Big Brother.” There’s something about those lines that are so final and yet mean so much more.

  1. The story I wanted to tell is over.

Once I wanted a project to have 25 chapters (for symbolic purposes), but when I reached the end of chapter 22 I realized that I was done. My character’s journey had ended. I’d said all I wanted to say about this particular story, and to write any more would do a disservice to the fantastic ending scene I’d just written. Yes, I wanted to continue with these characters, but I knew that it would be best to start a new plot, with new themes and ideas, instead of dragging this one out.

The Hobbit ends when Bilbo returns home; The Fellowship of the Rings ends with the breaking of the fellowship; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ends when Harry’s school term ends.  Even though their stories continue, their current task has ended and it’s time to take a breather before the next adventure.

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Typically, when I plan my ending, I try to resolve matters – either for better or worse. I don’t like leaving huge plot holes or dangling plot threads. It’s fun to have hints and intrigue and something to look forward to, but I’m not happy when the ending to a book is more like the ending to a chapter (yes, there’s a difference – As Fierce As Steel left me wanting more, while Mindspeak made me regret the time I’d spent reading it).

When in doubt, I think of who’s journey this is. Then I try to find a way to bring them to the end point – to let the character finally achieve their goal, or fail horribly, or realize that they need to change their way of thinking.

Originally, I had no idea how to end The Six Elemental. I tried to resolve what I could, while leaving certain things unsaid, but the end just didn’t feel end-y enough.  Finally I thought about Kit’s journey and how she had changed over the course of the story.  I thought about what I was trying to say with this story and made that the ending, so when people close the book that’s the impression they’re left with.

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And with that, I return once more into the void from which I came…

Fantasy from the Rock Review by Sambath Meas!

promo_cover7_webCampfire Folklores
by Sambath Meas

“Fantasy from the Rock” is a collection of short stories from authors who love telling folklores about humans, fairies, trolls, dwarves, elves, witches, and fortunetellers. There are a few stories that don’t quite fit, nevertheless; due to their strangeness, they still fall into this fantasy genre. What they all have in common, however, is their entertainment value. The authors are experienced writers and storytellers and obviously, they love their craft. Many of the stories reveal moral lessons, which folklores of ancient time had often taught us. Like human beings, magical creatures have their negative and positive sides. They’re flawed just like us human beings. Those who allow evil and negative spiritual forces to dominate them threaten other beings as well as the environment in which they live and share with others. My favorite stories are the ones with moral lessons. Thankfully, many are teeming with them. Continue reading Fantasy from the Rock Review by Sambath Meas!

Just read “In Defense of Our Home” by Christopher Walsh… now what? | Fantasy from the Rock

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If you’re one of the many people who picked up Fantasy from the Rock last month, you may have made your way through a few of the amazing and engaging stories within by now, including In Defense of Our Home and The City that Hid from Time Itself. If so, you’ve been introduced to the world of political intrigue and fantasy that is the Gold and Steel Saga by Christopher Walsh, and you’re likely wanting more of the world of Illiastra… so what’s next in the series?

Thankfully we have Christopher Walsh on speed-dial, so he can clarify the timeline of the ever-expanding Gold and Steel series anytime we want!

Dates are presented in the Triarchy system that most of Illiastra goes by. Triarchy is a 2000 year calendar that states after the two thousand years, the three gods will destroy the world in all-out warfare. This system is represented as [date] I.R.

1814-1815 I.R. – The Worth of Gold (forthcoming)


As Fierce as Steel1814 I.R.  – As Fierce as Steel

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.


Sci-Fi from the Rock (2016)1814 I.R. – Stealing Back Freedom

The Pitch: Nineteen short stories written by an eclectic mix of some of the best science-fiction and fantasy authors in Atlantic Canada, some of them award-winning veterans and some of them new to the craft for the first time. 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. Featuring the work of Kenneth Tam, Scott Bartlett, Jay Paulin, Alison House, & many more!

1462 I.R. – The City That Hid From Time Itself (Fantasy from the Rock)
950 I.R. – In Defence of Our Home (Fantasy from the Rock)

“You mean I have to do something?” | Peter J. Foote

Fantasy from the Rock and Sci-Fi from the Rock author Peter Foote laments hardest part of being an author: selling your work.

Peter J. Foote

I’m sure every author starts off thinking that writing that book, novella, or short story will be the hard part, I know I did, sadly I was wrong.

What I’ve learnt, is that everything after “The End” can be a struggle as well, and not always an enjoyable one. I write because I enjoy it, I like sharing a part of myself with the reader, conveying that hard learned life lesson. The written word is my preferred method, because verbally I come across as an idiot!

I don’t like the “selling yourself” part of the process, but that needs to change.

This weekend is the East Coast Comic Expo and my used bookstore Fictionfirst Used Books will once again be having a vendors table at the event. Selling my used books isn’t much of a chore for me, since most of the people who are looking at them are fans of the…

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Fantasy from the Rock review by Matthew Daniels

Matthew Daniels, from the rock author“Fantasy had its beginnings in mythology and, by extension, religion. In addition to faith, though, fantasy also challenges belief. This collection is very much in tune with both of these sides of fantasy. Social order, tradition, the world and our place in it, humanity, daily life, even the nature of stories — beliefs about all of these are challenged in Fantasy from the Rock. So celebrate the fairies and other miracles you find in its pages, but look for the challenges and reversals. It’s enlightening, and a great deal of fun” — Matthew Daniels, author of Healer’s Hoards and Living and Learning.

Engen gets Pulp-O-Mizered | Gallery

This week, our social-media feed went insane with our fellow convention-goers taking advantage of the Pulp-O-Mizer, a fun new online tool that allows you to create your very own retro-style Pulp Magazine covers… and if you think we’d didn’t make versions of our own titles, you really don’t know us well. Enjoy!

Mischief managed: SciFi on the Rock update | Amanda Labonté

I was asked to write an update about my experience at SciFi on the Rock last weekend, but where do I even start?

For someone who had never attended the convention in full, I think the biggest surprise for me was how fast the time flew.  I thought the hours at the tables would creep by. But three days have never gone so quickly.

Going back and forth between the Writer’s Alliance of NL (WANL) community table and the Engen Books table in the vendor room, I got to meet and connect with so many readers and writers. I have always believed speculative fiction readers are some of the most devoted in existence and, after last weekend, I am even more convinced. The enthusiasm from the attendees truly made the conference for me. Continue reading Mischief managed: SciFi on the Rock update | Amanda Labonté