Engen Special Report: Hal-Con

Matthew LeDrew @ Hal Con
Matthew LeDrew @ Hal Con

 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

Jay Paulin, Heidi Paulin, and  Matthew LeDrew at Hal Con
Jay Paulin, Heidi Paulin, and Matthew LeDrew at Hal Con

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

Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis at Hal Con
Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis at Hal Con

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

Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis at Hal Con
Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis at Hal Con

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.
R-L: Conor McCreeny, Walter Koenig, Kenneth Tam, Ellen Curtis, Matthew LeDrew, PJ Haarsma, Drakaina Muse.

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.”


Infinity by Ellen Curtis & Matthew LeDrew

In this superhero psychological thriller, an enigmatic man named Victor is assembling a team of people with special abilities to fight the growing dangers to our way of life. He recruits the telepath Theo Flaherty, the reality-distorter Chad Matthews, and the immensely powerful Abby Fisher. Despite their different worldviews, these four people must learn the difference between hoping for a better world and actually creating one — because destiny doesn’t wait for anyone.


Can they come together in time to stop the threat looming in the distance?
Download the book that reviews hail as “X-Men for theology students” today!

Title Information:

ISBN: 978-1-926903-00-2
Release Date: October 2010
Purchase: Amazon.com
Price (CAD): Print: $25 / EBook: $0.99
Page Count: 310

Related Titles

The Tourniquet Reprisal Exodus of Angels, cover, Infinity, Matthew LeDrew, Ellen Curtis toucheb


“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.”
42 Webs
July 2011

This book is an interesting and easy read. LeDrew and Curtis have created their own line of characters with super powers and I’m excited to see where they take it. This book lines up interesting potential and I’m eager to explore more.
S.S. Yasumi, Simple Pleasures
July 31, 2016

” For anyone looking for a thought-provoking thriller, this is mandatory reading. I rate this extremely high.”
Jay Paulin, Ink’d Well Comics
November 2010

“It was different from what I expected but at the same time that was what impressed me the most. I can’t believe how well [the authors] managed to blend all of those story lines together and how well you did it. And the fact that [there are] a group of major characters running around and they’re all fully developed believable people is incredible.”
April 28, 2013

“Super powers and poker. Mysterious school for gifted children, growing conspiracy. Take all these cliches and add in talk of spiritual infinity and the responsibility of those with power and place it into the hands of good writers and bam! Awesome read!”
Geeks v. Nerds
April 9, 2014

” “Destiny doesn’t wait for anyone” is the catch phrase for this book: it’s the perfect short description of what this book is all about. Infinity is the start of the story of an enigmatic man, Victor, who brings together four unique people from varying backgrounds after searching for those without limitations and who could truly change the world. The first book of the series follows Abby, Chad and Theo as they work to unravel their pasts. The three plots are separate, but they flow together very well… Do you like when a story leaves room for your imagination to run wild? Do you enjoy following different characters with unique backgrounds through a new world? Then Infinity is for you.I’d recommend checking out this book and jumping into the adventure!”
Jenna Harvie, Paper Droids
Feb 10, 2014

“I don’t read a lot of this genre, but I may have to start. This book was more “literary” than most literary books I’ve read lately. It follows three separate plots that move quickly and seamlessly, and you never find yourself bored or questioning what’s going on. There’s great dialog and amazing characters, each of them unique and well-developed. These seem like people. Fully formed and three-dimensional each, especially Abby and Chad.
There are some great moments scattered throughout and an amazing ending. There are no wasted sentences in Infinity… Everything means something, and nothing is by accident, even if it isn’t readily apparent on the first read.
In the contending for one of the best books published in 2010.”

February 19, 2012


West Coast Con: Take 2

Ignorance is Bliss
Ignorance is Bliss

October 23rd – 24th marked the second year in a row for Newfoundland’s West Coast Con (NWCC), and Engen Books returned with more titles, more authors and more announcements!

“The convention was really great.” said Infinity author Ellen Curtis. “It’s really like a vacation for us. Out of all the cons on our circuit, this one’s the most relaxed. We had fun.”

In addition to just having a good time, Curtis and co-author Matthew LeDrew took part in several seminars, panels and groups on writing, publishing and science-fiction in general.

“I like doing regular panels as well, not just writing-related ones,” said LeDrew. “I took part in Buffy related panels both here and at Polaris this year, and they’re always fun. I loved that show, and just about anything Whedon puts out. It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and, sometimes, get them interested in what we do.”

LeDrew’s sixth novel Ignorance is Bliss launched at NWCC, bringing Womb fans old and new in to check out the newest book in the Black Womb series: and fans were surprised with the changes.

“It’s out first book with our new distributor, Lightning Source,” explained LeDrew. “They’re a little larger, getting away from the pocket paperback size we’ve been using. They look wonderful.”

Physical changes weren’t the only difference, as fan’s got a chance to delve deeper into the mindset of Xander Drew. Tired of the beatings he’s been taking over the course of five books, Xander takes some much-needed time off… but crime in Coral Beach doesn’t go on vacation, and things quickly get out of hand.

“This is different for us in that the conflict isn’t internal, it’s external,” commented LeDrew. “It’s a good piece and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I hope people enjoy it.”

Also at the con were new Engen authors Melanie Collins, Steve Lake and Darren Hann with their book of short stories Sci-Fi from the Rock.

Ignorance is Bliss

Ignorance is BlissIgnorance is Bliss
Matthew LeDrew (Author)
#1 Bestselling Superhero series continues!
When a mystical and mysterious force descends upon Xander Drew’s town of Coral Beach with the ability to catch glimpses into the future at the same time a young boy goes missing under mysterious circumstances, Mike Harris must step up to fill the void left by Xander, who remains shell-shocked and withdrawn after the horrific events of Ghosts of the Past. Seeking respite from his failures as a young superhero, Xander turns his attention to his budding relationship with Julie Peterson.
Can Xander truly ignore his calling? Or will he sacrifice everything he holds dear in order to get a glimpse of a dark future he may be unable to prevent?
Read the book that The Northeast Avalon Times raves “is like an R-rated Buffy the Vampire Slayer, [with memorable characters]”!
Download the latest book in the Bestselling Superhero series now!

Title Information:

ISBN: 978-1-926903-01-9
Release Date: October 2010
Purchase: Amazon.com
Price (CAD): Print: $20 / EBook: $2.99
Page Count: 165

Related Titles

Cinders - novel Black Womb (Matthew LeDrew) Infinity (Ellen Curtis, Matthew LeDrew)


“My favorite aspect of the book is the handling of Mandy Peterson. Despite being a new(er) character, her outsider’s view and voice brings a breathe of fresh air into [the] series… She is eminently enjoyable and, to my delight, her journal entries in Ignorance is Bliss serve as a running narrative, tying the plot together.”
Jay Paulin, Ink’d Well Comics, October 2011

“LeDrew’s work is horror that emerges from the urban fantasy tradition — the introduction of a fantastical element into a true-to-life, modern setting.”
The Telegram, Aug 13, 2010

“I find the Black Womb series eerily compelling… while Coral Beach is like an R-rated Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its characters are memorable.”
Jean Graham, The Northeast Avalon Times
October 2010


Engen takes the World

Ignorance is Bliss
Ignorance is Bliss

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.

Polaris 24: Engen at Large

Infinity (Ellen Curtis, Matthew LeDrew)
Infinity (Ellen Curtis, Matthew LeDrew)

Engen authors Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis were present at the 24th annual Polaris convention from July 16th-18th 2010.

The convention was a huge success, bringing together such acclaimed actors as Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe), Mark Sheppard (Firefly), Lindsay Wagner (Bionic Woman) and Kai Own (Torchwood).

“I had a really great time,” commented Infinity co-author Ellen Curtis. “The convention was huge and had a lot to offer. I can’t wait to go back.”

There were also over twenty authors on site, including Nikki Stafford (Finding Lost), Julie E. Czerneda (Rift in the Sky) and, of course, Kenneth Tam (Defense Command).

“It’s always a delight to see Ken,” said LeDrew. “He’s got some new books in both the Defense Command and New World series’ that are calling from my bookcase even now. I also had a lot of fun doing a signing with Violette Malan, who has an amazing fantasy series I can’t wait to sink my teeth into.”

The Engen team did more than just sell books with this convention though, taking the opportunity to network and meet other creative-minded people.

One such group was the cast and crew of Mind’s Eye, a Synn Studios production starting this November and airing in weekly six-minute episodes online.

“They had one of the most amazing presentations I’ve ever seen,” said LeDrew. “I can’t wait to see what these guys have coming up in the future. It’s going to be huge.”

Special Report: Sci-Fi on the Rock IV

Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis at Sci-Fi on the Rock
Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis at Sci-Fi on the Rock

The convention season started with a bang April 17-18th 2010 with Sci-Fi on the Rock IV, the biggest and best for both the convention organizers and for Engen Books!

Sci-Fi fans flocked in droves to the beloved convention, with attendance reaching an estimated staggering 1500 this year, the greatest of any year yet. And it showed. With often standing room only in the dealer and show rooms, Engen writers and staff had a unique opportunity to make a real impression.

Ghosts of the Past launch

Ghosts of the Past, the fifth novel in the Black Womb series by Matthew LeDrew, launched to rave results at the height of the madness Saturday afternoon.

The launch was attended by a packed crowd, including fellow Engen authors Ellen Curtis and Melanie Collins, as well as local radio personalities Sarah Thompson and Cara Browne. LeDrew spoke to the gathered crowd, read an excerpt from his newest novel, and answered questions fielded from the audience in what he called his best launch yet.

“It was truly amazing,” commented LeDrew. “It’s been over two years, but its really starting to pay off, and you can see it in the launches. Our fanbase and readership are growing, to the point where launches are becoming the events that they’re supposed to be.”

Also featured at the launch was a tremendous cake, decorated into an exact replica of the Ghosts of the Past cover.

Matthew LeDrew reading
Matthew LeDrew reading

“The cake was astonishing, everyone loved it,” beamed LeDrew.

Sci-Fi from the Rock launch

Ghosts of the Past cake
Ghosts of the Past cake

Not to be outdone, Sci-Fi from the Rock countered on Sunday afternoon with their own book launch, featuring appearances from all three authors and a reading by Melanie Collins. (Recorded by Ellen Curtis, video available soon.)

Sci-Fi from the Rock has become a massive success for Engen, selling over half it’s initial print run in pre-orders alone, making it Sunday’s biggest seller.

“We’re genuinely impressed with the work of Darren Hann, Steve Lake and Melanie Collins,” said LeDrew. “We’re already in talks with Lake and Hann to produce novels all their own, and Melanie knows the door is always open.”

Curtis has book signing at Sci-Fi Con

Continuing Engen success stories, Ellen Curtis was present again promoting her first novel, Compendium. Continuing the tour she began in ’09 with NWCC and Chapters, Curtis was welcomed for the first time as a guest of Sci-Fi on the Rock.

“It was an amazing experience,” says Curtis. “The con gets bigger every year, and I was very happy to be attending as an Engen author this year. My only regret was not getting to see the Replication movie… but apparently it’ll be available online soon, so I’ll see it then.”