Timeline of Milestones, Awards & Achievements


1973:

  • Christina Engela is born on Thursday Feb o1 at 0830 at Sandford Maternity Hospital, Mount Croix, Port Elizabeth.
  • Due to various complications, it is discovered that Christina is hyper-allergic to various medications, including Valergan and Pentothal.

1976:

  • Christina begins to experience gender dysphoria. Due to the unpleasant reactions she receives, she internalizes her feelings.
  • Christina attempts to teach herself to read and write. Encouraged by the wisdom of contemporary teaching methods, her parents are dissuaded from teaching her how to read or write themselves, being told to hold her back until she reaches school-going age.
  • While in hospital for surgery to remove her tonsils, and despite her mother’s warnings to the pediatrician, Christina is given an overdose of Valergan Forte – four times the strength of ordinary Valergan. She goes into a coma during surgery and the medics struggle to resuscitate her. It is then presumed that she might have suffered brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

1977:

  • Christina’s parents, Theo and Yvonne, divorce. Christina lives with Yvonne.

1979:

  • Christina starts school life at Sub A in Greenwood Primary School in Park Drive, Central, Port Elizabeth. She frequently gets ‘lost’ preferring to hang around with the pre-primary class, playing in the Wendy-house with the wooden kitchen and dolls.

1980:

  • Noticing that Christina appears to be struggling with some areas of scholastic life, teachers recommend to Christina’s parents that she be sent for testing at the local university laboratories. After two EEG’s spaced a year apart, the staff report that Christina’s tests reveal several anomalies which they are unable to explain, but that she is of ‘very high nonverbal intelligence’.

1981:

  • Experiencing difficulty with mathematics, Christina is sent to Cape Receife School – a special attention school for above-average IQ children with learning or physical problems.
  • Christina starts experimenting with writing short stories about her pet hamsters.

1982:

  • In her second year at Cape Receife School, Christina moves up to Standard 2, but is mistakenly placed into a class for children experiencing difficulties with language skills for a whole term before the mistake is discovered and corrected!
  • Christina participates in class plays at Cape Receife School, dancing and enjoying the dressing up as a cat, with a mask and tights!
  • Christina starts writing (or rather typing) a story called “The Friendly Vampire” – which never gets to be more than a few paragraphs long!

1983:

  • At age 10, Christina writes a (very) short story about hamsters. A class teacher is so taken with the story and Christina’s talent that she reads it out loud to the rest of the class, both to her embarrassment and delight.
  • Christina has an emergency appendectomy at Provincial Hospital, Port Elizabeth.
  • By the end of 1983, Christina is judged by her parents and Cape Receife School to be ready to return to her previous school.

1984:

  • In January, Christina returns to Greenwood, to be bullied by her peers – and a teacher – for being ‘different’ after being at Cape Receife School for 3 years. It is a bitter disappointment for her.

1985:

  • Christina, ever the history buff, starts working on a story about Roman soldiers. First called ‘The Roman Eagle in Gaul’, she later renames the story ‘Ostrogoth Roundabout’. Before the year is out, she is bitten by the sci-fi bug and abandons it.
  • A teacher at Greenwood traumatizes Christina so much with his intimidation tactics specifically targeting her handwriting, that her handwriting suffers for years afterwards.
  • Christina’s father Theo, dies at the age of 55 in Port Elizabeth’s Provincial Hospital.

1986:

  • Christina starts high school at Pearson High School, in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth.
  • Christina begins working on the forerunner of the Galaxii Series, a story called ‘The Red Star’.

1987:

  • ‘The Red Star’ is redrafted to become a more sophisticated story, renamed ‘Overkill’. Major plot changes and redrafts take place.
  • Christina dabbles in writing a play, a comedy called ‘Ballad for  a Nutter’, which should give you some idea of the content. It is never finished.
  • Christina writes her short story “The Curse” as a school composition.

1988:

  • The proto-Galaxii Series in the form of a notebook with ‘Overkill’ scribbled on its cover gets re-written and divided into three new notebooks, with ‘The Red Star’, ‘Overkill’ and ‘Right to Die’ scrawled on their covers.
  • Christina writes her short stories “Code Red” and “U.F.O.” as school compositions.

1989:

  • Christina writes her first inspired poem. She quickly develops a reputation at high school as a talented poet and short story writer.
  • Christina writes her short story “The Sickle” and “Villa Of Terror“, a one act play.
  • Christina’s aunt (Lettie, 63) and grandmother (Helena, 91) die a month apart in the same year.

1990:

  • Christina hits upon the name for her series of planned and unfinished novels – it is the Galaxii Series. The first novel is shifted to the right, and is replaced by an ambitious work, complete with illustrations, blueprints and manuals, called ‘Galaxii’. The first written draft is completed by the end of 1990.
  • ‘Dreams of Innocence’ (formerly ‘The Red Star’ and ‘Overkill’) becomes ‘Blachart‘ for the first time. Parts of the story are taken out to become what would later be ‘Demonspawn‘.
  • Christina writes her short story “Dysfunxion” and “The Traitor Loyal“, a one act play.
  • Christina works on three fantasy-based stories, called “The Beginning Of Nonsense”, “Natural Causes” – and “Hamockery”, which is supposed be a spoof of Hamlet.
  • Christina enlists as assistant director for a school play, but since the director goes AWOL a month before the play is due to hit the school stage, she demonstrates her latent leadership skills by pulling the fragmented cast together, supplies many of the costume items and props herself, and acts as director. The ex-director attends the performance and upstages Christina by accepting full credit for all the hard work she put into making the play a success. It is the last time Christina participates in a play of any kind.
  • Christina’s Afrikaans composition titled ‘Ek Wens Ek Was ‘n Posbus’ (I wish I was a mailbox) appears in the school yearbook for 1991. This is the first time her work appears in print in any form.

1991:

  • ‘Galaxii’ is typed into a legible printed format.
  • The first chapter of ‘Galaxii’ is entered into a local annual writing contest held in Port Elizabeth, but receives no recognition.
  • Christina writes a very workable and interesting one-act play called ‘The Traitor Loyal’, set in WW2 Nazi-occupied France.
  • Christina submits copies of her father’s novels to local publishers for consideration. None respond with interest.
  • For the very first time Christina realizes that she is different from gay males in that her desire is to actually be physically female. Up to that time she had lived under the impression that all gay males shared a desire to be female. This can be attributed to a lack of publicly available information prior to the advent of the internet at the time.
  • Christina’s poem ‘Surrender’, about German reunification, appears in the school yearbook for 1991.

1992: 

  • On January 10, Christina reports for a year of compulsory military service. This could be regarded as a ‘lost’ year, but despite everything, she still manages to add a lot of material to a redraft of ‘Galaxii’ and other stories.
  • After six months as a private in the SADF, Christina is nominated to attend a junior NCO course and is consequently promoted to Lance-Corporal in August. She completes her year of national service and has impressed her co-workers and supervisors so much so that they make a concerted effort to get her a contract working in the Permanent Force. Unfortunately, recent political changes prevent any new appointments to the PF, and she is given first a 3 month contract, followed by a 6 month contract, and then yearly contracts after that, until she accepts a civilian post in 2009.
  • Christina is asked by a work colleague to write a one-act play for a church or Sunday-school environment, and begins work on a religious play called “The Lion of Destiny”. Since it is sci-fi oriented (her field of expertise at the time), the client is disinterested and the play remains incomplete.

1993:

  • Christina writes ‘The Devils in the Sky‘, her first serious, commercially viable short story. Although earlier works exist, they remain unedited and virtually forgotten until 2016. Consequently, ‘The Devils in the Sky‘ is still viewed as her first significant work.

1994:

  • At work, Christina completes a logistics course and is promoted to Corporal.
  • In December, Christina undergoes corrective knee surgery to repair torn cartilage suffered while loading truck batteries at work. It takes her another six months intensive physio therapy and gym to recover full strength in her right leg.

1995:

1996:

  • Christina is involved in a major car wreck. A Mercedes traveling at high speed hits her car side-on in an intersection. The other driver is killed. She survives with amnesia of the accident, short term memory loss, head, shoulder, neck and spinal injuries. It takes her almost a year to recover.

1998:

  • One night, while on duty at work, Christina starts and finishes a short story called ‘Beyond‘ about a transgender woman in the military, in which she appeals for tolerance and acceptance for transgender people, indirectly for herself – as at this time, she is still very much closeted.

1999:

  • Christina seeks gender confirmation surgery, and begins with a process of first seeking a diagnosis of gender-dysphoria, which she obtains.

2000:

  • After much introspection and great personal upheaval, Christina begins her physical transition and begins to face up to a lot of prejudice from friends, family, co-workers and the general public as encountered. Christina writes very little other than poetry about her transition during the next few years.

2001:

2002:

2003:

  • Encouraged by her mother to ‘do something’ with her writing again, Christina types what will become the final draft of ‘Blachart‘ onto a PC for the first time, working from the most recent original notes dating from 1998. She follows this up with an edit and digitization of her already completed short stories.

2004:

  • Christina undergoes a bilateral orchidectomy at Provincial Hospital, Port Elizabeth.

2005:

2006:

  • January 10 – Christina endures 6 hours of gender reassignment surgery in Bedfordview Gardens Hospital, Johannesburg. She endures an epidural anesthetic and light sedation during the surgery. Afterward, while back in the ward, she has an allergic reaction to a painkiller injection (Pethadene) and almost dies as a result.
  • Completion of short story ‘I, Mac‘. Christina worked on this story while recovering at home in bed, with her desktop PC stuck on a chair at her bedside!
  • Completion of short story ‘Innocent Minds‘, with illustrations.

2007:

  • May 14 – Christina receives a royalty check for books sold through Lulu.com – the very first time she has been paid for her writing. The check amounts to $78.40.
  • Completion of novel ‘Loderunner‘. Uploaded to Lulu.com.
  • Completion of novel ‘Demonspawn‘. Uploaded to Lulu.com.
  • A new series of covers is designed for all titles on Lulu.com and uploaded.
  • An extensive rewrite of ‘Galaxii’ is begun as a prequel to ‘Blachart‘. The project is abandoned partway, and ‘Blachart‘ is restored to first title status in the Galaxii Series.

2008:

  • Christina embarks on her activist writing career by writing articles for her blog “Sour Grapes: The Fruit of Ignorance“. Her articles are picked up and circulated worldwide by numerous other activist organizations. For some time afterwards, she is too distracted and exhausted by activist writing to work on her fiction projects or promotion.
  • Christina is outraged by the newspaper column ‘Call me names, but gay is NOT ok…’ by Jon Qwelane in July. She joins with other outraged members of the LGBT community, to form the activist organization GLAAD SA (later SA GLAAD). She takes on the role of Media Liaison.

2009:

  • Christina makes an appearance at Cape Town Pride as an invited guest to speak at the “Book Lounge” about her LGBT character-writing.
  • Christina joins a Port Elizabeth LGBT organization called Eastern Cape Gay & Lesbian Association (ECGLA) and is given the activism portfolio on the committee. Within 6 months, she is elected to be the Vice-President of the organization. By the end of the year, the President abandons the organization in the interests of her own business brand, leaving Christina to take the reigns as President. She redefines the position as ‘Director’ instead, and runs the organization successfully until her resignation in 2011.
  • By the end of 2009, Christina is also the defacto face of SA GLAAD, and acts as the Director of that as well as ECGLA.

2010:

  • Completion of short story ‘Homecoming‘.
  • Christina is the winner of the Ebook Diva writing contest. The short story ‘Homecoming‘ received the most votes as the winning short story.

2011:

  • Under Christina’s guidance, ECGLA has has grown to the height of its popularity. In September, the organization hosts the highly successful first ever Pride parade and party for Port Elizabeth.
  • Christina has become tired and fatigued by nearly ten years of constant activism, and calls it a day with ECGLA, stepping down a few weeks after the Pride, in September.
  • Christina’s uncle, Johnny van der Westhuizen, dies suddenly of cancer at the age of 86.
  • Her long time friend, Kae Colley, who inspired her to write the story ‘Loderunner‘ dies at the age of 39 after major surgery in Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town.
  • The terrifying events described in her article ‘In Darkness And Light’, and in a horror short-story entitled ‘When Darkness Calls‘, occur during December 2011.

2012:

  • Christina joins a local Jujitsu academy and, combined with her weekly paintball sessions, begins to lose weight and tone up.
  • Christina is invited to participate as a member of the steering committee for the NMB World Aids Day event, held at the Port Elizabeth City Hall, under the auspices of the contemporary Mayor, as an LGBT community representative.
  • In December, Christina suffers a mystery insect bite and despite various ineffective medications and treatments, spends up to a month sick at home with convulsions and fever. Despite six sets of blood tests, all that is shown is an unknown viral infection. Shortly before Xmas, she is hospitalized for three days, returning home only when the fever appears to be broken. Even so, she continues to suffer unexplained body aches and pains for several years afterwards.

2013:

  • Christina begins work on an academic work called ‘Satanism: The Acid Test‘ in March. The work is for the Alternative Religions Forum, where she is listed as ‘chief researcher’. The 480 page first version of this document is distributed worldwide to stem the incidence of media and public ignorance around religious minorities and subcultures frequently accused of ‘satanism’, as well as to provide facts on misunderstood religions and subcultures, with the endorsement of these entities. This is a unique piece – nothing like it has ever been done before. The item is released in June as a free download.
  • Christina’s mother Yvonne dies at the age of 79 in St George’s Hospital, Port Elizabeth on October 24 after 5 weeks in ICU. Christina views this s the worst day – and the worst year – of her entire life.

2014:

  • Michael, the son of Christina’s late friend, Kae Colley, dies of an undiagnosed burst appendix while in surgery, at the age of 18. He had only just finished high school in December.
  • Completion of novel ‘Dead Beckoning‘. The novel is uploaded to Lulu.com and goes live for only a few hours before being pulled by Christina – she has just been offered a publishing contract with a traditional publisher!
  • Christina signs a contract with a publisher – J. Ellington Ashton Press (JEA) for the re-release of the Galaxii Series under their ‘Hardwired’ label, starting in August 2014.
  • All fiction titles of the Galaxii Series available via Lulu.com are taken down by Christina in order to comply with contractual agreements. All are expected to be re-released by JEA in good time, but only two are ever released under their label.
  • Short story ‘Homecoming‘ included in JEA anthology ‘Autumn Burning: Dreadtime stories for the wicked soul‘, published October 7, 2014.
  • Completion of short story ‘Space Vacation‘.
  • Completion of short story ‘Little Green Men‘.
  • Completion of short story ‘Midnight Station‘.
  • Novel, ‘Blachart‘, title 1 in the Galaxii Series, published by JEA on October 29, 2014.

2015:

  • Short story ‘The Thirteenth Ship‘ included in JEA anthology ‘Inanna Rising: Women forged by fire‘, published February 12, 2015.
  • Completion of short story ‘Death By Vampire‘ (20150218).
  • Completion of short story ‘Overkill‘ (20150224).
  • Completion of short story ‘Barracuda!‘ (20150224).
  • Novel, ‘Demonspawn‘, title 2 in the Galaxii Series, published by JEA on April 24, 2015.
  • Christina wrote the foreword for ‘For Love of Leelah‘ anthology on request of the publisher. The anthology also included a specially modified version of her short story ‘Beyond‘, in which the lead character name was changed to ‘Leelah’ in honor of transgender woman Leelah Alcorn. June 20, 2015.
  • Completion of short story ‘Wiggle Room‘ (20150708) for JEA staff ‘Male vs Female’ writing contest.

2016:

  • Bugspray is published by LightBearer Publishing on February 10, 2016
  • Wiggle Room is published in an anthology of horror, M v F: Death Personified on February 27.
  • A collection of Christina’s father’s short stories, ‘African Assignment‘ is published on March 3.
  • March 09 – Christina enters into a romantic relationship with longtime friend, poet and artist, Wendy K. Gloss.
  • March 19 – Christina is awarded the “Ribbon on the Witches Bouquet” by the SA Pagan Council for her activism.
  • hristina splits the Galaxii Series into two distinct but related sci-fi series – the Galaxii Series and the Quantum Series.
  • JEA cuts all non-horror-purist writers from their label, including Christina Engela and her titles and her father’s book on May 16. Rather than seeing this as a setback, Christina decides to return to indie-publishing.
  • Christina publishes ‘Space Vacation‘ as a stand-alone novelette and re-publishes ‘Space Sucks!‘ and two titles in the Quantum Series, ‘Black Sunrise‘ and ‘The Time Saving Agency‘ on May 24 via Lulu.com.
  • Christina re-publishes ‘Dead Man’s Hammer‘ and ‘Loderunner‘ two titles in the Quantum Series on May 25 via Lulu.com.
  • May 26 – Author Alex S. Johnson describes Christina’s return to self-publishing as “the quickest recovery from losing a publisher I’ve ever seen”.
  • Blachart‘ and ‘Demonspawn‘ are re-released by Christina via Lulu.com on 28 July.
  • Dead Beckoning‘, part 3 in the Galaxii Series is published for the first time on July 29.
  • Her children’s book about homophobic bullying ‘Other Kids Are Kids Almost Just Like You‘ is published on August 18.
  • September 25 – Christina begins working on the first story in a new trilogy in the Quantum Series, ‘Prodigal Sun‘.
  • October 04 – Christina Engela completes ‘Prodigal Sun‘ the fifth title in the Quantum Series, and immediately continues to write ‘High Steaks‘, the second part of a trilogy.
  • Christina is interviewed live on GaySA Radio on Friday, 28 October 2016 by Hendrik Baird about her activism and writing.
  • Christina is interviewed by Focus Mid-South Magazine, a bi-monthly print and online publication targeted at the LGBTA community of Memphis, TN and surroundings on November 16.
  • African Assignment‘, Theo Engela’s collection of short stories as edited by Christina, is once again released through LightBearer Publishing on November 22.
  • Christina completes the first draft of ‘High Steaks‘ on November 23 and begins the editing phase of ‘Prodigal Sun‘ and ‘High Steaks‘.
  • On Dec 01, Christina’s dog Skippy dies at over 16 years. Skippy served as a model for the character of Vluffy,  the little dog of Dr. Von Gleichstein.
  • Also on Dec 01, Christina completes the final edit of ‘When Darkness Calls‘, a retelling of events she experienced during December 2011, in short story form.
  • On Dec 3, Nocturnicorn Books announces that Christina Engela will be the Editor of ‘Embracing Justice‘, its benefit anthology of short fiction and poetry about the rise of fascism and homophobia in the USA and around the world, under the company’s ‘Riot Pink’ label.

2017:

  • January 02 – Christina completes a revision of ‘Code Red‘, a short story written as a high school composition in 1988.
  • January 04 – Her short story ‘The Thirteenth Ship‘ appears on a list of reading recommendations for stories written by female authors about female pirates called ‘Kickass Women Who Are Pirates‘.
  • February 09 – Christina completes the final edit of ‘Prodigal Sun‘ and makes final preparations for publishing the title.
  • February 13 – Focus Mid-South Magazine publishes an article about Christina’s writing.
  • February 17 – the final edit of ‘High Steaks‘ is completed.
  • February 22 – An interview with Christina Engela by Steven Byrd of “Byrd is the Word” for his column “Expert of the Week” is published.
  • February 23 – ‘Prodigal Sun‘ is published in paperback and Kindle formats. (1, 2, 3)
  • March 08 – Christina finishes redrafting a short story she first wrote in 1987 called “The Curse”. She renames it “Mercury Rising“. Because she enjoyed writing it so much, and on the suggestion of her fiance’ Wendy K. Gloss, she decides to make it the first of a series of short stories based on the same characters and circumstances. She immediately continues to write “Mercury Resurgent” as the sequel. This is the origin of the “Panic! Horror In Space” series.
  • March 09 – Christina and Wendy K. Gloss get engaged!
  • March 11 – Christina paints her first acrylic on canvas painting (A4), called “Bleeding Hearts“.
  • April 04 – “Mercury Resurgent“, the sequel to “Mercury Rising” is completed.
  • April 06 – “Panic! Horror In Space #1” is published, containing “Mercury Rising” and its sequel “Mercury Resurgent“.
  • April 30 – Horrified Press publishes “Trumpocalypse” featuring a poem by Christina Engela as contributing author, “State Capture”.
  • May 02 – “Dead Center” the first short story for inclusion in “Panic! Horror In Space #2” is completed.
  • May 08 – Christina publishes “The Peed-Off Peasant’s Collection Of Awesome Parking Memes“.
  • May 29 – “Through A Dark Glassy” the second short story for inclusion in “Panic! Horror In Space #2” is completed.
  • June 01 – Christina publishes “High Steaks” the 6th Quantum Series novel!
  • June 23 – “Galaxii – Into The Abyss“, an omnibus of the first three titles in the Galaxii Series is published in 6×9 inch format.
  • July 05 – “Keep Off The Crabbygrass“, an omnibus of the first four titles in the Quantum Series.
  • July 29 – Christina facilitates her first meeting at the head of the Out!ology volunteer co-ordinating committee at Salt. It marks her brief return to LGBTI activism while she keeps the seat warm for at least two executive members of the board while they are indisposed for a number of months.
  • August 10  – “Panic! Horror In Space #2” is published. At this time, Christina has 21 individual published titles.
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