Sci-Fi on the Rock 9: A Tide of Things to Come

Cinders - novelSci-Fi on the Rock celebrated its ninth year on April 25, 26 and 27 2015 at the Holiday Inn in the heart of St. John’s Newfoundland, and as always Engen Books was there to be a part of it!

This year’s headliner guests included Peter Williams of Stargate SG-1 and Frazer Hines of Doctor Who fame, and as always the Holiday Inn was filled with representatives from every corner of geekdom: Jay Paulin and Ariel Marsh brought their newest space-opera Super Galactic Space Explorers vol. 2: Royal Pain, featuring the SGSE taking on the evil machinations of Queen Kit-Kat. David Reynolds was there selling his books detailing the wide breadth of intellectual scope that his Problematic Press books cover, including his published master’s thesis: Superheroes: An Analysis of Popular Culture’s Modern Myths. And Scott Bartlett was there with his… is award-winning a genre? Well if it was, Scott would write in that genre. He was there with Taking Stock and Royal Flush, as well as taking any downtime to work on his newest novel, a science-fiction offering.

And of course, Engen Books released the first book in its newest series, Cinders.

The newest book to star the sometimes-hero Xander Drew, Cinders in the first book in the newly-christened Xander Drew series, first glimpsed at the end of last year’s short story collection The Long Road. The novel picks up as Xander has spent some time in Los Angeles, a place he first visited in the 2009 novel Roulette, wherein his one-man war against a mob boss lands him squarely pegged between good cop Thomas Horton and a driven vigilante.

“The book was met with great success, sales wise,” said LeDrew, author of the series. “It’s a great new direction for the Engen Universe. It might not seem like it right now, but this series is going to bring Xander’s character out from the shadows and into the limelight of the Engen Universe, and it all starts here. Now I just need to wait for the reviews to come in on GoodReads and find out what people really thought.”

Did you buy Cinders at Sci-Fi on the Rock 9? If s, be sure to add it on GoodReads!

Cinders (Xander Drew, #1)Cinders by Matthew Ledrew

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

There was a lot going on last weekend, and I’m sure the second I’m done this post I’ll realize I left something out. The Dysfunctional Writing Panel (not filmed, sorry guys), Ellen’s Early-Bird Panel, Fat Apollo’s Storytime, all that stuff is what makes Sci-Fi great. But the big big big BIG news from this year has to be that we’ve opened up submissions to anyone who has attended the con for next year’s tenth anniversary Sci-Fi from the Rock collection. — Matt LeDrew

As always with Sc-Fi on the Rock, more than just Matthew, Ellen, and Jay were in attendance in the way of Engen Authors. Steve Lake was also there, both in-person and represented with his new avatar, tiny Engen-Cube Stevie Lake, which can be downloaded here. Steve will be helping headline a big project in conjunction with the next Sci-Fi on the Rock Sci-Fi from the Rock anthology, from which we hope to have more artwork, stories, and fiction from the creative minds that helps make this wonderful event a reality: the fans and staff!

It gets bigger and better every year and continuously blows my mind. I’m happy to be a cog in the wheel that makes this festival possible every year, and I’m grateful to the people I work with on the organizing committee for all the help we give each other in getting things done. — Steve Lake

The Most Dysfunctional Writing Panel was a big draw once again this year, hosted by Matthew LeDrew, Steve Lake, and Jay Paulin. There were many laughs and not very much writing advice, by all accounts.

The bottom line: Engen Books had a blast and we can’t wait to see everyone next year for the big tenth-anniversary celebration of Sci-Fi on the Rock!

Sci-Fi on the Rock 9: The Stylin’ Lounge

Steve Lake, author of The Stylin' Lounge
Steve Lake, author of The Stylin’ Lounge

Well here we are, one week removed from the biggest celebration of all things geeky and nerdy that St. John’s has ever seen. I’m talking of course about Sci-Fi On The Rock. Man what a time. It gets bigger and better every year and continuously blows my mind. I’m happy to be a cog in the wheel that makes this festival possible every year, and I’m grateful to the people I work with on the organizing committee for all the help we give each other in getting things done.
I still can’t believe it’s only been a week and that as I type this I’m back working my regular job, instead of running around the Holiday Inn making sure things are running smoothly, or talking with friends I haven’t seen in a while, or meeting the guest actors. Three days out of the year my life gets very surreal and I love every minute of it. I’d do it year round if I could, and if my liver would hold up (kidding, just kidding… maybe) 

I didn’t see everyone I wanted to see, I didn’t get to do nearly half of what I had tried to plan to do, but as we all know, no plan ever survives the first encounter with the enemy. Being second in command of the event, I know I’m not going to get to see and spend time with everyone I want to, but I did get to meet up with a lot of people I haven’t seen in too long and gods help me, I even managed to dance, or as close an approximation as I can get to dancing.

I did pick up a couple of new, nerdy trinkets, some new games and I was even made into a cubecraft figure thanks to my friends Matt & Ellen at Engen Books. Also, I’m told that I was seen in at least 7 places at the same time, so I broke my old record and the space/time continuum in the process. I also ruined the soles of one pair of sneakers from excessive amounts of walking. You think I’d learn to use the elevator but no, I used the stairs as much as my knees would let me.

Nope, still can’t believe it’s over again. I didn’t check out until Monday afternoon and I walked around the hotel before I left. The place seemed so empty without tables in the halls, the committee running around and Easy Side Mario’s seemed so different without people in costume having lunch. That’s when the post con blues really set in. Seeing the hotel without the Sci-Fi crowds and not having anything to do. Yes I missed having to do 20 things at once, I’ve got my insanity, you’ve got yours.

There’s so much I want to say about the planning that goes into this beast and about the work we’re already doing for Sci-Fi On The Rock 10, but it’s drawn out and boring and no one wants to read about that. What’s that? SFOTR10 you say? Yes I say! The committee is already working on it, hell work started a couple of months ago near the end of planning for SFOTR9. Can’t get the committee to take any time off, myself included. The committee work so hard and care so much about Sci-Fi On The Rock, we don’t even notice we’re not getting paid. That’s right, we’re all volunteering our time and energy to try and bring something amazing to the public.

But Steve, you say, that’s crazy. Maybe it is, I’ll reply, but speaking for myself, I get paid something better than money. I get to see the smiles on people’s faces when they find that perfect something with one of the vendors, or I see a child’s face light up when R2D2 beeps for them or they get to hug a Disney Princess. I hear the laughter that goes along with friends playing a Super Smash Bros. tournament and see the excitement of a team winning Geek Survivor. I get memories, awesome, fantastic memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I’ve also met some of the nicest, most genuine people that it has been my pleasure to get to know. That’s what brings me back year after year, the people that make the whole experience awesome.

Along the way I’ve gone drinking with a Klingon, screeched in a couple of Ferengi and sang songs in a bad Irish accent with a Starfleet Lieutenant. I even had Chewbacca himself approve of my Wookie voice. Then there’s the guy who runs around in a shirt and cape made from Battlestar Galactica  bed sheets, giving out buttons, chocolate bars and soap. I said it gets surreal sometimes.

I think I’m rambling now and I don’t really care, it’s my blog and I’ll ramble if I want to. Actually no, I’ll end this piece here. But before I go, I’d like to say thanks one more time to everyone involved in planning and everyone who attended Sci-Fi On The Rock 9, you’re all an amazing bunch of nerds and I’m lucky to count myself among you.


Cinders - novelCinders
Matthew LeDrew (Author)
In this thrilling detective novel with a supernatural twist, seasoned investigator Thomas Horton’s rock-solid morals are threatened when a troubled arson case causes him to cross paths with Xander Drew, a dangerous vigilante. Xander’s unhealthy obsession with taking down a notorious crime boss named Stephen Fields will test the strength of both men’s character, bringing Horton into the ethical grey-area where Xander lives.

Download this thrilling book that reviewers say: “sizzles with mystery and crime drama”!

Title Information:

ISBN: 978-1926903231
Release Date: April 2015
Price (CAD): Print: $20 / EBook: $2.99
Page Count: 310

Related Titles

Sinister Intent, cover, Xander Drew series Faith The Long Road


“I’ve come to learn that Mr. LeDrew is more than just a writer. He’s an artist. I can feel how he visualizes each scene, each word, with careful consideration. This is a suspense thriller with a refreshing twist that left me wanting more and I can’t wait to dive in to his next book. If you’re looking for something to tickle your brain and take you outside the standard box that so many books force us into, then I highly recommend taking a stab at Matthew LeDrew’s cast library.
— Candace Osmond, author of Killer Me

“Set in the extreme heat of a Los Angeles summer, Cinders fairly sizzles with mystery and crime drama. With great attention to detail, Matthew LeDrew tells a tale that deals not only with good and evil, but also the gray area in between. Weaving through multiple perspectives, the story culminates in a satisfying conclusion that leaves the reader wanting more from these characters. A great addition to any thriller library.”
Amanda Labonté, author of Call of the Sea

To sum it up in one word? Incredible. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel beyond hints from The Long Road, but it certainly was an amazing ride. The way Xander has changed for this book and the way Matthew ties the story together through a few separate points of view makes for a really engaging story. In a lot of ways this book shows a real shift in Xander away from who he was in the Black Womb series and opens up a lot of doors for him to be able to change into a driving force that is more secure in himself then ever before. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. This feels like it was but a taste of what can happen next and makes me excited to see what Matthew does with this new spin on an old character.”
— Kelly, Goodreads, May 30 2015


Sci-Fi from the Rock: Some Guidelines

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

**Please comment with more questions, they will be added**

So right now we’re in the midst of preparing for Ten Years of Sci-Fi from the Rock, or so it’s tentatively titled in my head, and it occurs to me we might want to have a list of guidelines — really a kind of FAQ — that we can add to as time goes on and more questions come up.

What is the target audience?

For this specific collection, we’re going for an equivalent of PG to PG-13. That’s mainly because this book, more than the previous three, will be linked to the convention itself in that it’s celebrating 10 years of the Sci-Fi on the Rock convention.

So there will be acceptable levels of violence, gore, sexual content that will be judged on a per-story basis.

As an author, I’d very much encourage potential authors to not to take this restriction into account when drafting. Write what you want to write, fine-points of content can be debated during editing.

What genres will be accepted?

Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Hard Sci-Fi, Horror, Speculative Fiction… Anything “Generally Geeky,” as one fan said when I struggled to list all the possibilities. Generally Geeky is a good term.

Fan Fiction or anything involving copyright-protected characters will not be accepted. If you’re writing something that involves legal-to-use previously-created public-domain entities, like Sherlock Holmes or something, make that clear in your opening email to us so that it doesn’t get flagged.

Who can submit?

Almost anyone with any connection to the convention, no matter how tenuous.

This includes: convention staff, guests, attendees, friends of the convention, and people the convention or Engen invites to submit.

Got a story to tell? — Submit to Sci-Fi From the Rock!!

More Sci-Fi from the Rock
More Sci-Fi from the Rock

Got a story to tell?  We think everyone does! Especially the talented staff and attendees of Sci-Fi on the Rock! That’s why Engen Books produces the Sci-Fi From the Rock anthologies, highlighting short stories from our region, written by the staff a guests of everyone’s favorite Sci-Fi convention!

Next year is Sci-Fi on the Rock’s 10th Anniversary, and we’re going to ring it in in style with a new anthology celebrating the Con’s decade of history bringing science-fiction to our region…

… but Sci-Fi on the Rock isn’t just made possible by its staff and guests: it’s made possible by you! So between now and December 31st 2015, Engen Books will be accepting submissions for publication in the as-yet untitled 10th Anniversary Sci-Fi From the Rock from anyone who attends the Convention!

Stories published in the Sci-Fi from the Rock anthologies have copyrights retained by the authors to help local authors with stories to tell get their stories out there for people to enjoy! So you, the author, retain all creative control of your work: Engen only has the right to print it in the print and electronic format of this one anthology collection!

Entries should be no longer than 20,000 words in length, but there is no minimum limit. Flash fiction is accepted, short-form stories are accepted (no poetry in this edition, sorry guys!) We also accept in many genres: not just science-fiction! You can write in fantasy, speculative fiction, horror, thriller, hard science-fiction, or anything in between! (Please note: we want a broad range of stories, so please let us know what you might be writing in as soon as you do!)

Entrants will be entered in a draw to win a FREE PASS into the 10th Anniversary Sci-Fi on the Rock in 2016!!!

Send all entries to by December 31st, 2015, with the following information: Your Name, the title of your story, the genre of your story, and the length (approximate is fine). Please note: if selected we will need some further information on the author, please provide a reliable e-mail address. J

Or: Fill out below! (print clearly)

Name:____________________________     Approx. Length:___________________________
Story Title:________________________      Genre:___________________________________

Reliable email: _______________________________________________________

Distractions — Sci-Fi on the Rock 9 update

So really — if we’re being honest — this is the first post in my new blog Distractions. This will likely only make sense to people actually viewing it on May 3rd, 2015: for the rest of you I’ll have migrated over all my blog posts from my other sites to this one, and it’ll look like this blog has been going on since 2009 or so. It hasn’t been, but through the magic of changing the publication date on posts, it’ll seem like it. Tell no-one.

I thought long and hard about what to call this blog. Steve Lake already took The Stylin’ Lounge, so I couldn’t do that, although I am clearly stylin’. Titles are important, especially when you’re coming from a writing background like me. More than the first sentence or the first paragraph or even the cover, the title is your introduction to the reader. Mine had to do a lot of things at once, because this blog will inevitably be about a lot of things at once: not only writing, but I diary of sorts about Engen Books and the things I do for it, as well as just relevant things I do.

I picked Distractions because it says everything I need it to: it speaks to the writing process (and the greatest enemy of it: the wandering mind), it encapsulates just that little bit of madness that seems to bleed out whenever I sit down to write about my life, and of course: this is a distraction. This, writing for the website, even right now. Anything I’m doing that’s not writing is technically distracting me from writing.

What’s been distracting me from writing lately? Well mostly, everything you see around you on this page. I finally convinced my Engen Books partner Ellen Curtis to let me totally revamp the site into an engine that’ll allow me to post more easily, because I’m a very busy human and the long waits between posts are unacceptable. Hopefully this is the end of that. But as a consequence, I’ve spent the last week migrating the old website over to that new process. It should be done. If you’re finding dead links or anything else that’s kinda weird, please comment on the page that’s the issue to let me know, it’ll be fixed pretty quickly.

Sci-Fi on the RockLast weekend was the Ninth Annual Sci-Fi on the Rock, which was an amazing experience. This is going to possibly sound a little odd, but we get the most business done at these conventions: and I don’t just mean sales (although thank you to everyone who did buy our books, thank you so much). No what I mean by business is just the ease of having so many charged-up, excited, creative people all at arm’s length for four days. There really are few events that can process that. In the span of a few mere days, I managed to link up with Steve Lake and talk about the future of his Full Moon series, see Melanie Collins for the first time in ages and get her permission to upload her short story Woven by the Thief to GoodReads for free (coming soon, can’t wait), met an artist who may well be making the international cover to Smoke and Mirrors, met a designer and talked to them about the possibility of Engen jewelry (no, really) AND got to network with amazing talented authors like Scott Bartlett and Dave Reynolds. All that, and spend a lot of time working on synergy between Ink’d Well Comics and Engen Books while hanging with one of the nicest guys in the comic-book industry, Jay Paulin.

Actually, lets talk about Jay Paulin for a moment, because not only does he produce stellar art-house style graphic novels with the help of artist Ariel Marsh and support of his wife, the amazing and beautiful Dr. Heidi Paulin (who also happened to give me a lot of help with medical advice during my latest book), but he’s also an amazingly energized guy, and probably one of my best friends. There were many late nights chatting, and one great night at a great restaurant — Get Stuffed in Downtown St. John’s — where we all got together with the dry wit of Mr. Scott Bartlett and shared a meal.

Almost forgot: Jay and Ariel brought us buttons. With Black Womb on them! Amazing. 🙂

The Prologue to Black Womb, done by the amazing Ariel Marsh
The Prologue to Black Womb, done by the amazing Ariel Marsh

Ariel actually got stranded in the city for an extra day, which led to a great time taking her around to some touristy things around St. John’s, including: fog, fog, and of course, fog. Also: The Geo Center, which I learned has a downstairs, which makes sense. I always thought it was just a gift shop. We also managed to introduce her the Ches’s famous Fish and Chips, Signal Hill, and Jumping Bean Coffee. Ariel is an amazing artist, evidence by her work on Super-Galactic Space Explorers and Emma Awesome, and even some great art she’s done for me, see left. She’s a rare talent, and now I’m happy to say, a rare friend. 🙂

There was a lot going on last weekend, and I’m sure the second I’m done this post I’ll realize I left something out. The Dysfunctional Writing Panel (not filmed, sorry guys), Ellen’s Early-Bird Panel, Fat Apollo’s Storytime, all that stuff is what makes Sci-Fi great. But the big big big BIG news from this year has to be that we’ve opened up submissions to anyone who has attended the con for next year’s tenth anniversary Sci-Fi from the Rock collection.

We’ll be posting up the official guidelines soon, but as it stands anything “Generally Geeky” is going to be accepted. We’re planning a massive collection here to celebrate all the people that make Sci-Fi on the Rock a reality for a decade, including retrospectives on past years by Steve Lake, artwork for every story (which Ellen has elected me to produce, we’ll see how that goes) and what will hopefully be a simply massive amount of fiction from the greatest sci-fi lovers on the planet.

All said, Sci-Fi on the Rock 9 was amazing. Big thanks to Steve Lake, Tara Murphy and co. (they don’t get it enough) for putting on a great show I’ll be remembering for many, many years to come.