Hello friends and fans!
Welcome to my 7th newsletter: July 2017 - jam-packed with tidbits and information about new releases and projects I'm currently busy with!
Coming up in this edition of Another Round @ The Crow Bar:Regular updates, new releases, and a monthly spotlight on one of my books, this time "Space Vacation", a standalone short novel!
"Galaxii – Into The Abyss". Due to the variation in international markets and differing distribution marketing requirements, it has been necessary to reissue some titles in various series in different print formats. As a firm believer that the 4.25 wide x 6.88 tall "pocketbook" size is the appropriate size for "real" novels, I find it disappointing that some international distributors do not accept this size, favoring the 6"x 9" format instead. It is larger for one thing, and as a result decreases page count, making books that were traditionally "long enough" to pack a decent-sized novel in the proper size, seem much smaller and less appealing in the 6x9 format.
I judged it best to do this by collecting several titles into one package and releasing these as omnibuses. "Galaxii – Into The Abyss" is an omnibus of The Galaxii Series titles 1,2 and 3, containing “Blachart", “Demonspawn” and “Dead Beckoning" and was released on the 23rd June. At 363 pages in the new format, the print paperback copy containing all three stories in the Galaxii Series still works out cheaper than buying all three titles separately! Hopefully the new size will allow bookstores in South Africa to start stocking this title on their shelves soon! "Galaxii – Into The Abyss" is available only in paperback and the original separate titles in pocketbook size - as well as the separate ebook versions will continue to be available.
You may recall I launched "High Steaks" in June. This is the sixth title in the The Quantum Series and the sequel to "Prodigal Sun", which was launched in February! "High Steaks” continues the saga of the ‘third rate’ Terran colony on the planet Deanna, and the diverse characters the reader has no doubt by now become familiar with. Old familiar faces rub elbows with brand new characters in “Prodigal Sun”, some heroes, and some villains. Readers will remember the crotchety old military veterans of the Skegg’s Valley Dynamite Fishing Club, and of course, Fred the Arborian.
If you want to know more about the story being told in "High Steaks", you can find more info here: What Readers Can Expect In “Prodigal Sun”, “High Steaks”, "Fortitude" & “The Last Hurrah”. If you would like to read the release, here it is: Just Released! “High Steaks”, book 6 in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela.
"Galaxii – Into The Abyss" - a special omnibus of all three already released titles in the Galaxii Series, was released on 23 June and is only available in paperback 6" x 9" format.
The next title, “Where Darkness Softly Treads” is still a work in progress! I've been busy with 'Panic!' and upcoming titles in the Quantum Series, so I still haven't got round to yet! Sorry! ;)With the release of "High Steaks" in June, the Quantum Series now consists of six titles! Work is progressing on "Fortitude" and I hope to get that out by December or January 2018.
"Underground Movement" is a short novella and supplemental title that slots between book 6 and 7 in The Quantum Series. Set immediately after the sixth novel (“High Steaks”) “Underground Movement” continues the saga of the ‘third rate’ Terran colony on the planet Deanna, and the diverse characters you readers have no doubt by now become familiar with! This was a sort of spontaneous project that just "happened"! It shouldn't side-track me from work on the main story line at all!
About The Quantum Series will give you more background about the series, it settings and characters. To get a better idea of what the latest two titles are about, read What Readers Can Expect In “Prodigal Sun”, “High Steaks”, "Fortitude" & “The Last Hurrah”.
In the meantime, I am also working on the first omnibus for the Quantum Series in 6" x 9" paperback format, "Keep Off The Crabbygrass", which will contain the first four titles in the series.Panic! is a sci-fi/horror series, which will have some decidedly sci-fi characters encountering some decidedly horror entities - ghosts, haunted objects, zombies, etc. along with my usual twisted brand of humor! As a fan of paranormal investigator TV shows, I really enjoying writing this new series!
While on an otherwise routine deep-space mission to chart new territory on the frontier of unknown space, the Pioneer Fleet starship Mercury is probably the unluckiest ship in history. Not once, not twice, but many times over, the same hapless crew – give or take a few dozen casualties – on a supposed voyage of deep space exploration, stumble into the weird, wake the creepy and trip over the downright terrifying and possibly even supernatural…
"Panic! Horror In Space #2" is now also complete, with a release planned for August.
For more detail about this series, visit About Panic! Horror In Space.
"Panic! Horror In Space" has taken most of my writing time in the last few months, so it's likely that "Space Really Sucks!" will be delayed a good while yet.
Nothing to report in this section this time!
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Nothing new to report in this section for now. Several translations into Afrikaans are currently available for free on the shop site's Afrikaans page. In the meantime, if you have any up-to-date English-Afrikaans dictionaries newer than 2010 containing new words about technology and stuff you want to get rid of, please keep us in mind!
Nothing to report in this section this time!
CompetitionsThere are no competitions currently running.
On A Personal Note
My writing is NOT stereotypical, and my characters – regardless of their sexuality or gender – are anything but stereotypes! Yes, I write LGBT characters into my stories, but I would like to emphasize (again) that my stories are not just “all about LGBT people” or intended to rub cisgender, straight reader’s noses in a rainbow flag and sprinkle glitter all over their cornflakes! However, it has again emerged that yet another mainstream movie is due to come out soon that presents the same tired old stereotype about transgender people - that they are only good for sex work and follows the worn-out old stereotype that "they look like men in dresses". "Anything", stars Mike Bomer - a cisgender male - as a transgender sex-worker demonstrates exactly what is wrong with the way transgender characters are portrayed in the industry.
Despite numerous transgender actresses having auditioned for the part and been rejected, a cisgender male got given the part. What does that say about the film? What does that say about the part? What does it say about the director's perception of transgender people? It is a nasty trend in media that says transgender actresses are unqualified or unsuitable to portray transgender characters - or perhaps rather, to portray transgender characters as cisgender directors and audiences understand them - rather than as we are. Don't misunderstand me - this is not about whether or not the actor in question chosen to play the part respects transgender people or not - this is about the message it sends when a cisgender person is picked above actual transgender actors to portray a role they are obviously not qualified to. Many trans advocates have used the term 'trans-face' before to describe this - which is similar to 'black face' - where a white actor would paint his face black to portray a black character in old-time movies. It is insulting in that sense, and it is insulting in the sense of trans-face.
It is insulting - not only to the transgender actors and actresses who audition for these roles, but also to the entire transgender people - when it is preferable to portray transgender people as exactly what the ignorant biased masses expect - a gay cisgender male in a dress with trowled-on make-up, working as a prostitute! It costs the movie in a number of ways - in terms of believability: Many transgender people are NOT the stereotype being indulged in. They are doctors, lawyers, congressmen, librarians, teachers, soldiers, cops and parents. Additionally, many trans people are hard to identify in the ways these people portray us, so why do they perpetuate this stereotype? Is it a mockery? Or does it suit their political agenda to do so?
That is one of the reasons why I took up activist writing - and why my lead characters are on the LGBT spectrum.
I have said so before - and I am saying it again - as a writer, I will give any film-maker interested free access to any of my LGBT centered fiction novels where I break all these stereotypes, and FREE FILMING RIGHTS for the first title if you decide to take it further - provided you undertake to cast any LGBT characters with corresponding LGBT actors.
- Fan Mail & Honorable Mentions
Noticed in the past month by my long-suffering PA Wendy K. Gloss, were the following honorable mentions:
- Tweet Corner shared one of my quotes on its page "TOP 25 BEST : Cruel Life Quotes": [“Some kids also think it makes them cool When they pick on other kids, being cruel.” ― Christina Engela] from my children's book "Other Kids Are Kids Almost Just Like You".
I display my Fan Mail & Compliments with pride, gratitude and humility. You are always welcome to have a look.
- Hate Mail
June was rather quiet on the hate mail front.
- As you might know, I do indulge in a little social media activism, and sometimes I get naughty notes from some butt-hurt religious extremists and fascists and homophobes, such as this one on June 05, who says he’s going to start a Facebook group “Against Christina Engela”! Oh, goodie! I could use the free publicity! 😛
(I’m rather proud of my hate mail, and you can review it here – but be forewarned, don’t do it while eating or drinking or you might choke while laughing!)
- Reviews & Interviews
Nothing new during this past month! If you would like to do an interview with me about my works, please do get in touch!
- New Videos
Nothing new at the moment, but in the meantime, here is the book trailer video for "High Steaks"!
- New Listings
All my books now seem to be listed just about everywhere - except for the ones I haven't published yet! As of this month, new listings include Takealot (prices in ZAR ), who now also stock my books.
Monthly Book Spotlight [Spoiler Alert]: "SPACE VACATION"
Space Vacation: This captivating story, deftly told in the first person, is the tale of Sean Lange, former chief of security onboard the Demeter, one of the largest passenger space liners in Terran history. His rather mundane existence is derailed when the ship diverts from its course to answer a distress signal, and arrives at the scene to find that the SOS had been sent by a Corsair vessel. Although sometimes fake distress calls had been used to lure unsuspecting and defenseless passenger ships to their doom in the past, this is not the case this time, as it is obvious the pirate vessel really is in trouble.
The search party that goes onboard to investigate finds only one survivor, who is deathly ill from a mysterious disease, and takes him back to the Demeter for treatment. Lange and the doctor puzzle over the odd circumstances that led to the Corsairs predicament, and the strange condition in which the ship and its unfortunate crew were found.
Less than 24 hours later, while the Demeter continues on its way, the troubled Corsair passes away without imparting anything useful to his rescuers. A short time later, the chief medical officer on board the liner is found dead in his lab. With suicide unlikely despite everything at the scene pointing at a self-inflicted fatal injury using a Corsair blaster presumably salvaged from the stricken pirate ship, Lange sets about investigating foul play, assisted by his close friend and colleague Lisa Garfner – beginning with how the weapon got aboard the Demeter.
He begins with the members of the team that accompanied him to the Corsair ship, tracing the weapon from one suspect to another – but bafflingly, one by one, they too seem to turn up dead. It then becomes apparent that everyone on board now appears to be at risk of contracting the mysterious ailment that claimed the life of the Corsair survivor and the rest of his crew. And with only the bare essential medical services available – and their most qualified medical officer short, there is no little to no chance of identifying the disease, or its treatment.
To make matters worse, the ship’s only communications array mysteriously detaches itself and floats away unobserved during the night, cutting the ship off from the rest of the universe completely. This unexpected act of sabotage complicates the investigation for Lange and his deputy, Lisa Garfner – and poses a very serious threat to Demeter and all aboard. The sick begin to die, and as the number of sick alarmingly grows by the hour, the rest become fearful and paranoid. Among the passengers, a cleric whips the fearful into a frenzy. In the midst of all this, Lange sees a pattern to the affliction and is determined to run his investigation despite all the obstacles. Then his security personnel begin to become affected, and gradually he finds himself facing this thing alone.
Then Demeter’s Captain and bridge crew seal themselves off to maintain control of the ship and increase speed to their nearest harbor, while Lange interviews one last unlikely suspect, a mysterious lady who seems to be keeping many secrets. As order begins to break down on the ship, Lange discovers a secret so dark and terrifying that the Captain of the Demeter will do anything to prevent the thing that is killing passengers and crew from reaching any habitable world, even if it means killing everyone left on board…
Thanks again for all your support, friendship and interaction! Until next time,