This past near has been interesting for me, nostalgia-wise, as Engen Books has been re-releasing my original 10-part urban thriller series as Coral Beach Casefiles with some wonderful covers by Kit Sora. As such I’ve been taking the time to go back and tweak and adjust some goofs in the original texts.
There’s some things you can only write when you’re young I think, and last month and this month were a very anxious time for me because they saw the release of Ghosts of the Past and Ignorance is Bliss… both of which have plots which revolve chiefly around children in peril, and one in which said child meets a (spoilers) very bad end.
This is the type of thing I would rarely do today, and even looking back on it I find it… squeamish. Have I lost my edge? I went back a re-read these books with a kind of half-grimace, because all I remember are the outcomes… but then I remembered, these were actually half decent books. I actually started to like the writing again and get back into the mindset.
All this begged the question for me: why was this plot necessary for young me? Why do kids die in fiction? Continue reading Why we kill [CENSORED] in fiction | Writing and Publishing advice from Engen Founder Matthew LeDrew
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
Engen Books is happy to announce that one of the established authors joining the 2019 Dystopia From the Rock team will be none other than Engen Books’ founder, Matthew LeDrew!
A native Newfoundlander, LeDrew holds an Honours Degree in English from the Memorial University of Newfoundland with a minor in Anthropology and studied Journalism at College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville, Newfoundland.
He has written twenty novels for Engen Books, including the ten book Coral Beach Casefiles series, The Long Road, Cinders, Sinister Intent, Faith, Family Values, Jacobi Street, Touch Your Nose, Infinity, The Tourniquet Reprisal and Exodus of Angels. Continue reading Bestselling author Matthew LeDrew revealed as a ‘Dystopia from the Rock’ author!
In late December we launched a new ad for the company as a whole on our website and Youtube, to celebrate the completion of our ten-year anniversary year. A lot of people liked it, and we thank them for their likes and comments, but we wanted to take a second to point out one of the features of the video that had special meaning to us: The Six Lights of Engen.
Despite being started by one person and having a three-person board, Engen Books has always been a company based around a hub of collaboration and creatively. We wanted to express in the video that it was all these great, talented people coming together that made Engen what it is… so we had the Six Lights start separate and then come together as one, exploding into Engen Books.
Who are the Six Light?
Continue reading The Six Lights | Engen Books
2017 was a crazy, nonstop roller-coaster ride of a tenth anniversary year here at Engen Books, but if anyone thought that we were going to shift down a gear in 2018 they guessed wrong! 2018 is looking like it’s going to to be the biggest year yet for Engen Books, with new titles, new authors, and new entire divisions of our company starting to peak over the horizon!
We can’t say much about some of these deals until the contracts are finalized and the ink is dry, but here’s a brief look at what we can tell you is in store from Engen Books in 2018: Continue reading Looking Ahead to 2018 | Engen Books
For the last few years I have been using the term ‘World Building’ incorrectly. I always took it to mean the Tolkien-like appendixes and appendices that some authors chose to but in the front and backs of their books, often with maps and diagrams and schematics and character histories that had little to nothing to do with the story at hand, and which I often found exhausting.
However, my fellow author JJ King has recently educated me that this is not the case: World Building can simply be the slow process of letting the reader know what can and cannot happen in your world, a set of rules that you write by and provide information on on an as-needed basis, ideally.
I say that I used the term ‘World Building’ incorrectly because I only associated it with the sort of pedantic info-dumps I try to never do, but apparently this is just bad or expositive World Building. Good World Building can happen organically an naturally, giving small snippets of the larger world in book after book… much like I did with the Engen Universe. I was embarrassed to learn that such a pivotal term had escaped my vernacular, but such is life, we all have our knowledge gaps.
Since then I have spent months ruminating on all the wrong-answers I have given regarding World Building in my previous Writing Panel experiences. After some serious thought, I think I’ve come up with the ideal World Building scenario for those who have an exhaustive world and cast of characters in their heads without knowing where to start – and it works for any genre!
The rest of this post can be viewed for as little as $1 for any of our Patreon subscribers! Click here to go to this post’s page on the Engen Books Patreon!
As announced previously, Engen is going to be kicking things up a notch with an all-new twice-monthly podcast starring Amanda Labonté, Ellen Curtis, and Matthew LeDrew! Each 60 minute episode will have three topics / segments: Writing Chat, Publishing Chat, and General/Reviews Chat!
The Write Project Podcast starts in November as a part of the Engen Books / The Tutoring Center’s NaNoWriMo 2017 celebration! Subscribe to the Engen Books YouTube channel and make sure and hit the bell icon when you do, and you’ll be notified when we upload new episodes! ❤
This might have to be my final post under the ‘Distractions’ banner, if only because I will, very soon, not be able to abide distractions anymore. That is to say, as of January 1 2018, I will be going Full-Time writing and publishing through Engen Books.
This is a massive step forward for me personally and for the company as a whole. We’ve made great strides in the last ten years helping to build ourselves as Atlantic Canada’s premier small-press, indie, and genre publisher. We’ve taken on a massive amount of new projects and new authors which has helped expand our library exponentially. This is going to give me the time to really pour gasoline on that process. We’re going to be expanding into new areas and taking on new authors, as well as making sure our existing stable of amazing talent like Ali House, Ellen Curtis, Amanda Labonté, and Paul Carberry remain focused and driven to succeed.
It isn’t, however, without risk. While we’ve had an amazing year in 2017 and this was a part of a 5-year plan for us, this wasn’t a strategically-planned and calculated move. This came out of necessity because of some upheavals in my person life that I’ll disclose as I become able. Suffice to say, we’re viewing this as a positive and bravely making this leap forward. 🙂
As a part of this building though, we’re going to be needing the support and patience of our fans more than ever. There are going to be some changes. First and foremost will be an increased focus on Kindle and other eBook formats, as there is very little overhead to producing fiction in those methods. We have a dedicated print fan base we know, and our most popular titles (like the ‘From the Rock’ anthology series) will still be available in print day-of release, but some titles may see a digital-only release for short periods of time so that we can bring our work to those who want it. Continue reading Going Full-Time | Distractions | Matthew LeDrew’s Blog
Black Womb, the original novel from Matthew LeDrew, has gained #1 Bestseller status on Amazon, in both the ‘Superhero’ and ‘Coming of Age’ Fantasy categories. The novel peaked at #86 on the Amazon.ca Free Kindle Store ranks. Engen Books would like to congratulate LeDrew on this achievement.
The novel peaked on September 24 2017, less than two weeks after Engen Books’ collection of Linda Blagdon’s poetry became the #1 Bestselling Canadian Poetry book, attracting the attention of both local and national media.
Continue reading Black Womb becomes a #1 Superhero Bestseller on Amazon!
Jacobi Street is a uniquely dark and twisted tale woven by the extremely talented Matthew LeDrew. The main characters are easily relatable and you feel attached to them right from the beginning. The relationships and interactions of the main characters never feel forced or out of character while still remaining complex and natural at the same time. LeDrew has a natural talent for this type of character development and this talent has shined brightly in Jacobi Street.
LeDrew has done an astonishing job establishing the atmosphere of Jacobi Street by bringing the street itself to life. Jacobi Street will instantly be pictured by the reader and they will feel like they have been there before. Every city has a “Jacobi Street” and LeDrew draws the reader into the story by allowing us to picture ourselves in the back alley of The Menagerie looking at one of Sloan’s paintings.
The story at first allows the reader to get settled in and feel like we have just moved into a artist paradise on Jacobi Street. The story revolves around Bob, a struggling artist who works at The Menagerie. While at first glance Jacobi Street appears to be a beautiful place to live be we quickly discover that Jacobi Street is located in one of the darkest corners of the Engen universe. The mood instantly takes a shift towards the dark and mysterious nature, and this is where LeDrew ignites the readers interest. From the moment a mysterious painting enters The Menagerie, LeDrew starts to accelerate the tempo of the story and he does not let his foot off the gas even when we reach the end of this dark path.
While remaining true his unique talents that have spawned his own genre of horror, LeDrew has shown his growth and devotion to story telling. This will arguably be the darkest story from the Engen universe but even after ten years of writing LeDrew is still able to paint a horrifying tale with his writing.