Fun Fact #7: Johannes Albrecht & Albrecht’s Takeaways


Today in Fun Facts, a series of articles about characters and plot devices in my stories, I’ll be talking about Johannes Albrecht.

More

Panic! Horror In Space – A Voyage Of Terrifying Misadventure!


About “Panic! Horror In Space” by Christina Engela – a sci-fi-horror series.

Panic! Horror In Space‘ is a series of science-fiction-horror stories featuring regular characters, with the occasional introduction of new characters or settings. The premise of the concept was to create a horror-sci-fi story in a series of connected short fiction installments.

While on an otherwise routine deep-space mission to chart new territory on the frontier of unknown space, the Pioneer Fleet starship Mercury is probably the unluckiest ship in history. Not once, not twice, but many times over, the same hapless crew – give or take a few dozen casualties – on a supposed voyage of deep space exploration, stumble into the weird, wake the creepy and trip over the downright terrifying and possibly even supernatural… More

“High Steaks”: Quantum Series Book 6


High Steaks” continues a new adventure begun in the previous book “Prodigal Sun”, and introduces fascinating new characters as well as expanding on many different detail aspects of the quaint Terran colony of Deanna!

Available in eBook and paperback via Amazon!

More

Are Indie Published Authors Really “Published” Authors?


There used to be a perception years ago that a writer who made use of self-publishing services was not a published “proper” author. In fact, back in the day, such authors who paid for publishing services were dismissed and criticized (often harshly) as ‘pretenders’ and wannabes, and the presses that offered such services were laughed off as ‘vanity press’ publishers.

But what about today?  More

“Prodigal Sun”: Quantum Series Book 5


Prodigal Sun“, book 5 in The Quantum Series, is now available in eBook and paperback formats!

Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller suddenly found herself hip-deep in strange events – even stranger than usual… and skinheads too – did she mention the skinheads?

Something had stirred in the darkness on the remote, usually idyllic Terran colony of Deanna – something Nazi… And it only seemed to be getting worse!

Nobody could say when it started, or how, but something had changed. Without being noticed, hate had come to Deanna and made a nest there… and a terrible plot was about to hatch!

The quirky residents of the third-rate colony faced a challenge unlike any they had seen before. Was there still time to stop it? Only Time would tell if they were up for it.

“Prodigal Sun” is the fifth title in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela.

“Engela’s latest work is packed with humour, challenging ideas, and science-fiction on a grand scale. It transports readers to a truly original world, filled with bizarre and memorable characters. It tackles social issues while reading like a Terry Pratchett, with some western and sci-fi elements to boot.” – Matthew ‘Sand-Storm’ Fick, journalist.

The Quantum Quadrilogy : What Readers Can Expect


As most of my readers will be aware, since 2016 I’ve been promoting the next span of upcoming titles in the Quantum Series! Through various updates and newsletters, I’ve kept you all informed about my progress in writing these next four books – more or less simultaneously – give or take a couple of breaks in between!

As you can imagine, it has been a gargantuan task! I’m happy to tell you that the first two, “Prodigal Sun” (published February 23, 2017) and the second “High Steaks“, are already available (published in June 2017)! The third title in what I’ve come to call “the Quantum Quadrilogy”, “Underground Movement”, is still in the works.

[NOTE: This article has been updated since it was originally published to reflect the addition of a fourth title to this next span of Quantum Series stories! Also, since this article is about a span of books within a series, some of which have yet to be published, be prepared to see it being referred to a lot in the future as it comes to subsequent release dates of the next three titles!]

In the meantime, I thought I would go into a little more detail about the story being told across these four books – “Prodigal Sun“, “High Steaks“, “Underground Movement” and “Moon Jockeys” – books 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the Quantum Series! More

A Trip To The VW Museum!


dsc_0418

Hello fans! Yesterday, my long suffering PA and GF, Wendy K. Gloss, went on a road trip to the small city of Uitenhage, or to be more exact, to the VW museum which is right next door to the VW factory. This is the same factory where all South African VW Beetles (and more recently, the Bug-shaped ‘nice try’ they call ‘the new beetle’) were made.

I’ve been on holiday over December and January, and while I’ve been relaxing some of the time, I’ve also been doing a lot of D.I.Y. ‘stuff’ around the house. Yesterday was just a nice get away from it all, so Kay and I boarded Dolly (our 1962 1200cc VW) and took a casual, uneventful drive out to Uitenhage. More

New Release: “African Assignment”


This past week, ‘African Assignment‘, my dad’s collection of short stories, was released via LightBearer Publishing – which is based in Johannesburg, South Africa – now available via Amazon.

Although my dad carried the heavy burden of a long traditional family name – namely ‘Theodorus Cornelius Landman Engela’, he preferred to go by ‘Theo Engela’.  A humble and cultured man from humble but honorable beginnings, over his lifetime (1930-1985), he became fairly well-known (locally) as a South African author. During the 1960’s and 70’s, numerous short stories written by him appeared in radio dramatizations on Springbok Radio (SABC) produced by Michael Mc Cabe, with numerous mentions in the radio news publications and local newspapers over the years. More

Visit The Planet Deanna – Here’s The Address!


Zip up your viro-suit, put your helmet on, and buckle up! The engines are already warm and humming… This is where we’re going:
Destination address: 6327B2B.04.00 (System: 6327B2B, Star: Ramalama, Planet: 04 (Deanna), Colony Class 3).
😉
navigational-symbols-deanna
Deanna, is a third rate colony world on the borders of civilization, (System 6327B2B) on the Imperial Star Charts) where strange things can happen and often do. This planet has been described (perhaps most famously in the Galactic Tourist Guide) as ‘the center of the universe as far as weirdness is concerned‘. One of the contributing factors toward this unenviable reputation might have something to do with the fact that it has a small moon (called Ding) that falls down occasionally. The other moon, Dong, is much bigger, just sits there and doesn’t do much… Read about the main setting of the Quantum Series – Deanna

“Target Market” – Who is Christina Engela’s?


Good day, everyone!

Today I’d like to talk to you about stereotypes!

(Before I get into an explanation of what I mean, I would like to emphasize that my stories are not just “all about LGBT people” or intended to rub straight reader’s noses in a rainbow flag and sprinkle glitter all over their cornflakes!)

You see, I’ve been asked a rather difficult question as a writer, and that is “What exactly is my intended market?”

At first glance, anyone who looks at my books might think they are ordinary sci-fi stories – but nothing could be further from the truth!

My writing is NOT stereotypical, and my characters – regardless of their sexuality or gender – are anything but stereotypes!

This could be a consequence of the fact that I am no ordinary writer. As an individual I have quite a diverse background myself, being that I’m a transgender woman in a committed relationship with a woman – but that is just scraping the tip of the iceberg as it were, and without getting distracted too much by me waffling about my background, let’s get back to the subject at hand.

Those of you reading this may be happily heterosexual or happily cisgender; or you could be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or any other flavor or variation of the Kinsey Scale – that isn’t really the issue I want to address – BUT what I would like to do is to highlight the general stereotypes the media – and writers in general tend to apply to LGBT characters – and in so doing, the negative stereotypes they cast on real-life LGBT people!

For example – in almost every single movie I’ve seen (or books) featuring LGBT characters, the characters are stereotypes:

  • Gay men are shallow, weak, slutty, effeminate – and usually hair dressers.
  • Gay women are sex-objects for straight guys to get off on watching, and are really looking for a man to make them happy and ‘save’ them.
  • Bisexual people are immoral slutty individuals who can’t make up their minds, so they sleep with everybody and can’t form long-term committed relationships.
  • Transgender women are generally typecast as prostitutes or escorts, and tend to look like men in drag. Transwomen by the way, are almost always played by cisgender women in movies and series.
  • Typically, LGBT people are also negatively stereotyped as the villains in stories or as people who do not contribute positively or constructively to human society.

None of these movies (or books) featured LGBT characters who were cast as the lead in the story, as the ‘good-guy’ or action hero (or heroine). Either none, or very few I’ve seen, feature any LGBT characters that demonstrate admirable morality or inspiring values, behavior or acts – in fact, they are almost always included as a plot device to introduce an erotic angle or a sexual interest or fetish element into the story!

Of course, this is nowhere near the reality of life for LGBT people. As with any stereotype, there is only a tiny bit of truth to the bias – while the reality is far different, and remains ignored by the stereotype. There are LGBT people in every field of work, and in every social circle. There are gay airline pilots and members of parliament, transgender news anchors and politicians, lesbian soldiers and clergy – and well, bisexual folks are just everywhere! *wink*

All that is left otherwise, for the LGBT reader is smutty third-rate soft-porn on the LGBT shelf at the back of the book store that has no story content worth bothering to read – or a selection of autobiographies of LGBT personalities perhaps, and then of course, the countless fiction novels written by and mainly for heterosexual and cisgender readers.

In mainstream fiction – regardless of whether sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romance, or general – the average writer tends to tell stories of heterosexual cisgender characters and how they relate to others like them, getting on with the business of saving the world, winning wars, and so on, while generally ignoring LGBT readers and their interests or issues.

Sometimes this is deliberate, borne out of a personal bias or prejudice on the part of the writer. This isn’t always the case – it’s not always intentional – after all, how can a heterosexual person who has never had any cause to question their sexuality or gender be expected to understand the scope of issues LGBT people face?

These negative stereotypes of LGBT people in fiction – which tends to reflect the perceptions of the writers in relation to how they understand us in the real world context – reinforces the idea that if LGBT people are illustrated in these terms, then that is all that should be expected of them in real life as well!

No wonder so few LGBT people actually read books anymore!

Well, fear not!

Now there are TWO series of novels AIMED at the intelligent, discerning and open-minded reader who appreciates fiction written BY an author who is part of the LGBT community, and who has spent years campaigning for LGBT equality and human rights as an activist!

All my novels feature LGBT characters in some form or another – and in all of them, these characters are either THE leading character, or one of the main characters.

LGBT characters and issues are portrayed in a balanced outlook, and are not sensationalized.

My novels feature LGBT characters as inspirational people – action heroes, military personnel, leaders, pilots, scientists, police officers, CIA agents to mention but a few.

In my books, LGBT characters are treated just like normal everyday people – not as caricatures, or sensational elements!

My market therefore, is not just Sci-Fi/Fantasy – but LGBT-friendly Sci-Fi/fantasy!

If you’re NOT part of the LGBT collective, you needn’t worry that you will have some kind of ‘gay agenda’ rammed down your throat – the beauty of my stories is that these appear as ELEMENTS of the story – not AS the story! There are plenty of heterosexual and cisgender characters – even lead characters – in there to balance things out!

To illustrate my point, here is a brief listing of my novels and LGBT characters featured:

The Galaxii Series:

Blachart” – Blachart, the Corsair nemesis of the lead character Mykl d’Angelo (straight), is a gay man. Although he starts out as a fearful villain, as the story progresses, the character becomes d’Angelo’s firm friend and ally who leads him through a dangerous mission to scout the Corsair base.

Demonspawn” – Joe Lofflin, the first officer of the ISS Darraine, an imperial warship marooned in deep space, is a gay man. After the death of Captain Blaine, Lofflin leads the crew in their efforts to survive – and the investigation into the string of mysterious deaths on a derelict alien ship they encounter, and through a thrill-packed action adventure.

Dead Beckoning” – This story features characters from ‘Blachart’ and ‘Demonspawn’, working together to capture the last free, most dangerous Corsair leader after the fall of the Corsair base world. It also introduces Blachart’s new love interest, a trans-woman by the name of Marsha – who moved to the fringes of civilization to start over as an entrepreneur business-owner.

Black Sunrise” – This story features a transwoman (Cindy-Mei Winter), a former agent for the Colonial Intelligence Agency (CIA), who after her transition, moves to a little-known colony called Deanna. There she enlists the aid of Gary Beck, who is a bounty hunter, to help track a missing alien, and by the end of the story, the two enter into a relationship. Along the way, they meet Danielle Grauffis, a 17 year old girl just starting out in her gender transition.

The Time Saving Agency” – Featuring mostly the same characters as in ‘Black Sunrise’, this story puts Gary Beck – Mei’s boyfriend, at the center of the story. Aside from dealing with the heterosexual Beck’s difficulty in understanding Mei’s male past, the story is full of action and comedy – and time travel!

Dead Man’s Hammer” – Again featuring Cindy-Mei Winter as the lead character, this story deals with her grief and anger at what appears to be Gary Beck’s death, and her quest for justice – which leads her and her friends, including the very straight Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller, Fred the Arborian, and Dannielle Grauffis.

Loderunner” – Timaset Skooch, a private investigator, and slightly confused heterosexual male who happened to fall in love with Dory, aka Dorian Wintermuller one heavy night at a local club, is faced with his partner’s choice to transition to fully female. To complicate matters still further, he has won a run-down old cargo-ship in a game of Uno, and the only choice to improve his lot open to him, is to seek his fortune running cargo across deep-space. Of necessity, he asks the local mafia contact for a little help in finding a fare to start out with. On the Celeste, he meets Victoria Somers, aka ‘Vic’ who is very masculine, but totally cisgender and straight, and a young transgender passenger accompanied by a sinister chaperone who turns out to be a kidnapper holding young Jaymie Vallantdorf for ransom until the Mayor of Mars City pays up. The story is a delightful interstellar romp filled with comedy, action and adventure!

Prodigal Sun” and “High Steaks” include numerous LGBT characters, and those closest to them.

My books are not exactly ‘activism’, but if you happen to end up understanding or even feeling more at ease around LGBT people better than you did before, then so much the better. Sarah from Focus Mid-South had the following to say about that:

“Engela’s eye for the quirky humor of even the darkest situations sets her writing apart from the masses. Her fiction combines oddball humor, in the tradition of writers like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, with the best of traditional science fiction. A government agency regulates time and its manipulation against the efforts of a brilliant scoundrel. A retired space cop turned bounty hunter grumbles and grunts like a classic pulp noir detective. A glamorous retired intelligence agent moves to a new planet in the hopes of escaping the mystery and mayhem of her former life. And tucked inside her stories, like a kind of stealth activism, lurks a beast almost never seen in either mainstream or science fiction: fully fleshed out LGBT characters.” – Sarah Rutledge Fischer, Focus Mid-South magazine

Again, my writing is NOT stereotypical, and my characters – regardless of their sexuality or gender – are anything but stereotypes!

My stories are about every day, ordinary people and extraordinary situations, told in an entertaining way – and some of them happen to be LGB or T.

You should try reading them sometime. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it – whatever you are! 🙂

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: