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Hey everyone! You may have noticed, this blog is being slowly dismantled. The book-reviews portions of the blog have been moved over to The Book Closet website, while my writing how-tos and retrospectives have been moved over to my main Engen Books website. Both are powered by WordPress engines, meaning you can still subscribe. Please do! <3

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Vote! Sci-Fi from the Rock!

So, that last Sci-Fi from the Rock anthology title was in 2013, and that’s a darn shame. The main reason for this has been waiting for the next epic installment of the Full Moon series from Steve Lake, but that’s no excuse. So, Engen Books will soon be formally announcing a new Sci-Fi From anthology collection to be released at Sci-Fi on the Rock 2016!

We’re opening up the entry to anyone who attends and loves Sci-Fi on the Rock, and we need your help deciding on a title! Please vote or comment below, and make your voice heard! :)

Please note: if “horror” wins that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll have only horror stories, but it will likely mean a focus on those types of stories. The same is true of all possible titles.

Not sure what we’re even talking about? That’s okay! You can read Steve Lake’s short story “Legacy of the Full Moon” short story for free here on Goodreads!

Legacy of the Full Moon (Full Moon Series, #1)Legacy of the Full Moon by Steve Lake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 

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My ^Essay Writing Process

20120218-092917.jpg I can’t really take credit for this one. This was posted up on the projector by one of my Profs at MUN, but I’ve used it as a reminder ever since, so I figured I’d add it for two reasons: a) in case anyone else needed an essay guide, and b) so I could look it up myself without thumbing through my pictures on my phone. ;)

The Rules

1. Have a thoughtful title.

2. Be properly formatted.

3. Have a word count.

4. Cite your work.

5. Have page numbers.

6. Parenthetically (that means in round brackets) attach page numbers to quotations.

7. Don’t use the word “throughout.” Ever.

8. Be above the minimum word count.

9. Be below the maximum word count.

10. Have a thesis statement.

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Filed under Essays, Memorial University, My Writing Process, Newfoundland, St. Johns, Virtual Writing Seminar, writing

Graduate persists in pursuing career as author and publisher

Matthew LeDrew

Matthew LeDrew - contributed photo

Copied from http://troubadour.cna.nl.ca/2012/04/04/from-journalist-to-publisher-cna-graduate-followed-his-dream/

By Carol Hopkins
The Troubador

Graduation is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. This is especially true for graduates heading out into media jobs, where older technologies are yielding to new ones.

Matthew Ledrew graduated CNA’s journalism program in 2005 and promptly moved to St. John’s. His path first led him to work with the Marystown Southern Gazette as a correspondent.

“I always wrote, and I expected that print journalism would be a way to go,” Ledrew said. “But I found I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The creative process wasn’t quite the same.”

Ledrew continued to write, taking on regular jobs – such as one in a call centre – to pay the bills. He said he was trying to have his book published when he realized there was no publisher in the province or even in Atlantic Canada that catered to the type of science-fiction he wrote.

His mother pushed him to attend the first science-fiction convention held in St. John’s, Sci-fi on the Rock. Ledrew said he was very reluctant to go but went when his mother insisted.

It turned out to be a good thing he did. Kenneth Tam, author and founder of Iceberg Publishing, was one of the guest speakers. Ledrew had an opportunity to chat with him afterward.

Tam did not publish Ledrew’s book but steered him in the direction of starting his own business and became a mentor for the young writer.

“He really was my crutch for a little while. He was the one who helped me get Engen Books going,” Ledrew said.

Ledrew started Engen Books in 2007. He publishes about four books a year including his own and other authors.

Ledrew’s novels include the Black Womb series, Transformations in Pain, Smoke and Mirrors and Ghosts of the Past. He has also written short stories in several anthologies, and he is the coauthor of the Infinity series.

Ledrew travels throughout Atlantic Canada attending sci-fi conventions and makes appearances in book stores to sign copies of his books.

“It’s so much legwork, even if you’re an established name,” Ledrew said. “The author has to be there for people to buy their books”

He tries to make the most of every business trip and often will facilitate writing and self-publishing workshops at various sci-fi conventions.

“Sometimes they pay us to go, and when that happens it’s wonderful, because even if you don’t sell any books, you’re making money,” said Ledrew.

Ledrew attributes his success as a publisher, in part, to the skills he learned through the journalism program. Knowing how to use layout and design programs as well as how to manipulate photographs has helped him to keep his business afloat and allowed him the independence of being able to do these things in-house.

Last year his company became affiliated with Amazon Books, which has increased the opportunity for book sales.

Ellen Curtis is Ledrew’s co-author on the action series Infinity. Curtis described the books as similar to a comic book, but in novel form.

She said there are many challenges as well as rewards in co-authoring a book because both people are so invested in the project.

“We always have to be compromising and coming up with the best idea to ultimately make the best story,” Curtis said.

Curtis said her style of writing is very different from Ledrew’s.

“I was never one to plot out my books,” she said. “Now we sit down and figure out what we want to do and plot out every step, chapter by chapter.”

Ledrew and Curtis have also contributed stories to an anthology called What the Wild Things Read, which was published by Ink’d Well Comics. Jay Paulin, owner of Ink’d Well, met Curtis and Ledrew in 2010 at a sci-fi convention in Halifax called Hal-Con.

What the Wild Things Read is a collection of short stories that includes humorous and personal stories from the authors’ childhoods. All proceeds going to the Canadian charity Free the Children.

Paulin has a lot of respect for Ledrew.

“He knows how to structure a story, and I think that’s really a benefit and one of the reasons he’s been so successful. He has the technical chops and the story-telling ability and it’s worked out for him.”

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Catching up: Ellen’s Birthday

Ellen’s birthday was, as always, on February 27th! We had a great day this year, topped off by an amazing cupcake cake provided by Sugar MaMa’s! Anyone in the area should head up there. The treats are the best ever and make for an amazing pick-me-up! :)

Here are some picks of the cake!

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FYI: Not only does it look amazing, but it tastes better than it looks.

Just saying.

Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew

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Filed under ducks, Ellen Curtis, Newfoundland, St. Johns

Artist Profile: Ariel Marsh

Okay, so while I was at Hal Con 2011 I met this great artist name Ariel Marsh. She works with my friend Jay Paulin over at Ink’d Well Comics on titles like Infastany and What the Wild Things Read, and has this great kid-friendly, cartoony style that is just amazing in its simplicity and ability to convey story in a great manner. That’s what her art is great for: telling a story. It’s not the hyper-detailed what am I supposed to be looking at -style that dominates a lot of big comics publishers. It serves the story well, and that makes her a great comic book artist.

So as I said, I met her at Hal Con. I don’t get to see Jay and Heidi much, so afterwards the four of us went out for a frate (friend date). Had some great laughs, lots of fun.

Apparently Jay lent Ariel his copy of Black Womb, because a few days later I got this message:

Good Afternoon!

Jay and Heidi lent me their copy of Black Womb #1. I started to read the
book on the train ride home. I’m really enjoying the book!

As soon as I had finished reading the prologue, I had to draw something
from it. It was so intense! It’s a pretty messy sketch but I do want to
properly ink and colour it soon. Working on this has been a lot of fun.
The subject is so different from what I usually draw (bright colours and
cats everywhere haha!).

Hope you dig!

It was great to meet you and Ellen at Hal-Con. What a blast Sunday night was!

~Ariel

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Isn’t that awesome? I think it’s awesome. I was on her website ( http://happyraccoon.com/ )and it says she does commissions. I think this proves she’s got more in her than just cute stuff, though there was nothing wrong with the cute stuff. This just proves she’s a versatile artist.

I can’t wait to see what other images the book might inspire.

Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew

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Filed under Ariel Marsh, Art, Black Womb, Comics, Engen Books, Infantasy, Ink'd Well Comics, What the Wild Things Read

42 Webs Review

Infinity, Matthew LeDrew & Ellen Curtis, 2010 edition, Engen BooksSometimes I read stuff and it makes me blush. The following is a review of Infinity lifted from 42webs.wordpress.com.

“Quick survey: who wishes that they had a superpower? That’s right – everybody does. We all want to have some supernatural ability. Whether it be the ability to fly, teleport, or even the all powerful brick-vision, we all wish we had some ability that put us above the average person.

But what would the world be like if we actually had them?

This is an issue that was examined in the latest book from Engen Publishing. The book, called Infinity, is penned by the Engen all-star team of Matthew LeDrew and Ellen Curtis. Infinity tells the tale of a small band of seemingly regular people who discover they are in fact nowhere near.

The book begins down a very traditional path, making sure to hit all of the required items on the ‘Urban Meta’ (42 Webs exclusive) genre checklist.

Enigmatic mentor: check

Mysterious School: Of course

Growing conspiracy: You betcha

The difference is in the writing skill of the two authors. Is lesser hands the story could have become bland and uninteresting but with the skill wordmanship (I swear that’s a word) we have a stellar story that doesn’t feel old or rehashed. The building mystery of Victor, Port Haven and the growing conspiracy is touched on in the book just enough to wet your beak and leave you wanting more much like how Lost or Morning Glory would tantalize us.

A crucial scene in the story, and one of my favourite, is a poker scene. Without giving much away our characters are participating in a crucial poker game with the life of an innocent in the balance. The trouble with many card games in books is that they tend to be very dry and drag on, the inevitable importance and tension of the game lost to the details. Infinity manages to keep the tension strong while not letting the game go by the wayside. It felt reminiscent of Ian Flemming’s writing in Casino Royale.

One of the benefits, and strengths of this story, is how the written work was separated. The two authors each had their own character that came together as the story progressed. The benefit was that the characters felt entirely different. Some times when a writer creates multiple characters they have a tendency to blend together, to be similar and to sound identical to each other (Joss Whedon). With the two authors sharing the writing responsibilities we see a stronger variation in the characters.

Another notable plus with Infinity is the smoothness of how the two writing styles fuse with each other. Often with joint projects one person writing style dominates the other but that isn’t found here. LeDrew and Curtis writing styles compliment each other’s perfectly, their individual characters becoming the strength that counteracts the others weaknesses.

All in all a powerful book that tackles more issues then just powers and conspiracies, it also tackles issues like spiritual infinity and the responsibility of those with power. This is a must for fans of X-Men and similar titles.”

For more reviews by the gentleman, visit his blog

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Filed under Ellen Curtis, Engen Books, Infinity, Matthew LeDrew, writing