Category Archives: Newfoundland

Why snow days are the best days (for writing)

Amanda LabonteAs a writer, I think there is something magical about a day when you can stay inside and block out the real world – both figuratively and literally if the snow is halfway up your front door.

Before going further, I do have to confess that I am a winter grinch. When the first hint of frost hits the air, I heartily join in the chorus of ‘not yet’. I refuse to pull out my heavy coat and boots until the snow sticks to the ground. I curse when I am already running ten minutes late and I go outside to find the car needs to be scraped. Again.

But then a day comes when everything closes. When the police ask all cars to stay off the roads. When the convenience stores run out of chips. And, if you are a writer like me and not one of those brave souls who has to work in an ER or 24-hour gas station, those days can be creative perfection. Continue reading Why snow days are the best days (for writing)

St. John’s Mayor encourages consumers to “think local”

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

After the closure announcements of four different staples to downtown shopping this week, including Ballistic, Biped, Healy’s Deli and Templeton’s, the Mayor of St. John’s spoke out in a rallying cry to consumers this holiday season and beyond.

“It’s very unfortunate that [these] businesses have closed their doors, and in many ways it’s a reaction to the economic slow down that we are going through,” said Mayor O’Keefe.

O’Keefe went on to recognize the growing trend to do shopping online or at big box stores, commenting that shopping at venues such as these has siphoned money from local retailers.

This speaks to a trend that Engen Books has commented on before. Buying local keeps money in our local economy instead of sending it away: $20 spent online only does on person good, whereas $20 spent locally can have a ripple affect that provides for many people, and is part of the reason we have encouraged shoppers to take advantage of more local and non-box store options, such as Boom IT, Mirth Publishing, Midnight Tailors, and yes, Engen Books.

In a further statement, O’Keefe mirrored that ‘think local’ sentiment: “We can lessen that, we can minimize that, all of us together, if we shop more locally… In particular we advocate for the downtown because our downtown is very, very unique, very vibrant. We do what we can as a city and as a council to keep it in a condition where it’s filled with vitality.”

One such location downtown ideally located is Broken Books, a great alternative to big box book buying. It’s right next to the War Memorial and Fixed Coffee, great place to stop and do a little holiday shopping.

Read the full article on CBC here.

 

Get to know Paul Carberry, author.

paul-pic
Paul Carberry, with daughter.

There have been several new faces around Engen Books lately, as we’ve been signing on new talent prepping for our 10 year anniversary celebratory year. You may have also noticed the return of creepy, unsettling imagery to the mastheads of the Engen Press websites, something largely unseen since the Black Womb series ended several years ago. Both these things have one thing in common: Engen Books signing on Paul Carberry, iconic Newfoundland thriller author of the Zombies on the Rock series.

Carberry started his series in 2015, but by the end of 2016 had moved it to the Engen Books publishing company, which allows him freedom to write and get him book to a more diverse area of the province and country.

But who is Paul Carberry? Get to know him in his first Engen Interview!

Continue reading Get to know Paul Carberry, author.

Shopping Guide — Buy Local this Holiday Season!

As the Holiday season approaches, you might be in the market for a unique gift for the special people in your life: something unique and pleasantly surprising to them. It’s hard to know what people already have, be they co-workers you’ve been assigned as a Secret Gift-Giver for, parents, siblings, friends, or a significant other. As a solution, we suggest: buying local and buying indie.

Buying local can help ensure your money stays within the local community, ensuring that everyone in your region has the money to properly enjoy the holiday season worry-free. Cash remaining within its local infrastructure is the backbone of making sure an economy stays stable and strong. But, on a more fun note, buying indie makes for a greater chance that the item you’re purchasing will be new to the person you’re buying it for! Rather than trying to covertly sneak a peek at their bookshelf or find a way to get information out of family and friends, you can rest assured that locally bought, independently-produced titles will be new and exciting reads to whomever you’re giving them to! 🙂

Below we’ve compiled a list of items best-suited for the different people in your life! 🙂

Continue reading Shopping Guide — Buy Local this Holiday Season!

Sci-Fi from the Rock welcomes Peter Foote

In addition to established all-stars like Jay Paulin (Super Galactic Space Explorers) and Scott Bartlett (Taking Stock), April’s Sci-Fi from the Rock will feature the initial publication of several soon-to-be well-known Atlantic Canadian authors!

Bringing his short story “The Silence Between Moons,” Engen Books is proud to announce Peter Foote!

Born and raised in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, the son of an apple farmer, Peter Foote studied archaeology in university, is employed as a boiler and refrigeration operator, and runs a used bookstore out of his basement in his spare time.

Believing that an author should write what he knows, many of Peter’s stories are a reflection of his personal life.

“The Silence Between Moons” is Peter’s first published story.

Check out Sci-Fi from the Rock in print and digital formats April 1, 2016 and stay tuned for more announcements!

Award-Winning author Scott Bartlett in ‘Sci-Fi From the Rock’!

Thought Super Galactic Space Explorers was going to be the only big surprise? Think again! The 2016 10th Anniversary edition of Sci-Fi from the Rock will also feature the work of multiple award-winning Newfoundland author Scoot Bartlett of Mirth Publishing!

Scott brings with him a preview lead-in to Flight or Fight, the first book in his new series, Out of Dodge.

What’s it about?

Continue reading Award-Winning author Scott Bartlett in ‘Sci-Fi From the Rock’!

Atlanti-Con 4: A very successful distraction

Atlanti-Con 4 swept through the city of Corner Brook this past weekend, September 25-27 at the Corner Brook Convention Center and was once again wildly successful. It is to my deep regret that I missed this event in its first two years: it’s a great con run by amazing people, and always a ton of fun that is also — somehow — quite relaxing. There’s something of a very chill vibe that I get from Atlanti-Con that I do not get at other conventions on my standard circuit: Atlanti-Con is the cool surfer-brother of the Atlantic Provinces Convention family.

While many Engen authors, including Steve Lake (author of the Full Moon series of short stories), Darren Hann (author of Time Diamond, Holy Troll, and The Imagination Journals) and Tara Murphy (author of HagRidden) all came out together along with other members of the Sci-Fi on the Rock community, myself and fellow Infinity author Ellen Curtis came out a few days earlier on September 23, carpooling with award-winning author Scott Bartlett (author of Royal Flush, Taking Stock, and Finished with Life) to stay with friend and co-author Sarah Thompson and her wife Erica Green on the west coast of the province for a few days before the convention really geared up.

Light-DarkSarah and Erica are some of my very best friends. Their wedding last year was an amazing night with laughter and friends and fun that will be remembered for years to come, and they are wonderful hosts. Sarah herself is a person of many talents, not only working as an Employee-of-the-Year-winning announcer on K-Rock and helping at the Engen booth with sales, but also penning an amazing short story for the Engen light|dark anthology, Reamers.

After a few days of fun in the surprising amount of sun, with good food and lots late nights, Atlanti-Con took full affect in its new venue, with guests that included Michael McCluskey (also known by his stage name, Fat Apollo), voice-actor Erin Fitzgerald (most famously of the Monster High series), and comic-artist/author Richard Comely.

Now I don’t fan-gush much at conventions. It is very rare that I meet a celebrity that flusters me: I tend to be of the mind that we’re all people, and that getting excited over meeting a celebrity is a little silly: your life-partner, that’s someone to get excited about meeting. But while I don’t think I was nerding too badly at Atlanti-Con, I will say that meeting Richard Comely was a big moment for me.

Captain Canuck Compendium 1975-1981For anyone who isn’t familiar with the name, Richard Comely was the creator and main creative influence on the Captain Canuck series of comic books that ran from 1975 to 1981 and formed a large part of the cultural and pop-cultural heritage and history of Canadians in that time and to the present day. The first issue of Captain Canuck sold over 200,000 copies in 1975, and was one of the first Canadian super-hero comic success stories.

To put it into perspective: that was the same year that Giant-Sized X-Men #1 came out and relaunched the X-Men with Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and the like. And even then, many mainstream comics were not hitting the numbers that Comely’s comics were.

For me personally, I remember finding back-issues of Captain Canuck in a longbox in St. Johns. I didn’t know it then in those pre-internet days of 1990, but I had found almost the entire 14-issue series in one sitting. I remember reading through each issue, and Comely editorials at the end of each one, feverishly. I’d read superhero comics for some time, but even those set in Canada had been written and produced south of the border. Something about reading Comely’s evocative stories gave me, as a Canadian, permission to write and imagine writing in that genre. The series is available now in an Omnibus (called a Compendium) that collects all 14 issues, an previously unrepresented 15th issue, and several one-shot issues leading up to the recent relaunch. Everyone should check it out.

I picked up the 1975-1981 Compendium immediately, and later Richard was interested in what he was seeing across the hall at the Engen booth and proposed a swap: the first three issues of the new series for the anthology title light/dark, which highlights many of the Engen authors. A very good trade. Artist Kevin Kendall and I ended up getting in a bit of a nerd-off competition for who could get more Captain Canuck merchandise, as we’re both big fans.

Black WombSpeaking of Kevin Kendall, Atlanti-Con also was host to some of the best artists in the province, including Kevin’s Kendallight Studios and Kyle Callahan from Kyle Callahan Photography. Both do amazingly detailed work in very different ways, and the body of their work is often stunning. Atlanti-Con is always great for building connections and relationships: I met Kevin at a Convention on the West Coast in 2009, and he ended up doing the cover art for the revamped international edition of Black Womb for us. Keep your ears open for more collaborations between Engen and Kendallight Studios in the future, as well as with Kyle Callahan Photography.

Engen Books sold well as always, with the new-to-the-West-Coast Cinders and Infinity being the best sellers. We can’t wait to start getting feedback from the wonderful, creative people we met at Atlanti-Con this year: art isn’t art without input from the viewer!

Here’s to another great year at Atlanti-Con next year! Special shout-out to Scott Bartlett for driving this year and getting the three of us there (and back) safe and sound in an environmentally-friendly way! 🙂

Never Look Back!