We were going to keep it secret, but Ellen Curtis spilled the beans to a local YouTuber at a recent show, so it seems like we should maybe get out ahead of this one. 😉
At Sci-Fi on the Rock 11, to help celebrate our 10th anniversary, Engen Books will be releasing the first of 3 Black Womb hardcover Ultimate Collection editions.
These massive hardcovers will collect entire Black Womb storyarcs, with the first edition collecting Black Womb, Transformations in Pain, and Smoke and Mirrors, forming the pivotal events of Xander Drew’s origins and introducing Engen, Adam Genblade, and Julie Peterson.
The collections will be available only direct through Engen Books and the author and limited to 100 signed and numbered copies, each with certificates of authenticity.
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Longtime readers of Engen Books might remember when, in the early days of ashcan-like editions published in Pocket Paperback editions by Calgary-based printer Blitzprint, the back covers of the first five books in the Black Womb series looked like this one, on the left.
The covers were simple: plain black background with white text, title above. Sometimes issues with the printer made them faded and illegible — such are the woes of starting out in publishing. But while we’ve improved immensely, there are some things that have been lost along the way as we’ve gotten more polished: avant-garde ideas that traditional publishers wouldn’t try that made us stand out on the bookshelf. And that was, ironically enough, the back cover.
We had the interesting idea of not wasting the back cover with a hook or synopsis or out-of-context trailer to try and force the reader to buy: we wanted to bring them in with our storytelling ability and our sharp, witty dialog. So we did something very few other novels have done: we made the back cover a part of the story.
Instead of touting reviews or plots or spoilers, Engen back covers were short stories in and of themselves: short monologues written from the first-person (sometimes second-person) perspective of the characters within the story, as though they were being interviewed after-the-fact. Engen back covers didn’t waste space: we were given a venue to tell stories with, and we wanted to use every page and surface available to us to tell a story.
Smoke and Mirrors, the third novel in Matthew LeDrew’s Black Womb series is finally getting its international release, and with it comes one of the last of the updated covers, pictured left.
Originally published in 2009, Smoke and Mirrors tells the story of the trial of Adam Genblade, which 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.
The re-release of Engen titles produced under Calgary-based printer Blitzprint after the move to Lightning Source began in 2011, with the re-release of Ellen Curtis’s first collection of short fiction, Compendium. As of that time only Transformations in Pain, Smoke and Mirrors, Roulette, and Ghosts of the Past lacked mass-market paperback editions. Since then Transformation in Pain and Ghosts of the Past have been added, the latter at this year’s Sci-Fi on the Rock 9, leaving only the middle two remaining.
“The Kindle-editions really made getting the international editions a priority,” said Black Womb author Matthew LeDrew. “We’re about to expand into being able to reach a whole new audience, and we didn’t want there to be a big hole in the middle of the series narrative that was unavailable to them. That would have been marketing suicide.”
LeDrew went on to state that the international editions of Smoke and Mirrors and Roulette should have been released much sooner, but that the updates on them kept being pushed back in favor of producing new material.
The new cover to Roulette will be revealed soon, and international editions of both titles (and all active Engen titles) will be available internationally and on Kindle before the end of 2015.
There are only ten days left before the start of Newfoundland’s biggest science fiction convention! It’s the time of year again to get out your phasers and teleports for the third annual Sci-Fi on the Rock!
This year’s lineup includes Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars), Vaughn Armstrong (Star Trek), Christian J. Simpson (Star Wars: Episode 1) and author Kenneth Tam (Defense Command, His Majesty’s New World).
At the Engen table, Matthew LeDrew returns again this year to teach seminars on writing and publishing, as well as sign autographs and take part in the scheduled ‘author readings’ this year. He’s bringing back his two former successes Black Womb and Transformations in Pain, as well as introducing his newest novel, Smoke and Mirrors, to the general public.
Two authors that attended the writing / publishing seminars last year have already been published this year, so all young writers are encouraged to come!
NewFoundSpecFic will also be present at the con, with the various authors working in shifts to sign and greet fans. Try to collect them all!
Sci-Fi on the Rock III is being held at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s, Newfoundland. For more information, click here.
Over the past few weeks we’ve gotten a number of letters with regard to the highly anticipated third book in the Black Womb series, Smoke and Mirrors . Rumor has circulated ranging in topic from the books premise and plot (and of course, who will survive); to more technical questions such as what this title means for the series as a whole and perceived delays in publication.
“This book is very much a ‘third act’ of sorts,” commented Matthew LeDrew, author of the series. “There are plots that have been running through both Black Womb and Transformations in Pain, some of which people are aware of and some of which they aren’t. This book brings many of those plots to a close.”
Online speculation has lead many fans to wonder the fate of the series and its characters after this novel… with more than one post questioning the fate of Black Womb itself.
“The series itself is going strong. We’re nowhere near ready to call it a day yet. As to the fate of the characters, well, you’ll really have to read it to find out. I can tell you that anything can still happen, and that I really don’t think anyone has seen this particular ending coming yet.
“As for the delays with the production of the novel itself, that’s partly to due with me and partly to do with market fluctuation. It’s no secret that the economy in general and the publication economy in specific has been going through a rough patch at the moment, so the novel was delayed slightly to try and ride out that wave as much as possible. The delays that are my fault rest in the editing process. I failed to alert the editors to the fact that this novel was over double the size of the previous two, rendering their estimates for when edits would have been complete inaccurate. The good news is: Smoke and Mirrors is coming soon, and it will be worth the wait.”