So you just read the Whitecoat prologue from Sci-Fi from the Rock and you’re wondering, as well you should be: what happens next? Are there other Champions? How did the world get to be this way in 1940? What am I missing? the story was amazing and I need to know!
First, calm down. This is a perfectly normal reaction… you’ve just been KenTaminated. Sadly there is no cure, but there is a treatment: The Champions series by Kenneth Tam.
Since 1881, Britain, Canada and the United States have been colonizing another planet. Now it’s 1940, and tensions between the world’s Empires are mounting because the English-speaking nations enjoy exclusive control over a uniquely powerful resource: genetically-enhanced humans known as ‘Champions’. Lady Alex Smith is the newest Champion, and her best friend Stephanie Shylock has joined the British Army so they can work together. Along with Sergeant Mike Strong, a veteran soldier with a colorful reputation, these two must follow in the footsteps of their famous parents, and save the world… perhaps both worlds.
April 1-3 this year was the tenth consecutive year for Sci-Fi on the Rock, a science-fiction convention that has become one of the largest fan and volunteer-run conventions of its kind. The Sheraton Newfoundland Hotel was filled to — from my understanding — near capacity and it resulted in one of the best weekends for the convention ever, by many metrics.
But not all metrics are measurable. This was the greatest weekend Engen Books has ever had by many metrics, not the least of which: sheer joy and pride. I’m going to attempt to explain why in a very stream-of-consciousness way.
Life has an odd way — sometimes — of linking things back together in very cohesive ways. Life isn’t a narrative. Life isn’t narratively pleasing, everything circling back to form a complete story… except sometimes.
The return of Kenneth Tam to Sci-Fi on the Rock was one of those moments, on a personal level. Kenneth Tam was the first guest at the original Sci-Fi on the Rock in 2006, which is in and of itself an Engen Books anniversary. As Ken himself put it this year while we all attended the Most Dysfunctional Writing Panel: “Ten years ago Matthew LeDrew came to my panel on how to break into publishing and scribbled everything I said on a sheet of paper furiously. The next year he came back with his own company and novel. Now ten years later, we’re all in this room because of that.”
Which, to be fair, is a flattering lie. 😉 That is classic Ken Tam, because I think he knew I was planning on spinning all our individual successes back to him as the “root of all evil good” in the Atlantic Canadian small press publishing world, and turned it against me first. Kudos, Tammy. Kudos. (And thank you).
At one point I caught Ken surveying the Engen booth, chin clasped in his hand, in a look I mistook for maybe “where does the series continue” or perhaps “where are the links between series” and, after finishing with the customer I was speaking to, asked him what I could help him with. He said, if a far too-quiet voice: “Look at everything you’ve accomplished.”
He’s an amazing man whose accomplishments dwarf our own, but he still takes the time to think of others, congratulate others, and encourage others. If the measure of a man is in how he treats others, then Kenneth Tam is a giant among us.
Also, I give you the following greatest pun ever… “We have been Ken-Tam-inated.” [Drops the Mic].
Going from our oldest partner to our newest, I’m proud to say that we got to meet Sci-Fi from the Rock author Samuel Bauer as well. This young author — who wrote The Locket — seemed genuinely surprised who accepted he was in the indie-publishing community of Newfoundland and Labrador: sitting behind the table, talking about this work to fans, signing copies, and attending the unofficial tradition of the authors and artists picking a restaurant to go out to on Saturday night. Speaking on behalf of everyone Sam, the honor was ours.
This year’s Most Dynsfunctional Writing Panel Ever was our most-attended and filled our room to capacity, despite being at night, being 16+, being up against the at-least-equally-awesome Storytime with Fat Apollo, and featuring Matthew LeDrew. We feel we got more information across and were less dysfunctional than usual, and aren’t sure if that’s a win or a loss.
Authors in attendance included Ellen Curtis, Erin Vance, Kenneth Tam, Jay Paulin, and Scott Bartlett, all of whom also contributed to the Sci-Fi from the Rock 10th anniversary collection. At the event, we announced that next year Fantasy from the Rock was to be made a reality during Sci-Fi on the Rock 11.
Also I don’t think I can say much, but we have made great strides towards a visual representation of one of our stories with an artist I have been wanted to work with for some years. Nothing is set until it’s set, but I’m already getting sketches in and it seems like she will be a blast to work with. More on that as it unfolds.
There will be more posts on this wonderful event and the people there, but right now I’m still feverish with the con-plague and will post more at a later time. Y’all are lucky you got this month out of me. 🙂
Great job everyone who helped, and a big thank you to all our fans 🙂
Sci-Fi on the Rock 10 starts tomorrow, April 1, and last until April 3 at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland. In attendance will be Engen authors Matthew LeDrew & Ellen Curtis, as well as Engen Head-Editor Erin Vance!
The weekend is jam-packed with events and panels from your favorite Engen authors, contributors, and friends!
Friday, April 1
5:00-5:50pm in the Roddenberry Room: Book Launch for Sci-Fi From The Rock!
Celebrating 10 years of Sci-Fi on the Rock with this special commemorative volume featuring over twenty short stories by some of Atlantic Canada’s most impressive indie talent in science-fiction!
Saturday, April 2
11-11:50am in the Nimoy Room:
Finding a Partner in Crime: A Guide to Story Collaboration
with Jay Paulin & Ariel Marsh!
Struggling to find a co-writer or co-creator for your project? Having a tough time compromising with a partner? Join the author of Spooky’s Gambit to learn the tricks that have allowed us to thrive together for five years.
3-3:50pm in the Tolkien Room: Take Control: Why You Should Self-Publish Your Fiction and How to Do It
with Scott Bartlett, author of Flight or Fight
Full-time indie author Scott Bartlett will outline the benefits of independently publishing your fiction in today’s rapidly changing market and will also take you through how to do it. He’ll finish with a reading from book 1 in his new dystopian satire trilogy.
6-6:50pm in the Lucas Room The Most Dysfunctional Writing Panel Ever with Engen Books and friends
Join a convention tradition as an all-star cast of authors debate the merits of each other’s writing advice. Come with questions to ask, and stay for the laughter that ensues.
Sunday, April 3
9:30-10:20am in the Roddenberry Room Ambassador Series: A New Era in Publishing
Kenneth Tam, author of Whitecoat
Kenneth Tam was Sci Fi on the Rock’s first guest in 2007, and he returns for the tenth anniversary to offer a special workshop about the changing face of fiction publishing.
Author of more than 50 titles, with numerous books in the Amazon Top 100 lists, he has watched the publishing industry go through massive changes over the past 14 years –– and has helped his family’s independent house, Iceberg Publishing, thrive during this tumultuous time.
Sharing first-hand experiences about web, media, events, photo shoots, marketing, advertising, and of course, writing, he will offer up-to-date sights into the strategic reality of publishing. Anyone interested in writing and releasing their stories is invited to bring their questions.
11:30-12:20 in the Lucas Room A Totally Awesome Book Launch! Emma Awesome Hits the Stage in Her Print Debut Jay Paulin, author of Spooky’s Gambit
Dig comics? Dig rock and roll? Dig graves? Then join Ink’d Well Comics for the launch of Emma Awesome! Join us for a talk about comics (web and print), weekly schedules, and the creative process.
12:30-1:20pm in the Tolkien Room Small Press Publishing with Matthew LeDrew, Ellen Curtis & Erin Vance
Join Engen Books’ Matthew LeDrew, Ellen Curtis, and Erin Vance as they take you behind the scenes of operating a small press publishing company and bringing books to print.
Also all day, every day drop by the Engen Books booth to chat about books and catch our newest releases, including Sci-Fi from the Rock, Exodus of Angels, and Sinister Intent!
It’s been a long time coming, with information slowly being leaked here, on Amazon, Indigo, and Facebook, but we finally have the full, impressive list of the authors and stories featured in Sci-Fi from the Rock 2016!
In addition to editing the collection as a whole, Ellen Curtis has penned a heartfelt Forward chronicling her long and personal relationship with Sci-Fi on the Rock over the last ten years.
Kenneth Tam, a name familiar to all fans of science-fiction in Canada and known as the first guest ever to appear at Sci-Fi on the Rock returns for the landmark 10th year, bringing with him a prologue to Whitecoat, the first novel in his Champions series.
Jennifer Combden has given permission for us to reprint Sunny Days and Immune, out of print since a 2010 anthology collection. Jennifer is a meteorologist living in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She is a sponge for knowledge, and her love of learning is second only to her love of sharing that knowledge. She prefers to write science fiction, with a strong emphasis on the science, as a medium by which to explain complex ideas.
Kenneth Tam, a name familiar to all fans of science-fiction in Canada and known as the first guest ever to appear at Sci-Fi on the Rock returns for the landmark 10th year and is the final contributor to the Sci-Fi from the Rock 2016 collection!
Tam brings with him a prologue to Whitecoat, the first novel in his Champions series.
Since 1881, Britain, Canada and the United States have been colonizing another planet. Now it’s 1940, and tensions between the world’s Empires are mounting because the English-speaking nations enjoy exclusive control over a uniquely powerful resource: genetically-enhanced humans known as ‘Champions’. Lady Alex Smith is the newest Champion, and her best friend Stephanie Shylock has joined the British Army so they can work together. Along with Sergeant Mike Strong, a veteran soldier with a colorful reputation, these two must follow in the footsteps of their famous parents, and save the world… perhaps both worlds. For more, visit Championsof1940.com
Kenneth Tam (born 1984 in St. John’s, Newfoundland) is a Canadian science-fiction author. His best-known works include The Equations Novels and the Defense Command series. He is the son of fellow Canadian author Jacqui Tam. He is a graduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University, in Waterloo, Ontario. Kenneth has been an author guest at the Polaris Science Fiction Convention for six consecutive years, and a guest at the Sci-Fi on the Rock convention for its first three years.
He is the author of over 40 books spread over 4 different science-fiction series, and Engen Books is proud and honored to have his work represented here.
One of the reasons for the success of the first Sci-Fi from the Rock collection in April 2010 (and the Engen Anthology program as a whole) was the skillful and powerful prose of Melanie Collins, who proved to us that there were amazing authors out there without a venue that needed a place to shine and reach their fandom.
One of the greatest heartbreaks of the last six years for Engen Books has been seeing that title, and specifically that story, fall from print. In April 2016 that error is being rectified when Melanie Collins’s fantasy masterpiece Woven by the Thief returns to the printed page as a part of our 10th Anniversary Collection.
We thank Melanie for the privilege of working with her again.
When it comes to distractions (and that is the name of this blog after all) nothing eats up more of my time than anticipation: that time spent waiting for the next novel in a series or the next season of a show of the next movie in a franchise. Follow my train of thought here: if the next movie in my favorite franchise was out I could just watch it, a distraction from my work of no more than 3 hours. But waiting for it, wondering about it, watching trailers, reading predictions, fixating on it, and then watching it: that’s a much heavier time commitment that I should be using to write and edit.
With that in mind, here are my Top 4 most anticipated book releases of 2016. These are the books that have left me sitting in my chair wondering rather than sitting in my chair working, and time can’t tick by fast enough for them to arrive!
Making her fiction writing debut in the April 2016 collection is Engen Books’s own senior editor Erin Vance, with her short story Cast, Clutter, Pack, Murder, the first story in a new and exciting science-fiction universe!
Erin Vance is an editor and a graduate of the Memorial University of Newfoundland English Honors Program.
Erin wrote her Honors thesis paper, The Song of the Mockingjay, explored the nature of Katniss Everdeen’s agency in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series. She is creative, spiritual, and loves reading, writing, and anything to do with words.
Erin is an editor for Engen Books on a work-for-hire basis and is currently accepting proposals from more editing work in both copy and content from authors of all backgrounds and skill sets, subject to right-to-refusal and prices to be negotiated based on the amount of time each project is estimated to take. Potential authors wishing to work with Erin should write firstname.lastname@example.org and allow up to four weeks for a response.
Erin Vance is an editor for Engen Books on a work-for-hire basis and is currently accepting proposals for more editing work in both copy and content from authors of all backgrounds and skill sets, subject to right-to-refusal and prices to be negotiated based on the amount of time each project is estimated to take. Potential authors wishing to work with Erin should write email@example.com and allow up to four weeks for a response.
The Pitch: The approaching execution of Adam Genblade brings closure to the men and women of Coral Beach… until people start showing up dead in the same manor they did when he was at large. Now his victims are forced to keep him alive in order to get their answers… or accept that it may not have been him to begin with.
Note: Erin edited the 2015 international edition of Smoke and Mirrors only.
The Pitch: Thomas Horton is a good cop. Focused and unyielding, he has one of the highest solved-case rates in Los Angeles, a city with the highest unsolved murder rate in the whole of the United States. Despite his record, his resolve is questioned by the appearance of a young man named Xander Drew: a man equally as focused and determined, but who refuses to operate within the confines of the rigid California legal system.
When the egos and obsessions of both men collide, Horton enters a violent and dangerous world he didn’t know existed beneath the veneer of order and structure that he has based his entire deductive method around, forcing both men to question everything they knew… until they are both threatened to be dragged down to a place where everything burns, until all that are left, are Cinders.
In another welcoming announcement, Engen Books is proud to introduce Stacey Oakley and her short story, The Sorrows of War.
Stacey Oakley is an avid reader and writer, especially of fantasy. She has a BA in Art History & Visual Studies with a minor in Social Justice Studies from the University of Victoria and is currently in the process of completing a post-grad diploma in Cultural Resource management by distance, also from Uvic. While originally from Moncton, New Brunswick she’s lived on both sides of the country having spent a number of years in BC and only recently moved to Newfoundland.
In our series of authors announced for the April 2016 Sci-Fi from the Rock anthology collection, Engen Books is proud to announce two stories by Jennifer Combden, Immune and Sunny Days.
Jennifer is a meteorologist living in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She is a sponge for knowledge, and her love of learning is second only to her love of sharing that knowledge. She prefers to write science fiction, with a strong emphasis on the science, as a medium by which to explain complex ideas. When not explaining quantum physics to 12 year olds she can be found living on the (PG) Nerdcrafteria minecraft server where she volunteers, writing forecasts at work, and getting lost on Wikipedia.
Both stories had been published in the anthology collection that preceded Sci-Fi from the Rock through Engen Books, which has since gone out of print. Some stories from the collection have survived in other forms, such as Ellen Curtis’s The Tourniquet Revival and Falling into Fire (in her collection Compendium) and Matthew LeDrew’s Shoe, which has also been out of print since 2010.
We’re very excited to have Jennifer’s amazing two stories back in print!