Good morning, fans and friends!
Since starting the new year after a nice holiday break, I’ve hit the ground running as the saying goes – fortunately I’ve managed to not break or twist anything vital in the process, and have more or less managed to keep going in the direction I intended back in December!
In my first newsletter, in January, I gave a lot of detail about what I was up to in my writing projects, but this time, I will try to cut down and focus on items I am currently working on in the short term.
And now, let me bring you up to speed on news about my writing projects so far!
Readers of the Quantum Series will be happy to know that I have resumed work on book 5 of this series! This is the first new book in this series since 2007 – “Prodigal Sun“, which is also the first in a new trilogy in the series! The book is in final edits and formatting, and should be coming out soon!
This trilogy will consist of “Prodigal Sun“, “High Steaks” and “The Last Hurrah”. I think I will manage to get all three new titles released during 2017 (with modest breaks between releases for the sake of my sanity)!
Although I haven’t touched book 4 in the Galaxii Series – “Overkill” this year yet, I still plan to during 2017. It could hit The Crow Bar by mid to late 2017, although the working title could still change by the time it gets published. I’ll be making announcements in that regard when appropriate.
As I mentioned in the previous newsletter, I’ve been redrafting some of my old short stories to bring them up to my current standard and already have plans to release a second collection called “Space Really Sucks!” later this year.
“Space Really Sucks!” will be a second collection of short fiction by Christina Engela, featuring completely new, never before seen stories.
The translation of all my work into Afrikaans is quite a task as I’m sure you can imagine! My loving PA and GF Wendy K. Gloss and I have already completed translation of a number of my short stories, to which we’ve already received positive and encouraging feedback from a few select readers!
One of the main obstacles in translating is the availability of a much more recent version of a bilingual dictionary – the ones we have and those we’ve seen in shops all seem to lack modern Afrikaans equivalents for technological terms like those I use in sci-fi stories!
We still hope that “Space Sucks!” will be released in Afrikaans sometime during 2017.
“Vampyre Bytes – voices from the South African Vampyre Community”, which features Gothic poetry from participants in this fascinating subculture, which I have edited for LightBearer Publishing, is in final edits and formatting with the publisher.
The other anthology I am editing is for Riot Pink, called “Embracing Justice”, a benefit anthology to fight anti-LGBT discrimination. This is a benefit anthology to promote awareness of discrimination against LGBT people, tell our stories and find resources. This will be due out whenever we reach enough submissions to go to press.
I have received more entries since January, but more is always welcome, and in fact necessary in order to actually go to press!
What is the inspiration behind “Embracing Justice”?
“The huge increase in incidence of hate crime and violence reported across the USA against LGBT people – and in other places around the world, linked to an apparent rise in bigotry and anti-human rights sentiments – is nothing less than an outrage! There is also legal discrimination to contend with, where a vulnerable minority faces discrimination which although immoral, is nonetheless enforced by unjust laws.
The type of content we’re looking for will fit into four sections:
- First-hand accounts of anti-LGBT attacks (i.e. from personal experience – what happened, how did it affect you, how did it make you feel?),
- Poetry (about homophobia or transphobia etc),
- Short fiction (also about homophobia or transphobia etc) and
- Resources (information, links or organizations that assist LGBTI people, suicide prevention etc) – and since this project is open to international entry, these can be based anywhere).
Yes, submissions are still open!
(Submission of material is not a guarantee of placement. Riot Pink and its editors reserve the right to select content which is appropriate to the project.)”
Please mail me your entries/submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sadly, since January started, I haven’t had much time to spend on “Space Cases” yet, with my friend and famed horror and ‘barfazo’ author Alex S. Johnson in our sci-fi horror-comedy collaboration! Hopefully I will get around to it soon again!
Back when I was an activist who campaigned a lot on social media against bigotry in form of homophobia and transphobia, and running two LGBT rights groups (SA GLAAD and ECGLA), I put together an online information resource which mainly consisted of useful quotes and links to articles online. These links came in handy to post as replies to enraged bigots, rather than typing out lengthy replies each time! Instead, the link would manifest with a reference to a useful scientific or medical article that would invalidate the bigot’s viewpoint, and they would be left there, seething, embarrassed, with egg on their faces!
In about 2009 I released “The Pink Community – The Facts“. Over time, links became broken and new information came along that needed to be added etc. In January 2017 I released the newly revamped and updated Second Edition of this useful resource as a free download – as a public service to the LGBT activist community.
On A Personal Note
In January I was pleased to notice that in addition to all the fine sites that carry my titles, they are now also available on eBookMall as well!
During the past month I did a little updating to my website, recovered a few ‘missing’ articles or documents which I felt would add something positive to the overall look and feel of the resource, and updated and added them to it. Among these, were two reviews. Back in 2010 I wrote a review about South Africa’s very worst movie ever – that is, in terms of vampire movies! “Eternity” was, well – simply deplorable! But the review was pretty great – better than the movie, at least! I’d mislaid it for some time, but eventually found a copy and added it to the website under the Reviews section.
The second review was one I did of a Chevrolet Lumina (the SSS model) from 2007. It was the only car review I ever wrote, and since it was rather special to me – and entertaining, I added it to the website under the Reviews section too.
Further afield, as you might know, I have been a human rights activist for some time, and although I am used to receiving hate mail and looking at it in the light of “oh well, I must be doing something right to piss off the right people“, occasionally it is amazing to receive a note of thanks, such as this one:
I just wanted you to know that your comments about John Smyth were one of the HELPFUL reasons that inspired myself particularly and other victims of John’s to decide that it was time to expose him. UK Ch4 Evening News (most likely Thursday/Friday of this week).”
The ‘comments’ the above note referred to were from an activism article I’d written about local South African hate groups which were working to undermine LGBT human rights in South Africa and their activities. One such South African group was “Justice Alliance of South Africa”, led by its founder John Smyth, who had moved from Britain to Zimbabwe, and then to South Africa.
Since the early 2000’s, this fella has been pushing various time-wasting lawsuits via JASA as part of the “Christian Action Network” (or CAN) – to challenge various human rights laws in the country – some against LGBT rights. Even now, there are still some cases pending.
As there always is, there was more to the story. Although I hadn’t known it at the time, Mr. Smyth had a sordid and shady past of abusing young boys at “Christian” holiday camps, and had apparently fled each country in turn, to seemingly try and get away from the stigma there and to make a fresh start. Considering what he’d got up to in the UK and in Zimbabwe (where one boy uder his care died mysteriously) I can only wonder what he’s got up to in South Africa that we haven’t found out about yet?
It’s rewarding to know that I’ve helped to make a positive difference, not only in making the world a little bit safer, but also because it helped some of his victims find some closure, or perhaps satisfaction in having the truth known with a view to justice being served. I’m happy to have played my own small part – even if just by encouraging some of his victims to expose this monster, and to expose the hidden face of pious, religious ‘morality’ pundits who are far more likely themselves to be guilty of the things they try to scapegoat and blame others for. But enough about that, let me put my soap box away!
On a less serious and somber note, I also started to use my YouTube channel again, and posted my first new video since I last uploaded my book trailers. You can also find them on my website on the Video Channel page. The latest video is A bit about the books I’ve written, posted on Jan 26, 2017.
[Video Not Available At This Time]
I will try harder to post videos more frequently, but I’m just not one of those folks who likes to take videos or “selfies” of themselves doing every day things!
During the first month of this year, I received some amazing new reviews and positive comments about my writing – but perhaps the most encouraging news I have on this point is the stats I have for the past month! For example, my short story “The Thirteenth Ship“, which is available as a free promotional item, was downloaded a grand total of 285 times by readers in the UK, followed by 59 in the USA! Overall, readers from the USA downloaded 101 items during January 2017, while readers in the UK downloaded 135 items over the same period!
Most encouraging to me is the diverse locations of the people reading my work! Aside from the USA and Britain – Canada, Germany, France, Russia, Belgium, Finland, Austria, India, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, China, Australia and Japan have begun to show up regularly in my reports as well! In this, I must certainly give honorable mention and thanks to Wendy K. Gloss and DarkLady Marketing – and to you, my readers – without your word-of-mouth promotion of my work, my readership would not be growing as quickly! <3
I’m always willing to chat with fans of my writing, so if you would like to, please feel free to interact with me in my facebook group, or via email (email@example.com) or via the contact page on my website.
Your drawings or commentary about how you perceive characters or the settings of my stories are eagerly awaited and welcome – I would love to see and hear how you feel about them! I might even add them to a page on the site!
You can show me your support by leaving helpful reviews of my books where you purchased them, whether on Lulu, Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, Lybrary, iTunes, Nook or eBookMall. You might not realize it, but it makes a difference – not just to me in seeing that people liked my work, but also to others who may be thinking about getting it, and wondering if it’s worthwhile since there aren’t many (or any) helpful reviews!
Until next time!
All the best!