Polaris 23 and Beyond!

Photo by Jaqui Tam
Photo by Jaqui Tam

Its been a busy summer over here at Engen Books, but now that things are finally starting to wind down we can catch up on the events that matter!

Polaris 23 went ahead as scheduled from July 10-12 in Toronto, Ontario. The Richmond Hill Sheraton was packed with Black Womb and NewFoundSpecFic fans, as well as many newcomers picking up the series for the first time!

Black Womb and Smoke and Mirrors author Matthew LeDrew was in attendance, teaching panels on art and publishing, as well as recording podcasts for comic fan-zines!

“Matthew was also a very funny guy and I enjoyed being on the panel with him,” Clare Moseley (writer/artist on The Otherkind and Matthew’s co-panelist on The Basics of Art for Noobs) commented on her blog.

Also in attendance were Stargate stars Claudia Black and David Hewlett, as well as Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Michelle Forbes, Iceberg Publishing author Kenneth Tam, and many more!

“It was a blast,” commented LeDrew, “It’s always good seeing Ken again, as well as meeting new fans and colleges. There really is nothing like it in terms of connecting with your audience.”

As for the rest of the summer, plans were finalized to launch the fourth book of the Black Womb series, Roulette at NWCC (Newfoundland’s West Coast Convention) October 24-25, 2009 in Corner Brook.

In addition, LeDrew announced the development of a new series from Engen Books currently codenamed Infinity. When asks to comment on the nature of the series, LeDrew only stated that “I can’t say much yet, other than this will be a book about everything. And I mean everything. It’s too big for just me, so I’ve brought on one of this country’s top young authors to help. It should be quite a ride.”

Sci-Fi on the Rock III : The New Age

Newfoundland’s premier science-fiction convention celebrated its third consecutive year this past weekend, with rave successes. Nearly a thousand people from the province and beyond came out to attend writing seminars, talk with authors, and meet with the stars of the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises.

“I thought the con was wonderful,” remarked science-fiction author Devin Drover. “It’s nice to see so many science fiction and fantasy fans together in one place and see everyone interacting so well together. There were lots of laughs, and lots of fun.”

Kenneth TamThe convention was kicked-off on Friday, April 24th with the launch of Kenneth Tam’s newest alternate-history novel, The Frontier. The launch, which was attended by a packed house of fans and convention goers, was emcee’d by Engen’s own Matthew LeDrew.

“It was an honor to be asked to do the launch,” LeDrew remarked on the experience. “I think it speaks to the general atmosphere of cooperation and comradery that surrounds science-fiction in general and this convention in specific. There’s no real competition between business present, just the general attitude that if one of us wins, we all win.

“Besides that, as a genuine fan of the His Majesty’s New World series, it was a thrill to be a part of this launch.”

Beyond the launch, festivities continued throughout the weekend and including book signings, seminars on writing, publishing and screenplay writing. Other guests of the convention included Star Wars‘ Peter Mayhew and Christian J. Simpson; as well as veteran Star Trek actor Vaughn Armstrong.

“The fan turnout was great,” remarked LeDrew. “We got a lot of new Black Womb fans thanks to the amazing attendance, and a lot of people from last year dropped by to pick up Smoke and Mirrors, which is always encouraging.”

Matthew spoke at eight workshops over the two day convention, some alone and some alongside fellow author Kenneth Tam, on a variety of subjects from the tools needed to become a writer to the do’s and don’ts of screenplay writing.

“Attendance in the writing panels was up this year, and we got to meet with a great group of people,” Tam said on his website. “It’s always a pleasure to meet with storytellers, whatever stage in the process they’re at.”

The Sci-Fi on the Rock writing seminars have provided fruitful material for Engen Books the last two years, a trend that LeDrew says he hopes to continue this year.

“I met Kenneth Tam when he spoke at a writing seminar at the very first Sci-Fi on the Rock, back in 2007.” explained LeDrew. “With his help I was published myself by the next year. We teamed up for seminars at the second Sci-Fi and in one panel I met both Devin Drover and Ellen Curtis, who I signed on during the interim and who were both published under our creator-owned imprint, NewFoundSpecFic.

“That tradition has continued. There were many promising authors in attendance during the weekend, some of whom I think you’re going to be hearing big things from in the near future.”

Ellen Curtis's first Convention appearance
Ellen Curtis’s first Convention appearance

NewFoundSpecFic was also in attendance during the convention, with its all-star authors Ellen Curtis, Devin Drover and Jennifer Graham. Fan reaction to the trio was phenomenal, with potential authors young and old wondering how they could join the NFSF team.

“There was some notable interest in NewFoundSpecFic, even from the people who didn’t buy it,” commented Ellen Curtis, author of both The Tourniquet Revival and Falling into Fire. “Apparently word is getting out to some of the high schools in town through other people who went. Hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come.”

Sci-Fi on the Rock III countdown begins!

Sci-Fi on the RockThere are only ten days left before the start of Newfoundland’s biggest science fiction convention! It’s the time of year again to get out your phasers and teleports for the third annual Sci-Fi on the Rock!

This year’s lineup includes Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars), Vaughn Armstrong (Star Trek), Christian J. Simpson (Star Wars: Episode 1) and author Kenneth Tam (Defense Command, His Majesty’s New World).

At the Engen table, Matthew LeDrew returns again this year to teach seminars on writing and publishing, as well as sign autographs and take part in the scheduled ‘author readings’ this year. He’s bringing back his two former successes Black Womb and Transformations in Pain, as well as introducing his newest novel, Smoke and Mirrors, to the general public.

Two authors that attended the writing / publishing seminars last year have already been published this year, so all young writers are encouraged to come!

NewFoundSpecFic will also be present at the con, with the various authors working in shifts to sign and greet fans. Try to collect them all!

Sci-Fi on the Rock III is being held at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s, Newfoundland. For more information, click here.

NewFoundSpecFic launch a success!

nfsf_groupshotNewFoundSpecFic received its official launch last Saturday at the University Center of Memorial University to raves from the student body and beyond.

Authors Jennifer Graham, Ryan Marsh, Ellen Curtis, Breanne Milley, Joshua Quinlan and Devin Drover were all in attendance to meet fans, sign autographs and generally immerse themselves in the experience of the launch.

NewFoundSpecFic has already garnered much media attention and anticipation of its release has been high for weeks. When asked to remark if the successful launch meant a NewFoundSpecFic vol. II, co-author Jennifer Graham remarked that there would.

The stories by Graham originally published in Newfoundspecfic have been reprinted in Sci-Fi from the Rock.

“We’ve been planning a second one before the first came back from the printers,” said Graham.”This project was a lot of fun, and there’s a lot of untapped talent out there.”

“There aren’t a lot of details we can share yet, but one big thing is that we will be opening up submissions to all of Canada!”

On the launch, Engen founder and author Matthew LeDrew commented that the continued success of the title will further guarantee the success of the franchise. “The scope of NewFoundSpecFic is enormous and yet open enough that even a casual reader can enjoy it. That appeals to us on many levels. The next stop for NFSF is the third annual Sci-Fi on the Rock convention at the Holiday Inn, where the entire Engen crew will be present as well as many more authors and actors. I look forward to seeing how NFSF does on a larger scale, and suspect it will do well.”

Looking ahead: Smoke and Mirrors

Over the past few weeks we’ve gotten a number of letters with regard to the highly anticipated third book in the Black Womb series, Smoke and Mirrors . Rumor has circulated ranging in topic from the books premise and plot (and of course, who will survive); to more technical questions such as what this title means for the series as a whole and perceived delays in publication.

“This book is very much a ‘third act’ of sorts,” commented Matthew LeDrew, author of the series. “There are plots that have been running through both Black Womb and Transformations in Pain, some of which people are aware of and some of which they aren’t. This book brings many of those plots to a close.”

Online speculation has lead many fans to wonder the fate of the series and its characters after this novel… with more than one post questioning the fate of Black Womb itself.

“The series itself is going strong. We’re nowhere near ready to call it a day yet. As to the fate of the characters, well, you’ll really have to read it to find out. I can tell you that anything can still happen, and that I really don’t think anyone has seen this particular ending coming yet.

“As for the delays with the production of the novel itself, that’s partly to due with me and partly to do with market fluctuation. It’s no secret that the economy in general and the publication economy in specific has been going through a rough patch at the moment, so the novel was delayed slightly to try and ride out that wave as much as possible. The delays that are my fault rest in the editing process. I failed to alert the editors to the fact that this novel was over double the size of the previous two, rendering their estimates for when edits would have been complete inaccurate. The good news is: Smoke and Mirrors is coming soon, and it will be worth the wait.”

Sci-Fi on the Rock II a massive success!

Matthew LeDrew signing
Matthew LeDrew signing

The second annual Sci-Fi on the Rock convention, the largest Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror convention in Newfoundland is happened on April 19th-20th (2008) at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s. This years con was a massive success for all involved, including Engen Books’ Matthew LeDrew.

“The convention was great, we really couldn’t have asked for better.” stated LeDrew, author of both Black Womb and Transformations in Pain. “We made a lot of sales, but more importantly we got a lot of interest going in the series. A lot of people were into what we had to say and that’s always fun.”

As part of being a guest of the convention, Matthew LeDrew hosted writing and publishing seminars with fellow authors. He stated that this was especially important to him, as that was how he got started one year previous.

“It’s really important to me to keep that tradition alive, to help new writers get their start. That’s what Engen was created for and it looks like we may get to flex that muscle sooner than we think. I can’t say much right now, but there were a few very promising people in the seminars that may be published through Engen Books in the near future.”

Also in attendance were Brian Downey ( The Lexx, Millennium ), Jeremy Bulloch ( Star Wars, Octopussy ) and Kenneth Tam (Defense Command, His Majesty’s New World ).

“It was a great night, and a great convention as well,” Tam said on the Iceberg Publishing website. “And being able to launch The Grasslands at home was a real treat.”

For more information on Sci-Fi on the Rock II, go to www.scifiontherock.com.