Changa’s World

So I’ve been telling you guys about Changa. I thought I’d let you hear about it from the man himself, Charles R. Saunders.

A DIFFERENT SAFARI

By Charles R. Saunders

Once there was a world in which sea lanes and trade winds connected scores of exotic kingdoms on opposite shores of a great ocean.  Nations of black, brown, yellow and white people interacted in rivalry and harmony, war and peace, trade and treachery.  This world was not conjured out of a story-teller’s imagination.  It was real – the world of the African and Asian lands washed by the Indian Ocean.  This world reached its peak during the 14th and 15th centuries, only to experience a downfall that lasted half a millennium.

During the best of this world’s times, a vast and intricate commercial network stretched from the interior of Africa to the farthest reaches of China and India.  That network ultimately unraveled with the coming of the Portuguese and other European nations bent on conquest and colonization.  That was the downfall of a trade that was likely the richest in the world – a fact glossed over or ignored in subsequent history books.

That world lives again in Milton Davis’s Changa’s Safari.  The title character, Changa Diop, is a merchant who drives a hard bargain, and can back it up with a sword-blade when necessary.  Of West African ancestry, Changa fights his way out of slavery in the glittering cities of Africa’s East Coast, and becomes a force to be reckoned with on two continents.

With his companion Panya, an enigmatic Yoruba sorceress, Changa goes to places whose names echo in the halls of history: Mombassa, Calicut, Zimbabwe, the Middle Kingdom of China, Sofala and Indonesia.  Larger than life but hardly superhuman, Changa contends with mercantile rivals and political intrigue – not to mention supernatural perils – malevolent sorcery and mythical beings that come to terrifying life.

The word “safari” means “journey” in Swahili, the lingua franca of the East Coast.  These days, that word is associated with khaki-clad white men and women chopping their way through the jungle, accompanied by black porters bearing bundles of supplies on their heads. Changa’s safari is a journey of a different kind: an epic passage that makes the Odyssey look like a walk in the park. 

With this novel, Milton restores a world of magic and mystery that is nonetheless the real world of our past – a past that centuries of colonialism obscured, but could not destroy.

Changa’s ship is about to depart. Get on board, and enjoy the ride.

A slow month…sort of

Well, April’s been a bit of a disappointment. I was riding high from the first three months of the year, hoping to carry that momentum into April. Alas, it was not to be. No sales this month, although the month’s not over. Still, I’m ahead of last year sales wise and I have a couple of events scheduled for May that should break the drought. The reality is that I had no events scheduled for April and my internet sales have always been iffy. I have a plan to do something about the online issue; I’ll keep you informed as how it goes.

The month was slow sales wise but definitely not uneventful. First there was the BSFS glitch, then the closing of The Grounds Coffeehouse, the setup of www.wagadu.ning.com, then the announcement by Ning that they are ending free services. So suffice it to say I found myself doing some serious adjusting to this brave new world. But that’s life; change. Those who can adapt to change are the ones who are successful. I re-learned a few lessons during all this turmoil. I sharpened my focus on what I’m trying to accomplish and how I’m going about it, and that’s always good.

Some new things for May. I’m running a special on Meji Book One, I have an exclusive Meji story that will start its run on Wagadu and I’m continuing my story Destiny on http://blackscififantasy24.ning.com/profiles/blogs/destiny-1. I’m writing Destiny in a series of blogs so be sure to check back for updates to the story. I think you’ll enjoy it.

So here’s to May and its flowers! (hopefully)

The Ning Thing

If your a member of a Ning social site you’ve heard the news. Ning is eliminating the free service to concentrate on it’s premium (translation-paying) customers. I just recently created a ning site,http://wagadu.ning.com/, because of a glitch that occurred at a Ning site I spent a lot of time on. Little did I know that the glitch was a sign of things to come.

I had avoided making a Ning site because I didn’t want the hassle of maintaining it. Once I created it I began to warm to it. I liked having a social site dedicated to Sword and Soul and African history.  The folks that followed me were true fans of the genre, which gave the site a very cool feel.

Now this. I’m waiting to see what the cost will be before I make a final decision. In the meantime I started a Wagadu page on Facebook and I’m looking into other free social sites.  The best move would probably be to set something up that I owned. I have no idea what that would take or how much it would cost. It’s worth a look, though.  Whatever I decide, a social site is definitely in my future.

ResAliens

One of the good things about writing is I get to meet some really good people. I met Lyndon Perry at the forum of http://www.sfreader.com/. Lyn is the publisher of ResAliens, a speculative fiction magazine that specializes in spiritually themed stories. It’s been a while since I sat down and read a short story magazine even though I write quite a few short stories myself. It’s been my experience that even the best are usually an uneven affair when it comes to the quality of the story. I can happily say that I enjoyed every story in Lyn’s magazine.

The first story, The Matter of Dalgatto by David M. Pitchford put me in the mind of a Solomon Kane tale. All the stories were great, but my favorite was The Bukler of Big Swaash by Josef J. Hoskins. It’s a spoof on the high fantasy hero and quite funny. My honorable mention would be Gram’s Gift by Steve Goble.

You can’t go wrong with any of any of these stories. My only regret is that I wasn’t reading this great magazine on the beach for spring break. Lyn has a good eye for stories and provides an interesting mix to keep you guessing what’s next. I highly recommend ResAliens Issue 2. It’s well worth the read.

You can learn more about Lyn and ResAliens here: http://www.resaliens.com/

A Shout Out On The Cimmerian!

The Cimmerian Banner

Charles Saunders told me about this today so I thought I’d post it up. I’ve been mentioned before on the Cimmerian, but it always makes me proud when they have something to say about my work. You can read it here:http://www.thecimmerian.com/?p=12904#more-12904

Disappearing Acts

Disappearing Act by vampire-zombie, Deviantart

This month has been a wake up call for me. In the past two weeks two venues where I planned to grow my Sword and Soul audience have disappeared, both temporarily according to the powers that be. One venue is a local establishment that showed real possibilities, the other an online site where I spent a considerable amout of time.

I’m not particularly upset by the situation although I am disappointed with myself. I know by experience how opportunities can come and go. We all take a risk when we sign on to promoting ourselves and our products through other venues. We assume these avenues will be permanent, at least permanent enough for our purposes and most of the time they are. But some times situations change and we find ourselves losing something in the process. Last year I set my books up in a local bookstore on a consignment basis. A few months later the bookstore went belly up with little warning. By the time I got to the site the store was empty. I did run into the former owner later online and asked him about getting my books but got no answer.  I guess returning my books was the last thing on his mind.
If and when these venues became active again I’ll patronize them, but not at my previous level. Fair or not these recent events have made me wary. I’m in the process of beefing up my own network and I’ll probably add a few online goodies to support the generous folks interested in what I do.  At least this way I can make sure I have control of my contacts and make the best of my time and energy.  Stay tuned.

Hollywood Shuffle

It’s most every writers’ dream, right up there with writing a blockbuster novel.  Your book is flying off the shelves then you agent calls you and says, ‘(insert name here)’, I have great news. (Insert your favorite director/producer/movie studio/actor here) want to buy the movie rights to your book. What follows is a whirlwind of success that ends with you on a private island giving an interview to Oprah.

If only it was so easy. I’ve had the privilege to follow the blogs of a number of writers trying to make it in Hollywood and I’ve come to one conclusion. I don’t want to work that hard. Like any creative endeavor success can appear by chance just as easy as by hard work. But Hollywood seems a high mountain to climb and you have to have the talent, the strength, support and endurance to make it work.

I used to follow a blog by a talented young man who gave out advice about writing. This young man decided to go for his dreams and move to L.A. I follow him on Facebook as he details his journey to become a successful screenwriter. I have a feeling he’ll succeed on some level because he possesses the above mentioned qualities. I’ve also read posts by two of my favorite writers, Tananarive Due and Steve Barnes, as they pursue the same path. Their path is aided by the fact that they both are successful writers and they work with Blair Underwood. Still, they share the struggles of the Hollywood Shuffle.

While I support theirs and anyone efforts to break into the rare air of Hollywood success, I’m a fan of local success. I think it’s best to establish a local reputation then spread from there. It’s like winning a game with well placed base hits instead of swinging for the fence every time at bat. But then who am I? I’m still trying to get my books distributed. Still, based on my previous experiences it just makes sense to me this way. Besides, I’m way too lazy to shuffle.