Tag Archives: Hal-Con

‘The Six Elemental’ launches in two provinces!

The Six Elemental, the breakout novel by author Ali House, launches this week and kicks off the 10th year of Engen Books. If that wasn’t big enough, the launch is happening in two different provinces, on the same weekend.

November 4-6 2016, author Ali House will be at the Halifax World Trade & Convention Center as a part of Hal Con, alongside other great authors such as Kevin Hearne, Maggie Stiefvater, and Christopher Walsh. She will have copies of her book on hand for sale and signing!

At the same time, on November 5 2016, Engen partner Ellen Curtis will be bringing the title, along with many others, to the Fall Craft Fair at the St. John’s Health Care Lions Club. Doors are open from 10am-4pm, and admission is just $2.00.

Whichever Atlantic province you happen to be in this weekend, be sure to check out this amazing new novel that’s sure to excite even the most jaded of readers! 🙂

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Engen rockets into its 10 year anniversary starting tomorrow

On October 31, 2006 the first (and now extremely rare) ashcan edition of Black Womb hit the Newfoundland independent publishing scene with just 500 copies. The publishing company, Engen Books, saw its full release in 2007 with the release of Transformations in Pain at the second annual Sci-Fi on the Rock convention.

In the 10 years since, Engen Books has become a force to be reckoned with in the indie publishing market. It has produced over thirty titles in that time and brought over two dozen Atlantic Canadian authors  to print. The original Black Womb series completed its 10 book run, as intended, as spun off into the Xander Drew series. The Infinity series was launched, as well as the broader Engen Universe with light|dark, and the From the Rock series, which highlights local upcoming and established talent side by side.

And we’re just getting started.

Continue reading Engen rockets into its 10 year anniversary starting tomorrow

The Six Elemental — Available for Pre-Order!

There is a legend that in times of great need, a person wielding the power of all six Elements will come forth to bring peace to New Earth. The myth of the Six-Elemental is almost seven hundred years old, and the possibility of someone having the power of more than one Element has been thoroughly disproven by science.

None of this matters, however, when Kit Tyler receives the power of all six Elements on her twenty-first birthday. Unsure of how the world will react, or how to wield her powers, Kit keeps this information a secret, swearing that she will reveal it when she is stronger and more worthy. After all, the only thing worse than being a walking myth is being a disappointing one.

Continue reading The Six Elemental — Available for Pre-Order!

Kraig Nicol @ Hal Con 2012

Art by Kraig Nicol
Art by Kraig Nicol

This piece is by yet another Ink’d Well Comics alumni, Kraig Nicol, once again proving the deep pool of talent that Ink’d Well has. Kraig’s been working with Jay Paulin on his charity anthologies and he does a great job.

Like all the artists in this series, I gave him the standard pitch and he came back with probably the closest sketch to what’s in my mind for the character of anyone yet. Whereas with others I can look at it and think of specific moments within the series when an image might have been captured from, this image really could have happened anywhere. It is the Womb. Not the Xander-in-control-Womb either, this is the full fledged Black Womb. You can see it in the eyes.

The teeth and the claws are great, as well as that one tendril whipping off the arm. It’s interesting how different artists handled the tendrils. Some ignored it completely, some focused on it, Kraig here has split the difference. It seems like this is right after the transformation has taken place, with the ooze having whipped its way around his whole body and then snapping in the join at the wrist again. Really top notch stuff.

I feel the need to thank all the artists, not just Kraig. It’s been a while since I’ve been actively writing Black Womb (not due to block, but due to the sheer amount of time other writing projects have been taking up). Since I got back from Hal Con I’ve been going mad with it, and in the last two days alone wrote almost 10,000 words. I think it’s because artists like Kraig inspired my thought processes back into the character.

This is a great piece, and it’s bigger than it looks here. It’s going on my wall. I’m glad I asked him to draw it.

Sandy Carruthers @ Hal Con 2012

Art by Sandy Carruthers
Art by Sandy Carruthers

This is the last post in my Artist @ Hal Con 2012 series of posts, and should be one of my last regarding Hal Con 2012 in general. As much as I loved it and as much as I could devote an entire blog just to the awesomeness of this convention and the people that run it, the ride has to end sometime. It’s amazing every year and I can’t wait until 2013, I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve.

I won’t say I saved the best for last. Art is too subjective to say this is the best or my favorite. There were pieces I loved because they were exactly what I would have had in mind, and pieces I loved because they were the opposite of what I had in mind. But this is definitely my favorite anecdote.

So across from me in the dealers room was this one little table with nothing on it but this cool little drawing table. There weren’t any pictures up around it or posters or flashy ads. Just a cool guy in an orange tee-shirt drawing things. I walked past him like eight times because I wasn’t even sure if he was doing sketches. Finally I stopped and asked him if he was doing sketches and he said yes. He was very personable and polite and came over to the booth to study all the art and prints I had of Black Womb. He asked about the character and the story and got all these great little tidbits, really dug in deep, then walked back to his drawing board and got to going.

A moment later I brought over his money and noticed an old battered graphic novel sitting on the table: Men in Black. There were two agents on the cover, and one looked a lot like Kay. The other was a skinny white guy, clearly not Will Smith. I stopped and kind of looked at it for a moment, then went: “Naw.”

Because it couldn’t be, right?

Well, wikipedia proved me wrong. This nice little guy way Sandy Carruthers, and he basically invented Men in Black. THE Men in Black. He did the art for the first graphic novel, the story that launched the entire franchise.

I couldn’t believe it. It absolutely blew my mind. I walked over to him and was like: “You’re YOU. I went to see a movie with your characters in not three months ago. Like, dude.” And he chuckled and was like, “Yep, I’m me.”

I still can’t get over that people didn’t know who he is. That I didn’t know. I mean there were dozens of fools walking around that convention dressed up as Men in Black for the costume contest, not realizing that one of the creators was right next to them. That they were passing him by without giving him a second look. I mean LORD. That’s like someone dressed as Spider-Man walking by Stan Lee’s table and going “Stan Who?” It boggles my mind. I just don’t get it.

So I was excited for this piece. Really excited. The guy is a legend. I read Captain Canuck, he was great for that too. The man is incredible. I stopped over when the day was winding down and asked him how it was going, and he said the craziest thing: “I’m getting there. Would you mind if I took it home and worked on it?”

I think my jaw just about hit the floor. I mean, that’s a commitment right there. Props to all the other artists on my blog here, but most gave their pic back to me in twenty-minutes or less. Nic and Ariel I know for a fact really gave it their all, but it’s a $20 sketch. They’re not supposed to be painting the Mona Lisa. And here was a professional, a legend, asking to take my sketch home to work on it.

I clearly said yes.

He comes back the nest day with the above sketch. Holy lord. It could not be more perfect. Some of it was his insightful questions (looking back, it’s clear he’s worked with writers before), and some a very happy accident. I mean, that looks like Xander. And then the middle character is a great representation of the Womb when Xander is in control (and kind of superheroic, still) and then the top one is full-on crazy Womb-mode. It’s just amazing. He couldn’t have known there were three stages to the character, and yet here they are. The proportions are perfect. It’s electric and exciting and the tones are perfect. He actually took something that was in my mind and made it better. I could never have thought of this pose and image myself.

Thank you, Sandy Carruthers. You are a true gentleman.

I gave him a copy of Black Womb in thanks. I hope he reads it and gets back to me. He’s such a nice guy.

Great memory.

Ellen Curtis @ Hal Con 2012

Ellen Curtis on the way to Hal-Con 2012
Ellen Curtis on the way to Hal-Con 2012

Another figure at this year’s Hal Con was Ellen Louise Curtis, author of Infinity, Compendium and The Tourniquet Reprisal and is my long-time partner in crime.

She’s also a wonderful foil for me. Where Conor or Jay encourage my insanity, Ellen can often be seen rolling her eyes at me just to one side or telling me to sit down.

I have for years been trying to get her to wear the Engen Books t-shirts to the conventions, but she refuses to. This year I dressed as what can be semi-seriously referred to as “an adult,” and what does she dress in?:

A Kill Shakespeare shirt. I mean my god, that’s just adding insult to injury. I think Conor McCreery planned this. I think it’s his revenge for riding him like a pony.

Everyone’s against me.

Ellen Curtis models a Kill Shakespeare Tee. Traitor.
Ellen Curtis models a Kill Shakespeare Tee. Traitor.

Return of the Hal-Con!

Nelson the Robot
Nelson the Robot

It’s been a year already, somehow, and Hal-Con is back to take the science-fiction world by storm October 26th – 28th at the Halifax World Trade Convention Center!

Engen Books authors will be there for their third year in a row, bringing new novels and merchandise for fans and newcomers to enjoy!

Authors on site include Matthew LeDrew (Black Womb, Gang War) and Ellen Curtis (Compendium, The Tourniquet Reprisal). Also in attendance: Jay Paulin (Gristle while you Work), who will be doubling his efforts as both Engen authors and Ink’d Well Comics creator!

Engen will be hosting and participating in several writing panels throughout the convention, so be sure and make it down to as many as you can if you’re interested in Engen or in writing in general! Panels include:

Writing Good Fiction Workshop
6:15pm – 7:00pm Friday, October 26, 2012
Workshop Room 4

Stargazer Soiree
7:00pm – 9:00pm, Friday, October 26, 2012
Summit Suite

Writing Wrecks
11:30am – 12:15pm, Saturday, October 27, 2012
Workshop Room 2

Young Author Panel
1:15pm – 2:00pm, Saturday, October 27, 2012
Workshop Room 1

The Most Dysfunctional Writing Panel EVER
2:00pm – 2:45pm, Sunday, October 28, 2012
Workshop Room 4

The Tourniquet Reprisal
The Tourniquet Reprisal

Engen also debuts, for the first time ever, The Tourniquet Reprisal: the sequel to 2010’s smash-hit Infinity. Infinity was released at the first Hal-Con and developed a strong fan-base there, who have been eagerly awaiting the sequel for two years.

Also being released in the new, international edition of Black Womb, revised and expanded throughout, the first of the original five Black womb books to be reinvented as such.

New-to-Halifax includes light|dark, an anthology featuring the work of two Halifax natives; Gang War, the ninth book in the much-beloved Black womb series; and The Man with the Hole in his Head, the first book from the newest Engen-author Kevin Woolridge.

Be sure to keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, and our WordPress to keep track of our up-to-the-minute photos, reports and changes!

See you all there and hope you have a lot of fun!