Hello, friends and fans!
Welcome to my 80th monthly newsletter – for news, writing & publishing updates & reviews! Pull up a chair, let’s chat! Let’s take a look at this month’s “stuff”!
August was a pretty weird month, with lots of odd little things happening in daily life – I’ve heard all the planets are in retrograde at the moment, so that kinda figures! I had to empty my savings account to have as much of the roof repaired and waterproofed as I could manage this time around. The guy did a great job and I got a little discount – and the rest of the roof I’ll have to take care of myself during my December vacation. There’s also some damp damage to the inside of the lounge wall that needs to dry out and get treated before I can repaint it – and trust me, that is just about every bit as exciting as it sounds. That was just one of the things that happened this month, but anyway, I still managed to do quite a lot of writing last month, and I’m quite happy with that!
“Freedom Inc“, the first book in my new sci-fi adventure series (“Threaders“) has been the main focus of my writing over the past few weeks, and I’m happy to report that it’s making progress! It’s already past 44,000 words!Unfortunately I didn’t get to do nearly as much writing on this story as I wanted to this last couple of weeks, but hopefully I’ll be able to give you better news next time! Anyway, during August, I also set up a page for this series and its first book on my website, and also a page listing of some of the characters and so on, with a few character designs. Meanwhile, here is the poster for the first book I shared last week:
I’m continuing to work on this story – and will, as always, let you know what happens next
Moving on to other matters:
Currently Available Titles:
My books are available as eBooks, Paperbacks, and in many cases also as Audiobooks, and you can find them just about 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).
My most recent new releases in 2023 were “Underground Movement“, “Xanadu“, “The Last Hurrah“, a 1-act play called “The Traitor Loyal” and “Terror In The Outblack“. Also new in July 2023 are three guides offering background in-depth info, that were previously available in earlier forms! They’ve now been formally published for the first time: “The Galaxii Guide To The Terran Space Fleet“, “The Galaxii Guide To Corsairs & The Black Fleet” and “Come To Deanna!“. “Through Technical Spectacles: A Quantum Guide” is a completely new title released on 27 July for the first time, containing 86 illustrations for 26 different topics.
You can view all 20 of my audiobooks here.
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.
I received the following reader’s reviews this past month:
“Wow, this story is just fantastic! You feel as if you are part of it! I cannot say any more without giving away the plot! Just brilliant! The narrator was so good with all of his gadgets to help it along 😊” – Dave & Linda, August 18, 2023, review of Blachart on Audible.
Enjoyable Complex Characters
“The story tuned out to be quite different than what I expected from the cover. I thought it would be a quirky sci-fi space/planetary adventure. Well, it was, sort of, but primarily focused on the personal identity struggles of the unconventional characters. Generally I found it engaging and empathized with the main characters, except for a few instances where the author either veered onto a social pulpet or their characterizations did not ring true for me. But all in all I found the book enjoyable and look forward to reading more.” CKing review for Black Sunrise on Audible.
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 animated movie on there, called “Bang, Splat!“, based on characters and settings from “The Time Saving Agency“.
Below are links to a few of my most recent posts or articles since my previous newsletter:
- A Peek At My Week! #115
- Artificial Intelligence vs Natural Stupidity
- A Peek At My Week! #114
- A Peek At My Week! #113
- A Peek At My Week! #112
- Christina Engela’s Monthly Newsletter: #79 August 2023
The screenshotted post below was made on 11 August in our residents clients-only Whatsapp group run by our security company for our suburb. Of course, as soon as I read this person’s post, I saw red. In fact, I was enraged. Below, the original post and my response in the group, which prompted the admin to intervene and shut down the conversation within minutes.
Not only did this presumptuous individual name and shame the people who live there (who aren’t even in the group because they’re not clients of the same security company) but he also included their address and a photo of the front of their home with his post to clarify who it was he was speaking about.
Just a few things stand out to me about it:
1) Whoever this guy thinks he is, people in my area are seemingly reporting to him on their neighbors activities for petty little things that are not only NOT criminal acts, but are in fact none of their fucking business – plain gesê.
2) He seems to think people need permission (from whom?) to give food to passing homeless or poor people who ring their bell to ask for help. He’s in for a surprise if he thinks anyone – including me – is going to ask his (or anyone’s) permission for anything like this. What I do with my charity or my food or whom I choose to give it to, is entirely my business – and if anyone doesn’t like it, they can piss right off.
3) Security companies in South Africa aren’t allowed to so much as remove non-paying tenants from properties belonging to their clients, or to chase people squatting on properties not belonging to their clients, or to stop-search anyone walking in the street – so what makes this guy think their suggestions at semi-public meetings are in any way binding or legally enforceable? They are in fact suggestions, nothing more, and worth bugger-all in the real world.
4) I get that he’s likely speaking from a place of fear and even hysteria in this case, after all, a woman was just murdered by an intruder in her lounge a couple of blocks away three days ago – but he’s also speaking from a position of privilege as someone who’s never been hungry or destitute before – or who is just really selfish, doesn’t give a shit about other people, and would rather influence others to withhold charity from those who need it, and is willing to bully them to toe the line if that’s what it takes.
5) “This is not acceptable” he said. Actually, EVERYTHING he said was unacceptable to me, in point of fact, the concept of crime-ridden neighborhoods is unacceptable to me, as are the notions of poverty and destitution – but instead of tackling those issues, he’s targeting those under the wheel and those trying to help them. But, most of all, what tops all of that is the thoughtless brutality which some people can so easily dish out towards others. His statement was nothing more than an exercise in the denigration of the humane and the promotion of the inhumane – and to cut it down to the very root, it was nothing less than bullying, and I won’t accept that.
Next time someone rings my bell to ask for food or the like, I will be sure to lay it on nice and thick just so whoever is spying on the neighborhood for him can enjoy the show, take photos, and have something to ineffectually gossip about, as they seem to have nothing better to occupy their time.
At some point during August, I shared my displeasure at what anti-science nonsense I’d overheard in conversation at work one morning. I often overhear people saying things I disagree with, or know are completely wrong – or are just being overtly malicious, and I manage to keep my mouth shut for the sake of peace at the office, but that morning I found myself in a spirited argument before I realized it.
Autism and neurodivergence was reduced to an affliction blamed on science ‘playing God’ – a result of a conspiracy-theory level misunderstanding and misrepresentation of science.
When challenged, the individual couldn’t name the study they claim “proved” their statement. Here’s a clue – there isn’t one. It doesn’t exist. But it is a well-known Trumpanzee “talking point” and claim, put forth by Q’anon and a few hundred right wing conspiracy-theorist nutters on Youtube or Tiktok – the same lunatics who pushed their followers to drink bleach to prevent themselves from catching COVID not very long ago (the world would probably be a nicer, safer place if they actually did – whoops, did I say that out loud?!).
Incidentally, this nonsense came from a Trump fan who regularly repeats nonsensical right-wing propaganda – even though we’re in South Africa, not the Southern bible-belt of the Disunited States of America. A second colleague joined in to support the first, taking science denialism – and the argument – to the next level by adding that “Evolution is rubbish”. Sure, Karen, your five minutes paying attention in church every Sunday is a valid argument against 164 years of intensive global scientific research and study on the subject. All those scientists who think they’re so clever should just stop what they’re doing and go to church, right?
How does an intelligent person deal with closed-minded people who live in a fucking echo chamber and who know bugger-all about a subject, but think that they (through the lens of their religion which was created by illiterate bronze-age sheep-herders who didn’t even know where the sun went at night) has all the answers?
Anyway, I decided to share the gist of it in a FB post. To be blunt, while I know Facebook is overrun with trolls and common or garden variety morons and idiots, I hardly expected the sort of idiotic response I got on the post!
The person who responded in the screenshot below, agreeing with the brain-farts of my *cough* colleagues, was – to my horror – also trans. They ought to know better IMHO, because transgender people tend to have reason to doubt the sort of pseudoscientific conspiracy-theorist claptrap touted by right wingers, but since they had bible quotes all over their profile I have to admit their ignorance was unsurprising. Oh, the stupidity… It burns!
WHY did they follow me on Facebook in the first place? They were bound to have a rough time!
A Few Laughs:
Just a few laughs from the past month:
Imagine being a member of this nutcase’s crew?
“What was that, Captain? You want me to go over there? Over there… to the enemy ship that’s been shooting at us – the one we’ve been shooting at – for the last 14 hours? To ask them to borrow some ammo?”
“Yes. Tell them they won’t have to wait long, we’ll send it right back!”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be perfectly safe! Here – just shut up and take this white flag!”
The Brit said no – odds are, after 14 hours firing their canon, the Royal Navy ship was probably low on ammo too – but I’ll bet the Norwegian emissary was praying and grumbling all the way there and back, probably wishing he’d gone to work in his uncle’s cheese factory instead!
And some people say history is boring?!
In spite of some of my books having been on Amazon since 2005, not one of them has yet reached 50 reviews! 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!