“There’s somethin’ wrong with the world today/ I don’t know what it is” crooned Steven Tyler of Aerosmith in the band’s seminal 90’s hit Livin’ on the Edge. Those opening lines, a cry against the changing and harsh world, are as true today as they were in that almost 30 year gone decade. Turning on the news, reading a Facebook article, or, perhaps, tuning into the Twitterverse will tell you “somethin’ ain’t right.” And while that’s concerning, even downright scary, the art that is produced in these times of hardship is often beautiful, uplifting, and a call-to-action. It tells us to make a change or else. The writers and editors of Engen’s collection of short stories, Dystopia From the Rock, have certainly embodied this movement. Continue reading Livin’ on the Edge: Engen’s Dystopia from the Rock | Jon Dobbin’s Blog
I went to a party a few weeks ago. It was a surprise party for someone’s birthday, but it was three weeks after their actual birthday, which meant it was really a surprise. It was also the type of party where I knew most, but not all of the people there, so throughout the night many an introduction was made.
I’m generally awkward when meeting new people (I’m terrible with faces and names), but for some reason the thing that threw me the most was being introduced as “This is Ali, she’s got a novel coming out.” Why would that throw me? Well, after someone says a thing like that, a polite response would be: “So, what’s your book about?”
STORYTIME!! This particular shoot I actually managed to plan this one in advance!
We were inside of Montana’s having a lovely feed with our darling Louisa, watching the daylight fade away. The plan was to wait until the sun was close to setting, but food was too good to pass up! We all rushed home with out bellies full, and dove into photo mode!
This shot was actually taken in our tiny downtown back yard, in front of our 3+ story high tree! I’m sat on an old pair of pants because night ground can be scary, and holding a heart covered in flowers, attached to a green vine which was super glued to a scar that was spirit gummed to by chest, the process began. Continue reading Heartstrings | Kit Sora’s Storytime
It’s been a long time since I wrote an ongoing series of articles on this, or any other, website. That’s weighed on me. Since graduating I miss the exercise of penning essays. I’ve even encouraged my fellow Engen authors to write ongoing writing blogs (namely Ali House, Brad Dunne, Kit Sora, and Jon Dobbin, all of whom you should check out). But I never have myself. Writing advice is one thing, all our authors can offer that… but publishing advice? Marketing advice? Social Media advice… that comes with a different set of expectations, and a lot of hurt feelings.
Part of my anxiety around this has become the subject of today’s piece, because I want to address the evident hypocrisy in it right off the bat.
Today’s advice is: don’t post negative reviews, especially of authors at (or near) your current level of notoriety. Continue reading Watch Your Reviews | Writing & Publishing Advice with Engen Founder Matthew LeDrew
Listen, okay, writing isn’t easy. Right now, I’m sitting in an uncomfortable chair, balancing a laptop and generous sized tea all the while trying to churn out words that make some semblance of sense. Not easy. Sometimes I feel like Tobey Maguire in that scene from Spider-Man when he grabbed all of MJ’s lunch on the tray before it splattered to the cafeteria floor (not CGI or special effects by the way. Tobey Maguire is just really method). As I was saying, writing isn’t easy. Perhaps the hardest part of writing, besides balancing laptops and hot beverages, is coming up with original ideas, because… there are none. Not really, not anymore. Don’t lose hope though, you’re ideas are still valid, they still work. You are still a writer. It just takes a little tweaking. Every writer has their own way of doing this, and I’m going to tell you about mine.
Ask yourself: What if? That’s it. Simple. Continue reading What If? Do the Mash, do the Genre Mash | Jon Dobbin’s Blog
One of the most confounding pieces of writing advice that gets thrown around haphazardly is “write what you know.” On the surface it makes sense: draw from personal experience so that your familiarity with the material lends a sense of authenticity and verisimilitude. However, when you think about it a little, it would seem to preclude a vast amount of possible stories. If you’re supposed to “write what you know” then how are you supposed to write fantasy, sci-fi, or even historical fiction. Moreover, many of those genre writers seem to do just fine without having personally experienced their own settings; Tolkien never set foot in Middle Earth.
I still think that “write what you know” has some currency, but we’ll have to dig into it a little bit to unpack its value. Continue reading Write What You Know: A case study of Tom Clancy | Dunne Blog
Dystopia from the Rock, the fourth volume in the modern From the Rock series, hit #1 Bestseller on February 21, 2019 at 8:22 AM Newfoundland Standard Time: a full month before its release. It reached #1 in the category of ‘Science Fiction Short Stories,’ and ‘Cyberpunk.’ As of this writing it has reached #1086 on the overall paid Amazon ca charts, #7 in Cyberpunk Science-Fiction, and #10 in Genetic Engineering Science-Fiction.
Dystopia from the Rock features thirty-two short stories written by a diverse mix of some of the best speculative fiction and thriller authors in Canada, including both award-winners, veterans of their craft, and brand new talent. Continue reading ‘Dystopia from the Rock’ becomes Amazon Bestseller in multiple categories!