Category Archives: Sci-Fi from the Rock

Sam Bauer, author from Scifi and Fantasy from the Rock, to appear at Irish Loop Book Market

Sam Bauer, one author in Sci-Fi from the Rock and Fantasy from the Rock, is set to appear at the Irish Loop Book Market on October 7, 2017.

The event will take place at the Bay Bulls Regional Lifestyle Centre from 11am-5pm. The market will be your opportunity to pick up the latest and greatest literary works by Newfoundland’s best and brightest authors, who will be on hand.

Sam Bauer is a young writer from St. John’s Newfoundland. He gets his ideas from eating too much sugar-laden food, reading the works of H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe until 4 am, and transcribing the ensuing nightmares. Most, however, are unusable as they are frightening only to those who share his phobia of squirrels, spoons and the number 73. In his spare time, Sam enjoys Dungeons and Dragons, playing in the Music Collection Drumline and pillaging small villages with his band of fellow gentle, but misunderstood, Visigoths.

Sam’s first story, The Lockett, was met with widespread acclaim from the independent literature community. In the year since he has read it at venues across the country, begun working with an award-winning Newfoundland author as a consultant, and is currently working on his first novel.

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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…

Female Characters in Sci-fi and Fantasy | The Writer’s Block

51ptLF0akDL._SY346_The next Writer’s Block course we’d like to announce as happening during Avalon Expo is ‘Female Characters in Sci-fi and Fantasy,’ which is tentatively scheduled for Saturday August 26th from 1-1:50PM.

This panel will be essential to anyone looking to make sure they craft strong, reliable, and realistically-portrayed female characters into their genre fiction, a must in today’s market! It can be daunting — for writers of any gender — to get this delicate balance correct, partially because many of the traditions of genre writing are rooted in gender-norms that aren’t always reflective of today’s societies. How does one navigate the challenges of writing for today while respecting the greats that paved the way before you? The author-editor team behind As Fierce as Steel Christopher Walsh (the Gold & Steel Saga) and Erin Vance (editor of the From the Rock series) will help guide you through this path as an author… with a third special guest panelist yet-to-be-announced! Continue reading Female Characters in Sci-fi and Fantasy | The Writer’s Block

Press ‘Enter’ to Continue…

I didn’t write The Six Elemental with any sequels in mind. It sounds crazy to me now – that I put all this effort into creating a future world with a detailed history and never thought of another story for it (“Twenty-One”, in Sci-Fi From the Rock, was adapted from a scene that got cut early on). But, to be fair, I had doubts that I would ever finish this novel – I mean, I’d worked on it for over a decade – so the thought of writing a second was crazy.

But, on the other hand, I’d created an entire future world! Was I ready to just let it go? Surely there’s at least one more tale in there that wants to be told…

For a while I wondered if there was another story to tell… Was there something I had missed?

Then I realized that there was a secret I’d placed in The Six Elemental that I never told the reader. It’s not an obvious secret – it’s more of a secret in the personal history of one character, which explains some of their actions – but it’s there. Continue reading Press ‘Enter’ to Continue…

Matt Daniels returns in Fantasy from the Rock!

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Matt Daniels (left) at the launch of Sci-Fi from the Rock

Returning to the From the Rock team is the incredibly talented Matthew Daniels, whose story Healer’s Hoards was one of the many fantasy entries in last year’s Sci-Fi from the Rock that inspired this year’s volume and alerted Engen Books to the talent for fantasy writing in this province!

“The treatment of the classic “dragon with a horde” is cool, and I enjoyed the writing style thoroughly. I hope to read more by Mr. Daniels in the future.” — Sam Bauer, author of ‘The Locket.’

Matt Daniels first caught the attention of Engen Books at the open-source book launch for Scott Bartlett’s Finished with Life But Unable to Die, where his work was noticed by senior partners Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis for its vivid imagery and exceptional execution. He was asked to pen for the 2016 Sci-Fi from the Rock collection on the spot. Continue reading Matt Daniels returns in Fantasy from the Rock!

Engen Books available at Broken Books!

Sci-Fi from the Rock 2016
Sci-Fi from the Rock 2016

As a part of our buy local / support downtown initiative, Engen Books will now be available at Broken Books, the trendy coffee bar and bookshop of downtown St. John’s! Broken Books is a bookstore that offers up hand-brewed coffees and teas, baked goods, and quality books and magazines from some of the finest publishers around! Located at 183A Duckworth Street, right next to the War Memorial, it’s a perfect place downtown to chill out, grab a coffee and a snack at Fixed Coffee, and start your next favorite book. it’s open from 11am-7pm daily.

Because of limited space, Engen will be rotating the titles in stock. This month it’s this year’s surprise classic Sci-Fi from the Rock, featuring the prequel to The Six Elemental by Ali House, as well stories by Sam Bauer, Gold and Steel‘s Chris Walsh, Matthew LeDrew, Erin Vance, Jennifer Combden, renowned Canadian sci-fi legend Kenneth Tam, award-winning author Scott Bartlett, Tara Murphy, Jay Paulin, Melanie Collins, and the premiere story by both Matthew Daniels and Peter J. Foote, and much more! Not to be missed!

The collection is on sale at Broken Books now for $20, the same price as here on the Engen website and at our table! With the same amount of money you can support two great local businesses, have a great collection of new fiction, and feel good about your purchase! Pick one up today, and stay tuned to Engen Books as we announce future titles coming to Broken Books!

Just read ‘Flight from Dodge’… now what?

Sci-Fi from the Rock 2016
Sci-Fi from the Rock 2016

So you’re reading Sci-Fi from the Rock you just read Flight from Dodge, the preview to the first book in the cyberpunk satire series Out of Dodge by Scott Bartlett, and you’re wondering: what happens to Carl next? Where does the story go from here? Where can I get the rest of the series?

Fear not, “Flight from Dodge” was merely the first small snippet of a multi-volume work that will keep you interested for the foreseeable future. The first two novels in the series, Flight or Fight and Craven New World, are both available now, with more on the way!

Continue reading Just read ‘Flight from Dodge’… now what?