In late December we launched a new ad for the company as a whole on our website and Youtube, to celebrate the completion of our ten-year anniversary year. A lot of people liked it, and we thank them for their likes and comments, but we wanted to take a second to point out one of the features of the video that had special meaning to us: The Six Lights of Engen.
Despite being started by one person and having a three-person board, Engen Books has always been a company based around a hub of collaboration and creatively. We wanted to express in the video that it was all these great, talented people coming together that made Engen what it is… so we had the Six Lights start separate and then come together as one, exploding into Engen Books.
Who are the Six Light?
Continue reading The Six Lights | Engen Books
For the last few years I have been using the term ‘World Building’ incorrectly. I always took it to mean the Tolkien-like appendixes and appendices that some authors chose to but in the front and backs of their books, often with maps and diagrams and schematics and character histories that had little to nothing to do with the story at hand, and which I often found exhausting.
However, my fellow author JJ King has recently educated me that this is not the case: World Building can simply be the slow process of letting the reader know what can and cannot happen in your world, a set of rules that you write by and provide information on on an as-needed basis, ideally.
I say that I used the term ‘World Building’ incorrectly because I only associated it with the sort of pedantic info-dumps I try to never do, but apparently this is just bad or expositive World Building. Good World Building can happen organically an naturally, giving small snippets of the larger world in book after book… much like I did with the Engen Universe. I was embarrassed to learn that such a pivotal term had escaped my vernacular, but such is life, we all have our knowledge gaps.
Since then I have spent months ruminating on all the wrong-answers I have given regarding World Building in my previous Writing Panel experiences. After some serious thought, I think I’ve come up with the ideal World Building scenario for those who have an exhaustive world and cast of characters in their heads without knowing where to start – and it works for any genre!
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Great reviews keep coming in for Jacobi Street, the August release from Matthew LeDrew! The Youtube channel Coates and Jackets did an excellent piece on it (above), and a reader named Jeff wrote the following insightful piece on Goodreads on October 30 2017:
Full disclosure: I’ve never read anything in the Engen Universe before, nor anything by Matthew Ledrew for that matter, save for his three entries in Sci-Fi From The Rock (2016). Also, my only interactions with the author were observing him at the last few The Most Dysfunctional Writing Panel Ever panels at Sci-Fi On The Rock (and I hope he’s recovered from his laryngitis).
Given all the above, I was a tad trepidatious going into this offering; would I be lost without prior EU knowledge? Can this guy really write an interesting horror story?
The answers to those questions are a resounding no and absolutely, respectively. Continue reading Great reviews keep coming in for Jacobi Street!
This might have to be my final post under the ‘Distractions’ banner, if only because I will, very soon, not be able to abide distractions anymore. That is to say, as of January 1 2018, I will be going Full-Time writing and publishing through Engen Books.
This is a massive step forward for me personally and for the company as a whole. We’ve made great strides in the last ten years helping to build ourselves as Atlantic Canada’s premier small-press, indie, and genre publisher. We’ve taken on a massive amount of new projects and new authors which has helped expand our library exponentially. This is going to give me the time to really pour gasoline on that process. We’re going to be expanding into new areas and taking on new authors, as well as making sure our existing stable of amazing talent like Ali House, Ellen Curtis, Amanda Labonté, and Paul Carberry remain focused and driven to succeed.
It isn’t, however, without risk. While we’ve had an amazing year in 2017 and this was a part of a 5-year plan for us, this wasn’t a strategically-planned and calculated move. This came out of necessity because of some upheavals in my person life that I’ll disclose as I become able. Suffice to say, we’re viewing this as a positive and bravely making this leap forward. 🙂
As a part of this building though, we’re going to be needing the support and patience of our fans more than ever. There are going to be some changes. First and foremost will be an increased focus on Kindle and other eBook formats, as there is very little overhead to producing fiction in those methods. We have a dedicated print fan base we know, and our most popular titles (like the ‘From the Rock’ anthology series) will still be available in print day-of release, but some titles may see a digital-only release for short periods of time so that we can bring our work to those who want it. Continue reading Going Full-Time | Distractions | Matthew LeDrew’s Blog
Jacobi Street is a uniquely dark and twisted tale woven by the extremely talented Matthew LeDrew. The main characters are easily relatable and you feel attached to them right from the beginning. The relationships and interactions of the main characters never feel forced or out of character while still remaining complex and natural at the same time. LeDrew has a natural talent for this type of character development and this talent has shined brightly in Jacobi Street.
LeDrew has done an astonishing job establishing the atmosphere of Jacobi Street by bringing the street itself to life. Jacobi Street will instantly be pictured by the reader and they will feel like they have been there before. Every city has a “Jacobi Street” and LeDrew draws the reader into the story by allowing us to picture ourselves in the back alley of The Menagerie looking at one of Sloan’s paintings.
The story at first allows the reader to get settled in and feel like we have just moved into a artist paradise on Jacobi Street. The story revolves around Bob, a struggling artist who works at The Menagerie. While at first glance Jacobi Street appears to be a beautiful place to live be we quickly discover that Jacobi Street is located in one of the darkest corners of the Engen universe. The mood instantly takes a shift towards the dark and mysterious nature, and this is where LeDrew ignites the readers interest. From the moment a mysterious painting enters The Menagerie, LeDrew starts to accelerate the tempo of the story and he does not let his foot off the gas even when we reach the end of this dark path.
While remaining true his unique talents that have spawned his own genre of horror, LeDrew has shown his growth and devotion to story telling. This will arguably be the darkest story from the Engen universe but even after ten years of writing LeDrew is still able to paint a horrifying tale with his writing.
It’s my birthday, and so I’m going to let myself do something I rarely do: I’m going to make a purely self-interested post. I don’t typically, in fact the “Distracted” series has waned a bit because I often second-guess myself as to whether or not a post is too self-indulgent, but today on August 19th I’ll let it go. I’m not discussing books or comics or anything close to my medium that could be considered remotely relevant to my position here at Engen Books: these are my top 10 favorite movies of all time. 🙂
I love film. If I could have done it DIY like I did with writing novels, I would have pursued it. I love every part of film, and I feel like I spend a great deal of my time unconsciously trying to turn novels into film, from a writing standpoint.
Bare in mind, “Favorite” does not mean that I objectively think these are the best films of all time: much smarter and more studious people can debate that. These are my favorite, which I judge based on a simple metric: movies I feel the need to rewatch over and over again, typically at least once a year.
10. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: A bit of a cheat, three movies, but I could never decide between them (that’s a lie: Fellowship) and, when I watch them, I tend to watch them all back to back. On the rare times I get catastrophically ill, these movies are usually my comfort viewing: I’ll put the extended editions on back to back and just lay in bed and escape into Peter Jackson’s vision of Tolkien’s world until I feel better. These are perfect films, in my opinion, are this is one of the few entries on this list I’d make a case yes, deserve to be in the ranks of the greatest films of all time (again, Fellowship, everyone loves Return for reasons that allude me).
However: The less said about the Hobbit trilogy, the better. Continue reading Top Ten Movies of All Time | Distractions
The main event! The one we’ve been teasing since we started announcing panels for the Avalon Expo Writer’s Block is finally here: Lit Wars: Tolkien v. King! 6:00-6:50pm Saturday August 26 at MILE ONE Avalon Expo!
Lit Wars will be an hour-long debate to decide, once and for all, which epic fantasy is better: Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings or King’s The Dark Tower. Teams of two will head off against one another to defend their respective kingdom and be crowned: the Lit Warrior!
For team Tolkien: Dr. Christopher Lockett, an associate professor of English at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Though his main area of specialization is twentieth century American literature, his enthusiasms (academic and otherwise) range widely into film and television, fantasy, cultural studies, and the ongoing definitions of humanism
And: Ellen Curtis, the editor of Fantasy from the Rock who has been a prolific fantasy author since the age of fifteen and currently writes for the Infinity series, Newfoundland Quarterly Online, and is a member of the WANL Board as Youth Representative.
For team King: Matthew LeDrew, the author of over a dozen books, including Questing the Dark Tower: An essay examining the concept of Stephen King’s Dark Tower as it applies to Derrida’s theory of the Pharmakon.
And: Heather Reilly, author of the Binding of the Almatraek series of YA fantasy novels, and
Moderated by Mike Connors of NTV! Watch as this Lit Nerds engage in Lit Warfare and… let’s be honest, it’s Matt and Heather against Ellen and a MUN Prof. You’re coming to watch Matthew get powned… in the nerd battle that will last from the time of Middle Earth until the crumbling of the Dark Tower itself!! Be there!!
Continue reading LIT WARS!! Tolkien v. King! Secret Revealed! | The Writer’s Block | Avalon Expo!!
Copies are ordered and will first be available at Avalon Expo, along with a simultaneous digital release for those who just can’t wait, but the early reviews for Jacobi Street are coming and have blown our expectations out of the water! But don’t take out word for it: look and see!
“Jacobi Street paints a vivid picture of everyday life in a bohemian neighborhood. By the time you realize everything isn’t what it seems, it’ll be too late to put the book down. While it might not be the place to settle down, Jacobi Street is definitely worth the visit.”
— Amanda Labonté, Call of the Sea
Continue reading The reviews are in: Jacobi Street looks amazing!
On May 31 we let it slip that we would be releasing a novel on August 25 at Avalon Expo 3, and now there’s finally a cover image to go along with the newest novel from Matthew LeDrew, Jacobi Street.
LeDrew returns to his horror roots with this supernatural thriller stand-alone novel that sheds light on the most dangerous and disturbing corners of the Engen Universe, one only lightly touched on until now in works such as Inner Child, At Midnight The Dawn, and Scarlett.
The novel will be the last to take place during ‘Black September,’ the loose collection of events that span Black Womb, Infinity, Transformations in Pain and the short story Revving Engen. Continue reading Jacobi Street cover revealed!
I thought it might be fun to shed some light on the creative process here at Engen Books by showing the things that didn’t make it to the production floor. It’s a truism that you can learn as much about people by what they don’t say as what they do, and I don’t think we’re any exception.
Ignorance is Bliss was the first Engen title to receive international distribution. The seven titles published before it were only available directly through us, back in the early days of small-press publishing when acquiring a distributor was difficult. As such, the cover was a turning point for the Black Womb series: we could stay with the black & white ‘horizontal window’ look we’d been using all along because of the limitations of our first printer, or we could shift to a new design.
Those who know we I’m slow to change on such matters, so it should surprise no one that my initial impulse was to stay the course. Thus was born the cover above: which remained black & white despite our new printer being capable of color, and retained the design scheme of the first five Black Womb novels, albeit with a slightly bigger size. Continue reading Rejected Covers | Ignorance is Bliss