Tag Archives: Conventions

NGX 2016 – Day 2

The second day of the 2016 Newfoundland Gaming Expo — NGX — held on July 25 2016, was just as eventful as the first: with astonishing cosplayers, great deals or retro games and systems (as well as a favorite of mine, the all-in-one style Retron 5) and lots of gaming events revolving around the registered non-profit Sandbox Gaming.

In addition to returning favorites like Erin Vance, Scott Bartlett,  Melanie Collins and Christopher P Walsh, all of whom appeared in the 2016 anthology collection Sci-Fi from the Rock, NGX afforded me the chance to get to know several of my surrounding vendors, including Sarah McCausland of Whimsy Witch Studios, who does amazing art that adapts characters from traditional geek lore into feline representations,  and Baddy Creative, a high-quality arts and crafts like vinyl images, knitting, and cosplay. We hope to be working with them soon.

For any who noted her absence, Ellen Curtis had a scheduling conflict with a family vacation and could not attend NGX on Sunday, July 24.

We hope to work closely with NGX and Sanbox Gaming in the future and can’t wait until next year!


Sandbox Gaming is a registered non-profit organization located in Newfoundland and Labrador. Sandbox Gaming has three objectives: 1) To raise money for children’s charities which promote play and development. 2) To build and sustain a gaming community in Newfoundland. 3) To dispel negative stereotypes about gamers.
The group was founded in November of 2010 by John Michael Bennett, Donald Reid, Scott Whelan and Jeff Smyth. They took their love of video games, and decided to do something great with it! Since then, the group has seen over 80 members come and go–some are still around since the very beginning. SBG has raised over $50,000 for charity. They raised over $5,000 for the Child’s Play Charity Organization, over $1,600 for the Janeway Children’s Hospital Playrooms, close to $21,000 for Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador, $8,800 for the St. John’s R.E.A.L. Program, $5200 for the St. John’s Boys and Girls Club and over $7,500 for Rainbow Riders.
Sandbox Gaming was known as Goodwill Gaming until September 2013.
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NGX 2016 – Day 1

Day One of the 2016 NGX (Newfoundland Gaming Expo is complete, and despite not being a gaming-based entertainment platform, Engen Books was there in style around with several other prominent authors, including award-winning talents like Scott Bartlett and author of the Gold and Steel fantasy saga Christopher P. Walsh.

“The gaming community and the community that enjoys and understands our fiction has a lot in common,” said Matthew LeDrew. “NGX is a great and welcoming convention. It’s leans towards gaming but is very all-inclusive, and we’ve seen a lot of our old friends and Engeneers from other conventions today. It’s a wonderful convention and I’m very grateful to Sandbox Gaming for arranging it.”

Engen shares some of its writing staff with the Sanbox Gaming team, including Melanie Collins (author of Woven by the Thief) and Matthew Daniels (author of Healer’s Hoards), both of which were featured in the April 2016 anthology collection Sci-Fi from the Rock.

Also in attendance were Ellen Curtis (author of the Infinity series) and freelance editor Erin Vance, who in addition to helming the aforementioned Sci-Fi from the Rock anthology has also done work on Cinders, As Fierce as Steel, and Exodus of Angels.

We’re hoping for an even bigger turnout tomorrow! If you haven’t stopped by yet, come by the vendor’s room and check us out! Matthew LeDrew and Erin Vance will be there from 9am – 6pm tomorrow selling books, talking about writing, and giving advice on how to get published and entry into the 2017 Fantasy from the Rock collection!


Sandbox Gaming is a registered non-profit organization located in Newfoundland and Labrador. Sandbox Gaming has three objectives: 1) To raise money for children’s charities which promote play and development. 2) To build and sustain a gaming community in Newfoundland. 3) To dispel negative stereotypes about gamers.
The group was founded in November of 2010 by John Michael Bennett, Donald Reid, Scott Whelan and Jeff Smyth. They took their love of video games, and decided to do something great with it! Since then, the group has seen over 80 members come and go–some are still around since the very beginning. SBG has raised over $50,000 for charity. They raised over $5,000 for the Child’s Play Charity Organization, over $1,600 for the Janeway Children’s Hospital Playrooms, close to $21,000 for Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador, $8,800 for the St. John’s R.E.A.L. Program, $5200 for the St. John’s Boys and Girls Club and over $7,500 for Rainbow Riders.
Sandbox Gaming was known as Goodwill Gaming until September 2013.

Curtis & LeDrew to appear at Burin Expo

Saturday, November 21 2015 authors Ellen Curtis and Matthew LeDrew will be appearing at the Burin Expo at the Marystown Hotel and Convention Centre, located at 76 Ville Marie Drive  in Marystown, Newfoundland, A0E 2M0.

Burin Expo is a fun event for geeks celebrating sci-fi, fantasy, gaming, comics, and pop-culture, with workshops, gaming, and vendors.

Engen Books will be bringing the entire Black Womb series of books and tie-in novels, and sequels, including the 10-book Black Womb series, which will be on a special holiday-season sale, Cinders, light|dark, The Long Road, and Ellen Curtis’s Compendium.

The Black Womb Series was written by Matthew LeDrew and published between October 2007 and April 2014, and is composed of ten novels, one book of short-fiction, and one short story published in an anthology series.

Continue reading Curtis & LeDrew to appear at Burin Expo

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!

Big Engen Books News!

Ellen CurtisHey all, Ellen here! It’s been a looooong time since I’ve blogged or been super present in online Engen activities. That is about to change though! Put on the kettle, and let’s settle down with a cuppa and catch up!

I was blessed to begin my publishing career at a very young age; Infinity was published when I was 16. Getting a formal education to prepare me for a career in writing was still important to me despite this success, and so I pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Pursuing my education has been, at times, very frustrating. There have been many moments over the past four years where I have felt that my education has been a detriment to my attempts at pursuing my writing career. The sheer amount of time consumed by my studies left me with very few hours in the day to write fiction, and when I was able to write I often felt that I was ignoring other priorities in my life.

School was my first priority, and to support that I needed a day job, which had to be my second priority. Sheer exhaustion prevented me from focusing on much else, including my health. There are only so many times you can spend sleepless nights researching and studying, say “screw the gym” when you’re too tired to go the next day, and pick up a bag of chips and a chocolate bar on the way home as ‘fuel’ before heading to work and repeating the cycle before all of it catches up with you. I’m goal oriented to a fault; in my pursuit of my education I let the rest of my life fall to the wayside.

Continue reading Big Engen Books News!