Hello, friends and fans!
Welcome to my 72nd monthly newsletter! Pull up a chair, let’s chat! In this month’s newsletter: updates on publishing, reviews and news. Let’s take a look at this months’ “stuff”!
Some General News
November was a busy, eventful, productive and above all, exciting month in terms of my writing and publishing as well as in relation to my recovery after the death of my publisher in February!
Not only have most of the obstacles been cleared out of my way, but by October I discovered that I had gained a new publisher in its stead in the shape of Peever Publishing, who is now handling all my audiobooks past, present and future.
Having a second party contributing to the effort of marketing one’s brand really makes a difference in terms of getting the word out! More about that after I take a quick turn on the soap box:
I feel I need to address an issue which has come up time and again, especially in social media, and it seems I have a bit of a reputation going on:
Another mass shooting in the USA isn’t really exceptional these days, after all, it happens every other day – and that is a striking indictment of the country that loves to bill itself as a bastion of the freedoms of speech and expression and as “the land of the free”. Sadly it seems that inanimate objects in the shape of guns, have more rights than living, bleeding human beings do.
On the 20th another mass shooting took place, this time in an LGBT club in Colorado. Another cowardly white supremacist Christian terrorist has struck down people who had never interfered with him or his own life, nor threatened him in any way, shape or form.
Let me point out that this is a case in point why I don’t write for the masses. The masses are stupid. Stupid people hate those who differ from them for being different. Granted, a small part of that majority are stupid enough to commit violent acts of terror fueled by the stupidity shared with the greater whole of stupidity, but the stupidity is shared and the same.
Besides, stupid people don’t read – and those who attempt to, fail to comprehend what they read and interpret everything literally and fundamentally Innuendo, wit and subtlety are wasted on them. Writing for the majority is like making pulp; wasting good seeds on infertile ground as hard as cement. Thus I write for the minority, for those weathered by high winds and battered by life’s storms, whose views have become shaped by their experiences and their eyes opened by the blindness of those around them – their soil is already fertile and tilled by the plough of hardship.
It’s perhaps no coincidence that this domestic terrorist attack came close to or on TDOR – the Transgender Day Of Remembrance, a day on which those who were murdered around the world because of being transgender by bigoted transphobic cowardly twats with less than five braincells. Thanks to the stochastic terrorism of numbskulls like Donald Trump, whose rhetoric traverses the world and who launched his next presidential campaign by inciting harm against transgender people, the stats are soaring. This is apparently already the highest transgender murder rate on record, and it’s still just November!
Transgender artist Sophie La Belle had this to say in her latest infographic:
Indeed I concur: My Rage Is Forged In Death.
I’ve often been accused of being “theophobic” or “anti-Christian” as a writer. I’ve written my fair share of books and academic papers in my time exposing Christian misinformation about the occult and religions like Paganism and Satanism, as well as stood firmly and openly in the path of Christian hatred directed against LGBT people, women, and people of color, so I suppose it’s a fair assumption of theirs to say “the author is theophobic” or “she hates Christianity” rather than to accept the point of view that they’re actually in the wrong and have participated in and helped cement a million or more crimes against humanity over the last 2000 years.
Let me answer that by saying I don’t write for the masses, I don’t write chicken soup to pander to the thoughtlessness of the self-deluding somnambulent masses, so I’m not likely to reach that desirable “bestseller” accolade or be praised by the sheeple for how accurately I’ve described the pen they’ve embraced or the virtues of the self-appointed farmers and butchers in the shadows.
I write for the few, I write to fuel the spark of enlightenment, to spark the feeling of “something needs to be done about this” in those too long mentally inactive, whose minds have been mired and weighed down with cerebral fluff and pseudo-intellectual fare. I write to challenge those who are waking up and need something to think about, and for those already awakened, to inspire them to wipe the sleep from their eyes – and blinking, to see what’s around them with their own eyes and to smell the bullshit they’re expected to accept as “the way things are” for themselves. I write a strong dose of the injustice of reality served with a twist of what ought to be done about it.
Some people don’t like that, and if you’re wondering, you need to ask yourself “why?” Maybe you need to read more of my work to see for yourself!
Change is coming.
Slowly perhaps, but it will come.
Moving on to other matters.
News About Writing & Publishing:
This is the current state of things:
- Audiobooks on ACX: The process of transferring my audiobooks from Moon Books Publishing’s ACX account to Nigel Peever‘s ACX account is almost complete. “Lifetime” has been transferred, making “High Steaks” the last outstanding item on the list! “High Steaks” was finally made available on Audible on the 3rd of December, meaning that it is now simply awaiting transfer to Peever Publishing! Although this could take another 2 weeks, the end of this process is truly in sight!
- Recording & New Audiobooks: On the 1st of December, Nigel formally accepted the assignment of the Panic! Horror In Space series recordings to Peever Publishing and set the wheels in motion to getting them on the PP listing as well! Darla meanwhile has got over her bad cold sufficiently to continue recording, and it’s all very exciting indeed!
- Writing: I finished a new short story called “The Lights Of Corramantee” on the 2nd of December, and started a new story for Panic! Horror In Space on the 4th tentatively titled “Gnawed”!
- Marketing: The webzine I’m working on that I mentioned last time is called Schtick! You can Send Your Submissions Now: Schtick! Webzine for Sci-fi & Transgressive Fiction. Schtick! first edition will be out sometime in January, so send in your submissions now!
- Local News: On Tuesday 28 November I had a chat with my local publisher, Hally Park Publishers, and it seems things are picking up again – sufficiently so to become more hopeful about the future of my plans to get my foot in the door in the South African market! It seems likely that the first new book they publish towards the end of this year, for release in the early new year, will be “Blachart”! This is good news, because it sounds to me like there could be other benefits like getting into local bookstores, and even having my first official book signing! Stay tuned for more news on this in the near future!
I will, as always, keep you updated.
Currently Available Titles:
My books are available as eBooks, Paperbacks, and Audiobooks, and you can find them everywhere. Click the links in the slideshow below to view titles available in these formats.
If you’re still wondering where to find them in the format of your choice, you should read “Where To Get My Books – Specially For My South African Readers!” (recently updated).
On November 24 I also published the second edition of “A Guide To Self-publishing In South Africa“! It is now available on Amazon in eBook format. A paperback version is on its way as well!
These are recent new titles published in 2022:
Sentinel – Book 4 in the Galaxii Series:
The starship I.S.S. Munray is a ship crewed by a lot of ill-disciplined misfits barely one step away from another court-martial – and the Captain’s the worst of the lot! When the opportunity presents itself for Vice-Admiral Beens to rid himself of the troublesome, malingering Wynne Polluk, he jumps at the chance to introduce a new broom, in the form of one Sonia La Belle.
In order to meet the deadline, she must deal with all the obstacles in her path; an old rundown ship whose engines lie disassembled, an uncooperative senior staff, and negative hopeless crewmembers who’d probably be more at home in the stockade than running a starship! The Munray and her crew resume their life of routine space patrol – which is soon interrupted when the ship is diverted to pursue a pair of dangerous fugitives who’ve escaped from a max-security facility – one that was supposed to be escape-proof! This turns out to be an exercise which will push ship and crew – and the Captain – to their limits!
Can they overcome all the obstacles they face, track down the Corsair fugitives, and do so in time to prevent the destruction of Earth?
…Ashes To Ashes…
Stuart Flane, Captain of the starship Mercury is called in unwillingly, kicking and screaming, to investigate the mystery of the ghost-ship Amundsen, which has just pitched up out of the black after being missing for 63 years. On top of that, Flane must also race to a mining colony where strange preternatural fuckery has resulted in six missing children and a series of inexplicable related events had left the subterranean city in a state of panic. What dark, aberrant secret lay behind the tangible terror of Caverna?
How would Flane’s skeptical superiors react to his next report – and above all, how would he word it? The word “carefully” always came to mind. What was he supposed to do – lie? Well, if he didn’t use apparent trigger words like “ghost”, “haunted” or “undead”, that’s pretty much what he’d have to do! Trouble was, some high-ups at Fleet HQ were starting to ask pointed questions about his reports – and sooner or later, Flane worried, someone was going to turn up demanding answers.
The astute Captain’s fears are realized when the Mercury is ordered to Starbase 43, where Commodore Link is waiting to ask a few questions about Flane’s reports. The Commodore, a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic and heavy-handed disciplinarian, makes it his business to interrogate and intimidate crewmembers referenced in Flane’s reports – at least, the ones who aren’t dead yet. Flane grumbles as Link’s investigation progressively turns his life into a bit of a miserable hell. Then, as if by coincidence, the Mercury is redirected to a nearby industrial colony to investigate disturbances at what – much to Flane’s acute embarrassment, turns out to be one of the most haunted hotels in the outblack.
Strange Is Only A Suggestion.
“Sci-fi is the main thing.” I was told in the original brief by Brandon Mullins, CEO and owner of Moon Books Publishing. “Compelling would be nice. Strange is only a suggestion.”
That set the theme (and the title) in stone, and thus it was that Christina Engela’s Strangely Compelling SciFi was born! I set out to look for stories which fit these parameters – sci-fi which celebrates the weird, embraces the unusual, seeks to unscrew the inscrutable… and is also… strangely compelling! If that’s what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place!
This anthology contains eight strangely compelling sci-fi stories by a group of four talented, imaginative fellow writers: H.G. Emert, Thomas M. Malafarina and Major Roxbrough – and me!
This particular title was originally published by Moon Books Publishing, but as Brandon Mullins sadly passed away in January of this year, his widow Elizabeth returned the rights to the book to me. I have now republished it on my own, and it’s now available in its second edition format via all the usual places.
A guide to being an indie author in spite of being stuck in South Africa, by Christina Engela.
So you wrote a book. Be it a novel, a collection of short stories, a how-to-braid-your-own-back-hair-without-a-mirror-and-a-third-hand guide, or an academic research paper about the fascinating night life of hump-backed snails. Whatever it is, you need to get it out there where it will be read, appreciated and praised for the work of genius it really is!
The only trouble is, you don’t know what to do next – and who could blame you? After all, you’ve never done this before! Writing is your game – not cover design, working with images and associated software, marketing – and as for the internet, don’t even go there! It’s all way too complicated! Right?
It can really feel that way sometimes – but the truth is, modern self-publishing is really a lot easier than you may think. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as doing quantum physics – say, like shooting a playing card through the center diamond with a pistol, blindfolded, while riding a dairy cow backwards.
But… you live in South Africa, where almost everything is stacked against you from the start!
Many South Africans today have a story or two to tell – the only trouble is, writing (or typing) the story is just the first part of the journey for an author. It’s what comes after that part that stumps them. What do you do next? How do you get your masterpiece out there? Do you send it to every publishing company you can Google in the hope that someone – anyone – will show interest? What about publishing it yourself? Does that sound crazy, or what? Is it presumptuous? Is that “real” publishing – or is it “vanity press”?
It’s an undeniable fact that since the early 2000’s, the internet has changed the face of the publishing industry and ended monopolization by “traditional” publishers – opening the field up for ANYONE to self-publish their own books – AND being successful at it!
…Except of course, in South Africa.
For bright, talented up-and-coming authors who happen to live at Africa’s southernmost tip, the choices are few and limited – and the over-bearing gate-keepers’ narrow focus and small capacity stifles literary progress and growth in the industry itself!
In South Africa, publishing companies, book sellers, banks, and even government over-regulation all combine to create almost insurmountable obstacles for local authors trying to make names for themselves, or to make a living off their writing talent. There are also no workable local means to self-publish.
South African options in the field are clunky and steam-powered, limited, and expensive. So we do the only logical thing: go online, internationally, to do it ourselves.
In this book, Christina Engela – herself an indie self-published and traditionally published author with over 30 titles in fiction and non-fiction to her credit, will show you how she does it – no cards, pistol, dairy cow, or blindfold required – even if you’re stuck in South Africa!
You can view my audiobooks here.
New releases for now include the long-awaited audiobook of “High Steaks“, which as you may recall, was completed and uploaded ready for review and publication by Brandon almost immediately prior to his untimely death.
Since it has now been published, ten months later, it has finally appeared on Audible! Transference to Nigel Peever’s Peever Publishing account should then take a further number of weeks. “High Steaks” is my 17th audiobook.
I’m extremely grateful to all concerned: Brandon & Elizabeth Mullins, the late-lamented Moon Books Publishing, and Darla Middlebrook the narrator, and Nigel Peever of Peever Publishing for making this possible! I look forward to many happy years of us working together in future!
When complete, these next three audiobooks will be released via ACX!
Feedback & Communication
You can see all my previous reviews here.
I have no new interviews to show you this time, but all my interviews are linked to from this page.
What The Readers Say:
All my reader comments are linked to from this page.
“Blachart” received the following review from Lori on Audible on the 29th of November:
A harrowing, nuanced adventure
“Blachart is a gorgeous, wickedly smart adventure and it’s not just the story or the amazing vocal performance by Mr. Peever that makes this audiobook so memorable. The journey is enhanced by music and sound effects that only deepens the intensity of Mykl d’Angelo story as the skipper and owner of the loderunner Pegasus suffers the harsh losses of this crew and in desperate need of rescuing.
Rescued by the Antares, Mykl d’ Angelo sees getting back into the Space Fleet as the way of having a future once again; he could never imagine becoming a pain to a very dangerous Corsair, known as Blachart the bloody whom had left behind a path of death. As d’Angelo comes to get to know the man faces the conflicts of how to view the man; leading to some of the best encounters this book has to offer.
Grab this book, eBook or audiobook and become immersed in one heck of a world. Highly recommended.” – Lori, Audible review, 29 November 2022.
You’re welcome to browse through the videos on my YouTube video channel! I’m not really the performing seal type, but I do my best! There’s also a 13 minute movie on there, called “Bang, Splat!“, based on characters and settings from “The Time Saving Agency“.
- I listed some videos two weeks ago that Nigel Peever had made, and I must say he’s really been prolific with the marketing! I’m really, really impressed with these new ads! Here they all are:
We’ve been sharing these videos and ads all over the place – Twitter, Facebook, Tumble, Instagram, and it really makes a huge difference to not be doing marketing of my books by myself anymore! By all accounts it might not boost sales as much as we’d hope, but at least I’ve gained a few more great reviews in the process!
Below are links to a few of my most recent posts or articles since my previous newsletter:
- A Peek At My Week! #80
- New Release: High Steaks audiobook!
- Lifeline by Christina Engela – Strangely Moving
- A Peek At My Week! #79
- A Better Way – No More War
- Fantastic New Book Trailer Videos From Peever Publishing!
- New Release: A Guide To Self-publishing In South Africa, 2nd ed
- A Peek At My Week! #78
- My Rage Is Forged In Death
- Easy DIY #81 Make A Display Case From A Steel & Glass Coffee Table
- Free Audiobook: Dead Beckoning, book 3 in the Galaxii Series
- Free Audiobook: A Way Of Life by Theo Engela
- A Peek At My Week! #77
- Free Audiobook: Demonspawn, book 2 in the Galaxii Series
- Free Audiobook: Blachart, book 1 in the Galaxii Series
- Review: Mahindra’s KUV 100 NXT K2+ # Dare
- A Peek At My Week! #76
- Send Your Submissions Now: Schtick! Webzine for Sci-fi & Transgressive Fiction
- Christina Engela’s Monthly Newsletter: #71 November 2022
This will be the last newsletter for the year, although I will be still sending out my weekly “Peeks”. And remember:
In spite of some of my books having been on Amazon since 2005, not one of them has yet reached 10 reviews, let alone 50! I would really appreciate your help on this! Come on, leave a review – it’s free!
Thanks again for all your support, sharing, friendship and interaction!