Hello friends and fans!
Welcome to my 10th newsletter: October 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 “Dead Man’s Hammer“, book 3 in The Quantum Series! Included in this month’s newsletter, an extract from a new story not yet released: “Underground Movement”.
“Panic! Horror In Space #2”, published in August 2017, is now also available on Amazon for the princely sum of $2.99 (eBook version).
The second volume in this series of horror misadventures in deep space (with the crew of the starship Mercury) features two more related short stories entitled “Dead Center” and “Through A Dark Glassy”.
What, you may be asking yourself, is there to panic about?
You can find out here.
The Galaxii Series
“Underground Movement”, 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”) 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 is still under way, and tells the story of the fearless fighters of the Deannan Resistance!
As promised, an extract from this story below. Enjoy!
It had been a long, hard and otherwise ordinary day for the industrious farmers of Skeggs Valley. Several regulars were seated at a small cluster of rough-hewn wooden tables under a shady verandah at the front of the Inn of the Lame Duck, sipping a variety of cold ones. A wooden sign on which someone had painted the image of a yellow cartoon duck leaning on an old-fashioned wooden crutch under one wing, swung gently from side to side above the door to the verandah. It was early evening, warm and balmy – perfect for an ice cold drink and a chin-wag about the latest social or work-related events in the small isolated farming community that existed outside the Atro City limits. The mood was relaxed and even jolly, with the occasional round of laughter and back-slapping rippling across the small crowd – which consisted of farmers of mixed genders wearing an eclectic mix of green and brown khaki fatigues varying between full-length to actual short pants – and a variety of cowboy hats. Occasionally one or two of them would seem to tilt as if to look skyward and then tilt sideways again, as if to ponder the reason for there being only one moon again that night.
The absent moon, which was much smaller than Dong, was a perfect sphere made entirely of titanium, which made it very shiny since it reflected all light that came at it. Taking this into account, it was mind-boggling to many residents of Deanna how so many passing space craft, particularly visiting loderunners, tended to actually not see Ding – that is, until it was far too late – making the cause for Ding’s frequent and usually notable visits to the planet’s surface somewhat self-explanatory.
So you see, while Ding was more interesting and even entertaining (especially if you worked in the local insurance industry) Dong was “reliable” because it was always where people expected to find it.
Silence suddenly fell on the verandah as a red-horned wildebeest trotted out of the underbrush and into the clearing that surrounded the inn. It had brought a rider with it – a young man, mid-twenties, closely cropped hair, half undressed – wearing a white vest and the gray uniform breeches of the fascist Deannan Republican Army’s fatigues. The young man had ridden the animal hard across the uneven countryside, along the uneven bush track leading to the clearing around the Lame Duck. His features displayed what seemed like harsh displeasure, no doubt due to his ass having received a severe pounding from the creature’s square shoulders as it bounced over the rough surface.
Red-horned wildebeest did not make good riding animals mainly because of their lack of balance and their tendency to fall over at the least provocation and without any warning. In fact, it was quite surprising to the young man’s audience – nobody had ever tried to ride one of those before. Their weight, rectangular build and inflexibility also meant they had to be lifted onto their feet with a crane or winch. People were frequently killed by falling red-horned wildebeest…if they were unlucky enough to be under them when they fell. This young man was undoubtedly a very brave feller – either that or he was very desperate. Or patently stupid. Or even perhaps suicidal? Riders on the back-bush paths of the Valley’s countryside were not unusual, but they tended to ride horses specially trained to compensate for the awful crabbygrass that roamed practically the whole surface of Deanna – or bush-bikes, or even sporting jeepos. The clientele of the Lame Duck watched entranced as the rider atop the unstable creature lurched past the inn, teetering from side to side – and nearly toppled over, causing a sudden hush as his audience held their collective breath.
“Th-e va-mp-ir-es ar-e co-mi-ng!” He shouted, slightly vibrato in time with his unorthodox mount’s quick juddering steps, waving urgently at them in passing. “Th-e va-mp-ir-es ar-e co-mi-ng!”
In the far corner of the pub, unnoticed because of the rather brilliant distraction, a well-built farm hand called Jim Smith, and a mysterious but somehow familiar figure he’d been chatting to for several minutes over a few cold ones, suddenly and mysteriously faded out of existence without being noticed.
Mooo-eh-eh-eh! The unusual mount bleated, as red-horned wildebeest usually did. The stricken animal swerved, leaned almost too far over – and then recovered its balance at what looked like the very last moment, before the otherworldly spectacle vanished into the underbrush on the other side of the clearing, where the bush track wound very roughly through some forested foothills along the stretch of wilderness that led towards the highway.
“Did you see that?” Said Jock McCullagh, a wiry middle-aged man on the wrong side of fifty with big bushy white eyebrows. The man he’d said it to – a burly brown-haired chicken farmer by the name of Bruce “Chick” Russet – seemed to be distracted and closely inspecting the label on his bottle.
“I said: Did you see that?” Jock McCullagh repeated, poking his companion’s nearest shoulder impatiently.
“I’m…” Russet said slowly, his lips still moving silently as he read the fine print on the label. “…not sure what I saw!”
“What a brave young man!” Said Pauline Smith, a forty-something lady on whose farm the inn stood. She farmed with wildebeest and knew danger when she saw it – an instinct that most red-horned wildebeest farmers developed – that is, if they lived long enough. “…Considering what he was riding!”
“Very brave indeed!” Jock agreed, nodding emphatically.
“I say!” Said another old codger under a faded cowboy hat from the furthest corner, “I wonder what he was so excited about?”
“Probably from the rough ride he was having!” Said Jock. “Did you see his bum? It was taking quite a jolly good pounding!”
A brief silence followed as the gathering read between the lines and began to catch themselves exchanging knowing looks. Jock, blushing and kicking himself mentally for the gaffe, cleared his throat.
“What the Dickens was he shouting again?” Jock wondered aloud, perhaps as a distraction.
“Something about vampires, I think.” Said Pauline frowning. “‘The vampires are coming!’ he said.”
“Vampires?” Jock and Russet chorused. Jock McCullagh seemed to be squinting rather severely at her this time, and Russet seemed to have decided he’d had quite enough cold ones, and put his down hard on the table still half-full, with beads of condensation still running down the sides. From behind the bar, the only one allowed there – a rotund baldy man of uncertain age and with a heart of gold, sent him a scowl and muttered “Sacrilege!” while polishing glasses.
“Ah, bugger.” Russet apologized, waving at the barman. “Sorry Alf!”
Alf waved back, flapping his damp towel as he did so, and shook his bald round head. Russet turned his attention back to the conversation.
“Must’ve been in the sun without a hat too long!” Russet snapped at the gathering. “Brain fried – fizzzz!”
The gathering laughed dismissively, which was always easier to do than to try and figure out why some folks did strange things nobody had a sound explanation for – and without a second thought, the topic of group conversation quickly diverted to the Dredgers game of the previous weekend, local politics, what the Mayor of San Fedora was going to do about escalating hat prices, even touching gingerly on the fascist paramilitary takeover of the colony transmitted live on DNN just a few days before. But nobody really wanted to talk about that.
Meanwhile, under cover of low tree branches that spanned the width of the uneven bush track, and the approaching night, the red-horned wildebeest and its intriguing rider trotted on. The young man riding across its very hard angular shoulders wondered whether he would be able to walk again, even if he made it all the way to Atro City. There was no saddle after all – nobody in his right mind would use one of these as a mount or mode of transportation – except a mug like him of course. In any case, the girth of the red-horned wildebeest’s middle was far too large and square for a human to span with its legs. A deck chair placed on the middle of its back might stand a better chance of not actually falling off, but he was fresh out of those – and alas, the only cushion he had between his rear end and his mount was the thick slightly fluffy brown mohair that covered it (the wildebeest, not his rear end).
Saul D’espise – for that was his name, had ridden long and hard to get this far – trying to reach Atro City to warn the D.R.A. garrison there of the impending threat. They would believe him, even if the crazy peasant farmers of this insane little backwater colony world did not! He had to hurry – it was nearly dark – and he had no idea if he was being pursued! And Saul was unarmed!
Moo-eh-eh-eh! his mount bleated again. Ahead, in the rough path, a lone pedestrian who seemed to be dressed as a hiker was walking steadily toward him. The man stopped. The space between them quickly narrowed, and the astonished hiker quickly stepped aside to let him pass.
“Th-e va-mp-ir-es ar-e co-mi-ng! Th-e va-mp-ir-es ar-e co-mi-ng!” Saul cried in warning, waving an arm to emphasize the urgency of his message. The hiker just stared at him, mouth-agape as he rode past, until the apparition vanished behind the vegetation around the bend. Silence returned and the hiker, perhaps uncertain of what he’d just seen – or heard – or if his medication had any side effects that could cause hallucinations, turned this way, and then that, before pausing to kick at a clump of growling, snapping crabbygrass. He wondered if the fellers at the Lame Duck had seen that? Would they believe him? The crabbygrass snapped and growled at him, and attacked his left boot. The hiker kicked at it again. It retreated, chittering and scampered away into the undergrowth.
“Well, bugger!” the hiker muttered. “Lucky vampires!”
* * *
About The Quantum Series will give you more background about the series, its 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”.
Panic! Horror In Space
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! The first two titles are available in paperback and eBook versions on various distribution platforms including Amazon and Lulu. “Panic! Horror In Space #1” was released earlier this year, and “Panic! Horror In Space #2” is now also available as of 10 August 2017.
I’ve also started working on the third installment in the meantime.
For more detail about this series, visit About Panic! Horror In Space.
On A Personal Note
- Fan Mail & Honorable Mentions
Noticed in the past month by my long-suffering PA and fiancée, Wendy K. Gloss, were the following honorable mentions:
- Amazon – my author page on Amazon.com has been updated to reflect the addition of “Panic! Horror In Space #2“.
- In July, two anonymous customers posted the following reviews of two different books:
- “I am looking forward to reading all of Christina’s books. I really enjoy her unique imagination , she is a terrific author!” Amazon Customer (“The Peed-Off Peasant’s Collection Of Awesome Parking Memes”), July 13, 2017
- “Even though this book was short it still provides the reader with an awesome story. I really enjoyed reading this!” Amazon Customer (“The Thirteenth Ship”), July 13, 2017
- Thrift Books (USA) has a few of my books on their listing. Perhaps you should send them a note to ask them to stock the others too! 😉
- Bookadda.com (India) has my father’s book “African Assignment” (edited by me) listed.
- Ad Litteram “An English Journal of International Literati” display one of my quotes on their home page alongside a quote from D.H. Lawrence among others!
I display my Fan Mail & Compliments with pride, gratitude and humility. You are always welcome to have a look.
- Hate Mail & Horrible Mentions
August was rather quiet on the hate mail front. I’m almost sad to say I have nothing new to show you this time! (I may have something to show you next time though!)
In last month’s newsletter I mentioned that a local blogger had run a series of fantastic articles on how I’d been living a double life posing as a struggling author… and meanwhile back at the bat cave, I have been the queen of the South African Vampyre Community all along! Believe it or not, the feller who wrote those blog posts while impersonating an actual serious journalist has vanished from the world, failing even to turn up for one of his many court cases in George, Western Cape – where he repeatedly has his expectations of getting positive PR and a media spotlight for his ‘activism’ dashed – presumably to avoid the Sheriff! His farticles and website are still up though, so for now at least, it seems I am ‘still’ vampire *cough* royalty, running the vampire underground from my basement where I have a telephone and wi-fi internet set up inside a casket! 😛 More on that story as it develops!
(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!)
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! Amazon, Anobii, Barnes & Noble, Bol (NL), Book Depository, eBookMall, Fnac (FR), Foyles (UK), Goodreads, Indigo, iTunes, Kobo (prices in ZAR), Lybrary, Nook, Takealot(prices in ZAR) and 24 Symbols, Christina recommends readers make their purchases via Lulu.
Monthly Book Spotlight [Spoiler Alert]: “Dead Man’s Hammer”
‘Dead Man’s Hammer’ is the third title in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela – a writer described as ‘that rarest of authors – able to seamlessly blend together elements of dark horror and sci-fi to create stories that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.’ (Mark Woods, author of ‘Time of Tides’ and ‘Fear of the Dark‘). Her writing in the sci-fi genre has been described as ‘one of the most unique and captivating styles I’ve encountered in science fiction.’ (Alex S. Johnson, author of The Doom Hippies.)
Set after the second book (“The Time Saving Agency”), “Dead Man’s Hammer” shows just how easily things can go horribly wrong – and not even in a nice way. Cindy-Mei Winter is a former Colonial Intelligence Agency agent now residing on the charming Terran colony world called Deanna, populated by a unique blend of western-esque characters and alien life-forms – including the ubiquitous crabby-grass.
“Dead Man’s Hammer” sees the re-introduction of Fred, the unique Arborian character from “Black Sunrise”. For those of you new to this series, Fred is a walking, talking plant life-form from a distant planet called Arboria – perhaps the only planet known for having forests that migrate with the seasons. Far from being a mere curiosity or a comedy-prop, Fred’s ability to blend into his surroundings is uncanny – almost legendary in fact, and he is not above being an instrument of justice – and occasionally, vengeance.
“Dead Man’s Hammer” is a darker story than the previous two, and the story begins with the death of Cindy-Mei’s beau, Beck the Badfeller, at the hands of an incredibly dangerous and highly skilled assassin (whose most likely name is Villainessa Tittel) who has a yen to kill Cindy-Mei Winter – over and above the contract she has with the former CIA agent’s name on it. Meanwhile, Mei – who is all but crippled by the grief of losing Gary Beck, the love of her life, in so cruel a manner – goes dark, retreating deep into herself in order to bring Tittel’s macabre and bloody romp through Atro City to a speedy end – even if it kills her.
Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller, a long-time friend and associate of Gary’s, does what she can to catch the killer, to support the grieving Mei – while also striving to keep her out of trouble! Tittel, meanwhile, seems set on making the most of her advantage.
As the story progresses however, it becomes clear that the vaunted Gary Beck (aka Beck the Badfeller) has not been killed after all. Well, that is to say, he was – but since Gary Beck had made the acquaintance of Johnathan Scrooby, nothing seemed seriously set in stone anymore, and even death seemed to be no more than a temporary inconvenience. Scrooby’s intervention makes it possible for Beck and Scrooby to brainstorm (over Triple Brainscrew Skullhammers at the Time Saving Agency canteen) how to save Mei, dispose of the assassin, and make Deanna a safe place again. When he returns to the timeline, it is – well, just in time. For Scrooby this is an act of friendship and the repayment of a debt. For Beck, it’s an eye-opener to be able to come so close to death – and then to be able to return to his life and his loved-ones.
Published: May 26, 2016
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Dimensions (inches): 4.25″ wide x 6.88″ tall (pocketbook)
This is the third title in The Quantum Series. To read more about the settings and characters of this series, visit About The Quantum Series and Characters & Plot Devices. To find out about Christina Engela’s main writing focus, read No LGBT Stereotypes Here!
Thanks again for all your support, friendship and interaction! Until next time,
Catch me on social media!