This week at Engen Books saw myself and Matthew back to school for the fall semester. Now don’t get me wrong, I love school, but there are things I’d rather be doing. Say, working on the tentative international re-release of Compendium for November. Or the upcoming Engen Universe book of short stories. Or the TR project.
What you can definitely expect in the coming weeks will be some brand new Engen Bytes, which we will be filming next Wednesday. As always, we’re trying to keep people informed about some of the new things we’re working toward.
Basically, I’m just going to be brief today. The early rise for school and the late nights of sick-Matthew (apparently the boss isn’t impervious to the common cold) mumbling and coughing are catching up to me, and quite frankly I need some time to relax! So, until next time, and until we get some Engen Bytes online, I’ll take off!
Engen Books plans the next leg of it’s in-Universe publishing schedule to be released this April, with the publication of an as-yet unnamed anthology collection with stories taking place within the Engen Universe of stories containing the Black Womb series, Infinity, and Compendium.
The anthology will feature many stories taking place throughout the Engen Universe, both with established characters and new ones.
Engen author Matthew LeDrew commented on his blog on September 2nd that he will be writing at least three stories for the collection, and that writing the shorts has opened up some new doors for him.
“Sometimes when I’m writing a short it’s less about story and more about atmosphere, which isn’t the way I normally approach things,” said LeDrew. “I’m usually of the mind that character, above all else, comes first; then plot, and then wherever the chips may fall. But as I write more and more short fiction I’m learning that these rules are often very different between the two.”
In addition to LeDrew, fellow Engen author Ellen Curtis is said to be contributing a tale of her own, as well as Ink’d Well Comics creator Jay Paulin. Other authors are pending, with both newcomers and established authors being rumored to be attached to the project.
“Until the ink is dry, I’m not saying anything,” said LeDrew. “But I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The next Engen-Universe release is Inner Child, the eighth book in the Black Womb series, to be released this November at the second-annual Hal-Con.
Sometimes I read stuff and it makes me blush. The following is a review of Infinity lifted from 42webs.wordpress.com.
“Quick survey: who wishes that they had a superpower? That’s right – everybody does. We all want to have some supernatural ability. Whether it be the ability to fly, teleport, or even the all powerful brick-vision, we all wish we had some ability that put us above the average person.
But what would the world be like if we actually had them?
This is an issue that was examined in the latest book from Engen Publishing. The book, called Infinity, is penned by the Engen all-star team of Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis. Infinity tells the tale of a small band of seemingly regular people who discover they are in fact nowhere near.
The book begins down a very traditional path, making sure to hit all of the required items on the ‘Urban Meta’ (42 Webs exclusive) genre checklist.
Enigmatic mentor: check
Mysterious School: Of course
Growing conspiracy: You betcha
The difference is in the writing skill of the two authors. Is lesser hands the story could have become bland and uninteresting but with the skill wordmanship (I swear that’s a word) we have a stellar story that doesn’t feel old or rehashed. The building mystery of Victor, Port Haven and the growing conspiracy is touched on in the book just enough to wet your beak and leave you wanting more much like how Lost or Morning Glory would tantalize us.
A crucial scene in the story, and one of my favourite, is a poker scene. Without giving much away our characters are participating in a crucial poker game with the life of an innocent in the balance. The trouble with many card games in books is that they tend to be very dry and drag on, the inevitable importance and tension of the game lost to the details. Infinity manages to keep the tension strong while not letting the game go by the wayside. It felt reminiscent of Ian Flemming’s writing in Casino Royale.
One of the benefits, and strengths of this story, is how the written work was separated. The two authors each had their own character that came together as the story progressed. The benefit was that the characters felt entirely different. Some times when a writer creates multiple characters they have a tendency to blend together, to be similar and to sound identical to each other (Joss Whedon). With the two authors sharing the writing responsibilities we see a stronger variation in the characters.
Another notable plus with Infinity is the smoothness of how the two writing styles fuse with each other. Often with joint projects one person writing style dominates the other but that isn’t found here. LeDrew and Curtis writing styles compliment each other’s perfectly, their individual characters becoming the strength that counteracts the others weaknesses.
All in all a powerful book that tackles more issues then just powers and conspiracies, it also tackles issues like spiritual infinity and the responsibility of those with power. This is a must for fans of X-Men and similar titles.”
People often ask me what it is like to write with another person, especially since that person is my partner. The truth of the matter is, it is at once the most stressful and most rewarding experience that I have had as an author. Matthew is one of my favorite people, and we are alike in many ways, so when we work well together, we work very well. When we clash, however, the fights can be extreme.
I refer to Matt as ‘The Taskmaster’ because he often is on my case about writing. We both lead busy lives, juggling the business, post secondary, our day jobs and day-to-day life. Sometimes, it is too much to come home after such a full day and sit down for three hours at my desk and write a few thousand words. Matt, on the other hand escapes to his computer after a long day. As such, we often do not produce the same amount of work in the run of a month, which admittedly must be quite frustrating for him when we’re operating under the system of writing particular sections of a novel, and I’m a fair few chapters behind where he is.
This stress aside, there is the added stress of agreeing on what exactly we will be writing ahead of time. All of our joint endeavors are meticulously planned chapter by chapter, so the planning portion of the novel can often be more labor intensive than actually writing it. Many times we will viciously fight over which character should play which part, what their motivations are for their actions, and ultimately if we should pursue a storyline based on conflicts with existing or planned material. In the end, it rests on how devoted each of us is to our ideas, and through these challenges we have learned how to better compromise as a couple. Our conflicts in writing remind us to not take criticisms personally, and to not make criticisms personal.
There are many upsides to writing with Matthew, if anything I have said leads one to believe otherwise. We feed off each others ideas, and through this interaction we are both challenged to deliver more and be more creative. Each work is more complex, more intriguing, because we each add our own layers to the story.
Engen Books is proud to announce the unveiling of its own line of unique products catered specifically to the online market: the Engen Books Signature Series.
Starting today, all Engen titles will be available under the Signature Series imprint, an innovative answer to the question of how to make the Engen WebStore remain relevant in the current online market.
“We’ve starting selling our titles on amazon.com, amazon.ca and chapters.com.” said Black Womb and Infinity author Matthew LeDrew. “We wanted a way to keep something special about the online Engen store. Something that could keep loyal fans coming back here and treating them for doing so.”
The aptly named Signature Series will feature the choice of ordering each title in Engen’s library as either a ‘regular’ edition or a ‘signature’ edition… that is, a copy of the novel with the author’s signature on it.
The feature is simply a matter of choice and convenience, and will have no bearing on the price of the item.
All Engen Universe titles will be available under the series, including Black Womb (and all its sequels), Compendium, and Infinity.
Sci-Fi from the Rock will also be available under the Signature Series, although not every author’s signature will be available.
“When dealing with three different authors and a fourth and fifth coming on this April, it becomes too much to hunt them all down for every order.” said LeDrew. “It’s likely that anyone ordering a volume of Sci-Fi from the Rock will be getting Steve Lake’s signature, but some fans may be pleasantly surprised to find they have two or even three signatures. But there will be no guarantees for the titles in that line.”
The Signature Series is an available option on any item in the Engen Store or the Titles section, both of which are accessible on the menu bar on the left of this page.
Sometimes, all the right things come together. Sometimes fate steps in and you get the right people together at the right location and at the right time and creates something magical, like lightning in a bottle.
From October 29th – October 31st 2010, the Engen Books staff was present for such an event during the first ever Hal-Con.
In a convention so huge and successful that it was covered by Haligonian, Inner Space, The Coast, Eastlink TV and several other news outlets and is being praised as the greatest science-fiction convention Canada has ever seen by those in attendance, Engen Books did its best to make its mark and make it as memorable as possible for those in attendance.
Hal-Con: Author’s Corner
Expertly laid out and organized, Hal-Con featured an entire dealer’s room specifically for authors called the Writer’s Corner. This was a convention-long event where fans and fellow writers could come to talk about their work, buy books, and share stories with peers.
From the Engen booth both Matthew LeDrew (author guest of honour at Hal-Con and author of Black Womb and Infinity ) and Ellen Curtis ( Compendium, Infinity) were in attendance. In addition long-time friend Kenneth Tam ( His Majesty’s New World ) and Jacqui Tam ( Standing Tall: A Daughter’s Gift ) were in attendance from Iceberg Publishing.
“I enjoyed an excellent weekend in Halifax,” said Kenneth, in a post to the Hal-Con website. “The HAL-CON: Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Comic Convention was a tremendous success for everyone involved, and was an event befitting such a great city.”
Other authors included PJ Haarsma, author of the Softwire series, and Nancy Metzger of Third Person Press.
“The Writer’s Corner was awesome,” said Infinity author Ellen Curtis. “It really gave us a chance to interact with people and fans and press on a real person-to-person basis.
Hal-Con: The Guests
The main guests of the evening though were Denise Crosby ( Star Trek The Next Generation, Dexter ) and Walter Koenig ( Star Trek, Babylon 5).
“Walter and Denise are among the funniest, most approachable people I’ve ever met,” said LeDrew. “Denise joked a lot at the group signing… you don’t expect someone like that to be as fun as she is, but she was having fun. I hope to see her again.”
Other guests included celebrity model Drakaina Muse and Kill Shakespeare author Conor McCreery.
“Conor is one of the most fun people I’ve met at any of these things. He doesn’t seem to realize he’s a celebrity. Kill Shakespeare is one of the best, most inventive comic books in years. Everyone should be reading it, and most people are.”
The Con was so big that some talent made their way there not as guests, but just to attend.
Local comic writer Jay Paulin of Ink’d Well Comics was present in the main dealer’s room and selling copies of he and artist Julie Heffernan’s amazing underground series Messiah.
” Messiah is one of those comics you have to read to believe,” said LeDrew. “Jay Paulin is an amazing writer who pours his soul into this series, and it shows. He and his wife were there, and they’re both so humble about what they do. I’m a comic fan from way back, and to have he and Conor around was just heaven for me.”
Hal-Con: The Panels
Ken, Matt and Ellen taught their standard panels ( Get Published, Writer’s Toolkit and Writer’s Circle ) to uncommon results.
“We always get some attendance, but this was incredible,” said LeDrew.
“There was standing room only,” elaborated Curtis. “Every chair was filled and people were standing besides, all just to listen to us and ask us about writing. It was an amazing experience.”
Kill Shakespeare writer Conor McCreery even stepped in half-way through Writer’s Circle to join the discussion.
“That’s what these things are all about, connecting with writer’s,” said Curtis.
Hal-Con: Infinity Launch
After two days of build, Infinity launched on Sunday, October 31st. (That’s Halloween, folks!) to much applause.
The launch featured a reading by Ellen Curtis and Matthew LeDrew to the convention hall, followed by a packed reception including comic writer / journalist Mika McKay ( Freaks with Feelings ) author Nina Munteanu and (there’s that name again) comic author Conor McCreery.
“The reception and launch was just a great joy for me,” said LeDrew. “About twenty minutes in it changed from polite conversation to an odd game of tag, and it was wonderful. Just people getting together to have fun and celebrate Infinity. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Hal-Con: The Awesome
R-L: Conor McCreeny, Walter Koenig, Kenneth Tam, Ellen Curtis, Matthew LeDrew, PJ Haarsma, Drakaina Muse.
There simply isn’t enough space to tell all the wonderful stories and things that happened at Hal-Con. There isn’t even enough space to tell the ones that just happened to our authors.
Robert S. LePine made a giant replica of Hal’s ship from 2010: A Space Odyssey that spun in the entrance to the con to the awe of all.
Engen Books very nearly sold out of every title they had in stock after bringing twice what they normally do to similar conventions.
Kenneth Tam battled for the fate of Geekdom in Geeks vs. Nerds celebrity edition… including a surprise phone call from Nathan Fillion himself!
Hal-Con surpassed all attendance expectations to the point where one could almost not move in the main suite and reception area.
Dr. Who fed Optimus Prime french fries.
And most importantly, Jennifer Lambe, Jen Johnston and Amanda Schreiber put off what was not only the greatest event in recent memory, but also the biggest weekend for Engen Books in its brief history.
“This is a weekend we won’t forget for a long time. Words can’t describe it. This article doesn’t do it justice… nothing can. You’d just have to be there. Come next year,” said LeDrew. “We will be back next year.”
It’s October, and that means big news for Engen Books!
Not only is it our third anniversary, but we’re celebrating with two new books and the long-awaited international release of all Engen titles!
Starting on October 23, 2010 with the release of Ignorance is Bliss at Newfoundland’s West Coast Con in Corner Brook, Engen titles will be available internationally in Chapters, Barnes and Noble, Coles and more. They will also be available on amazon.com, amazon.ca, and chapters.indigo.ca.
“It’s amazing,” said Engen founder and author Matthew LeDrew. “If you’d told me three years ago we’d be here already, I would have called you crazy. It’s truly incredible. We’re excited about Ignorance is Bliss… its the sixth novel in the Black Womb series, and we’re really gearing up for some good solid stories in the next few novels. I’m really happy with this one.”
West Coast Con will feature all five Engen authors as guests, including Darren Hann, Ellen Curtis, Steve Lake and Melanie Collins.
There’s no time to celebrate though, as the very next week (October 29-31, 2010) in Halifax, Engen will launch Infinity, the first book in a new title of the same name, penned by LeDrew and fellow Engen author Ellen Curtis (Compendium).
“I’m very proud of Infinity,” Curtis said. “I think it’s the best work either of us have done. We’re preparing an exciting launch at Hal-Con. I’m hoping people will be impressed.”
To watch the trailer for Ignorance is Bliss on YouTube, click here, compliments of Justin Foley Entertainment.
Stay tuned to Engen.com for more updates and interviews.
This Saturday saw a major Engen event right at home in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
After a busy 2009 touring schedule, the Engen team comes home for Ellen Curtis’ first solo book signing at Chapters (70 Kenmount Road) to promote her new book, Compendium.
“I was astounded at the success,” said Curtis. “We sold out so quickly, and the overwhelming amount of people who where interested in what Engen had to offer was amazing. I’m so glad we got to meet and talk to so many great people.”
Compendium sold out their stock at Chapters within minutes, prompting the popular chain to double their order of the collection. It’s currently in stock again and available for the rock-bottom price of $5.99.
Compendium was released in October by Engen Books and features three of Curtis’ short stories, including The Tourniquet Revival and At Midnight, the Dawn.
The author of the upcoming Engen novel Infinity was released today on the internet-broadcast television show Sci-Fi on the Rock TV.
Matthew LeDrew was interviewed as a part of their episode dedicated to the guests and staff of Newfoundland’s West Coast Con.
Host Steve Lake was commenting on having enjoyed the latest Engen release, Compendium by Ellen Curtis; to which LeDrew responded:
“We’re definitely going to see more from Ellen. Because, well… uh… well, now’s as good a time as any. We were so impressed with how well Compendium did that we’ve decided to launch the first book in the Infinity series which will be co-author by both myself and Ellen Curtis.”
When asked for further details about the project, LeDrew mentioned that it’s being looked at as the flagship series for Engen, containing work by both its main authors; as well that it would “remain in the same ‘universe’ as Black Womb, while not being tied to it.”
When asked for comment, Ellen Curtis herself said that: “Infinity is shaping up to be Engen’s most epic story yet. Working with Matt has been an amazing experience so far, and one I look forward to continuing”