News From The Crow Bar #1 – Jan 2017


christina-engela-2Good morning, fans and friends!

My PA (and long suffering girlfriend) Kay (a.k.a. Wendy K. Gloss) suggested that I start doing a newsletter – so, this being my first newsletter, Number One, Nommer Een, Numero Uno, I’d firstly like to thank she whose latest personal mantra has become “Ow, my everything!” – for being my muse, my marketing manager and promoter, my main support – and the love of my life!

After spending almost every spare moment since October working on the next three books in the Quantum Series, I was getting a little frazzled. I hope you all will forgive me for taking a break over December-January! I really needed it, and since I was on holiday at home this year, Kay and I spent more time doing things in line with our actual hobbies, such as (in her case) art, and in my case, D.I.Y. stuff around our refuge – Fort Engela!

Thanks to all my readers, fans, and friends for your support over the past year. 2016 was a bit of a struggle, I’d say, globally – and it’s time for some change! I’d like to officially wish all of you a very prosperous and happy new year – may 2017 be all we hope it can be!

This newsletter will be sent out periodically – I’d like to say quarterly even, but it’s likely it will not be timed so exactly – more than likely, it will be sent out as time allows! That said, if you would like to be added to the mailing list – or if you would like to suggest this newsletter to anyone, please feel free to email us at fireraven86@gmail.com

Oh, and I almost forgot! Here’s your

FREE GIFT!

Now that all the formalities have been dispensed with, here is a free gift for you – a free downloadable ebook copy of a short story called “The Thirteenth Ship“. To download the short story in Kindle format, please just click on the cover image below! If you prefer your sci-fi in Afrikaans, kliek gerus op die Afrikaanse voorblad onder en U sal gratis ‘n Afrikaanse weergawe kan aflaai! Or just download both if you feel like it! Why not? It’s free – and you can share and pass the links around too!

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Now that’s over with, let’s move on! My website is full of information about the stuff I’ve already done and published – and so here are news and updates about what I’m busy with and what to expect during the coming year!

The Quantum Series

Readers of the Quantum Series have been asking me for follow-up titles for years – and it’s been a while since the last one (“Loderunner” – book 4) was released – back in 2007, so it’s about time! Books 5,6 and 7 should be coming out this year, as announced way back when, back in 2016!

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These new books will form a trilogy in the Quantum Series, consisting of three titles (naturally, unless you’re thinking of a ‘trilogy in four parts’ ala Douglas Adams), namely “Prodigal Sun“, “High Steaks” and “The Last Hurrah”. As I mentioned in numerous tweets and posts in my Facebook group, I have finished the first two titles in the trilogy (barring any future edits or minor changes to ensure the story flows smoothly across all three books), and am now – up to the start of my annual holiday in December – almost halfway with the third book!

Progress has been good up to that point, and I’m satisfied with the result so far. I should be getting back into this project soon – perhaps by the closing end of January. I anticipate that all three new titles “Prodigal Sun“, “High Steaks” and “The Last Hurrah” will be completed and released by about May 2017, starting in about February with “Prodigal Sun“, with modest breaks between releases.

The Galaxii Series

After I finished and published “Dead Beckoning“, the third book in this series back in 2014, I still had a ton of old handwritten notes and story material lying around, crammed inside a number of old brown cardboard folders, just begging to be written into something amazing!

As a result, I am working on book 4 in the Galaxii Series – “Overkill” could hit The Crow Bar by mid to late 2017. Since “Overkill” is the original working title, this could still change by the time it hits my Shop page – so keep your eyes open for announcements in that regard.

There is still no cover design for this title, and I’m hoping that Susan Simone, who designed the brilliant covers for the first three titles in this series will be willing to do one for this title as well!

Short Stories

srs-frontRecently, while spring cleaning, I happened across some of my old high school compositions, and have begun to redraft and edit them to bring them up to my current standard. I should be in a position to release a second collection – a follow-up volume of “Space Sucks!” sometime this year. I’ve decided to call it “Space Really Sucks!

I’ll share a quick glimpse at one of these short stories, which will be featured in this new collection, with you – called “Code Red“:

“After an unexpected battle in orbit over a strange planet, the crew of the surviving Saman battlecruiser land to repair their damage – and to look for a good spot to plant the flag of the Saman Empire. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, the planet was already occupied – by a people who took a dim view of that sort of thing, and who happened to have space travel – and a few colonies of their own…” “Space Really Sucks! is a second collection of short fiction by Christina Engela, following “Space Sucks!“, featuring completely new, never before seen stories.

Translations

Among the array of projects I’m working on, I am also overseeing the translation of all my work into Afrikaans! Kay 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!

ruimte-suig-frontIt’s slow going however, and since I can’t afford to pay anyone to translate these stories, time will tell when these will become available. However, the goal is to increase my readership, and to expand my market to include South African Afrikaans-readers, as well as ex-pats now living abroad. To this end, “Space Sucks!” will be released in Afrikaans sometime next year.

In the long-term I am also looking into expanding my translation efforts into German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian – basically any language where anyone shows interest! All that aside, I’m also open to any offers to convert stories into screenplays! If you are willing to help out with this project, please drop me a line!

Editing

On the other side of the street, I’m also acting as Editor on two distinctly separate projects at the moment – the first one being with LightBearer Publishing (through which I published both “Bugspray” and my father’s collection of short fiction “African Assignment“) in which I have compiled a number of poems for an anthology called “Vampyre Bytes – voices from the South African Vampyre Community”, which features Gothic poetry from participants in this fascinating subculture. The interior illustrations and the cover images of this book are by local South African artist and poet, Wendy K. Gloss.

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What is this anthology about?

The modern vampire (or vampyre) subculture spans the world. While stereotypes abound, there are self-identified vampi(y)res present in every other culture, creed, religion to be found in every country, and frequently with a thriving and growing subculture to match. They are not all goths, emos or metal heads. Most are ordinary folks – cops, soldiers, firemen, bankers, the girl next door, the guy on the bus, the old man behind the counter, the kid in your class.

Adherents of the ‘scene’ maintain that it is not so much a lifestyle, hobby or interest as a collection of people who share the same life experiences and needs – that is, experiencing awakening, a period of emotional turmoil in which their vampyric characteristics are first experienced, recognized and accepted – the sum of which mark them as something different – people with an undeniable need for prana, life-force, or vital energy.

Far from being the predatory monsters seen in fiction – those whom admittedly inspire the popular modern fictional vampire image – real living Vampyres and vampyric people are also typically intelligent, creative and productive members of South African society. They are socially responsible people who run NGO’s, protest cruelty against animals, host charity drives – and they like to party.

This anthology deals with the creative facet of the South African Vampyre Community – Vampyres and their friends. While the brief to all contributors allowed the use of pen-names, most participants in the subculture use ‘nightside names’, or names chosen by them to represent their unique identities. The anthology is intended to provide a holistic look at the vampi(y)re from a South African perspective.

Contributions will be categorized into several sections:

  • Awakening – Dealing with awakening and realization.
  • Being Thus – Dealing with being a vampyric person.
  • Frenzy – About the need to feed.
  • Tantric Vamps – The Power of Life.
  • Vampyre Love – poems about Vampyre relationships.

Submissions are still open!

 

(Submission of material is not a guarantee of placement. LightBearer Publishing and its editors reserve the right to select content which is appropriate to the project.)”

Please mail me your entries/submissions at christinaengela@gmail.com

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The other anthology is being published through 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.

So far there have been quite a few poetry entries, as well as a few articles and short fiction items. 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:

  1. 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?),
  2. Poetry (about homophobia or transphobia etc),
  3. Short fiction (also about homophobia or transphobia etc) and
  4. 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).

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 christinaengela@gmail.com

Moving on from editing for other people, I will also be working on more of my dad’s work for possible release in the near future. Also, for the first time, I will be preparing my mother’s works for publication! Not too long ago I also posted a few tasters of my mother’s poetry. Once I’ve determined the way forward in this regard, a collection may be coming out soon as well!

Collaborations

During the next month or so I’ll be putting my head together with my friend and famed horror and ‘barfazo’ author Alex S. Johnson in collaborating on a sci-fi horror-comedy called – “Space Cases“!

Competitions

In 2016 we held two giveaway competitions, and I had the pleasure of sending prizes to several lucky winners who received ebook (Kindle format) copies of “Blachart“, book one in the Galaxii Series, and “Black Sunrise“, book one in the Quantum Series.

This year there will be  few giveaways planned, but the formats are likely to be different, and may include a paperback copy or two. Stay tuned for announcements in this regard.

On A Personal Note

As you can imagine, time is always too short over at The Crow Bar. There are never enough hours in a day to get to everything – writing, editing, design, marketing, promotion, translation, collaboration, strategics – and also having to balance all that with daily life, work, social and other responsibilities – and realizing that even a semi-human like myself needs rest!

This holiday has been filled with relaxing activities – and also more physically challenging ones, including the D.I.Y.ing sort, and I’ve managed to refurbish and paint parts of Fort Engela, ‘de-jungled’ the front garden by removing the infestation of wild, vicious prehensile ferns – and everything except the double-yellow hibiscus tree – and poured a concrete slab! Those wold prehensile ferns sure were vicious – they even ate my 30 year old, giant fat plant! The old partly-collapsed wooden grape-vine trellis along one side of the house has been replaced with a new PVC pipe framework, and I’ve used several old concrete fence slabs to form a wall along the garden bed under the trellis, to raise the height of the bed, and filled that with several bags of potting soils so we can start growing veggies! The grape vine is recovering nicely from mildew and a bout of pruning (to prevent it from escaping over the roof), and should give us some nice grapes either this year or the next. Hopefully. Maybe one day I can actually get enough grapes to give wine-making a try!

We also finished some outstanding projects at home, and did some tile grouting in the back garden, and resurfaced and painted the old Victorian clawed-foot tub we use as a ‘chill-pool’. Over all, Fort Engela is our little paradise, our refuge from the harsh realities of the world, and despite the aching muscles and occasional little bumps and scrapes, it’s well worth the effort – and come on, waking up and doing a zombie-walk down the passage while moaning “Ow! My everything!” is kinda funny! It also makes those moments in life spent enjoying the best hugs in the world, holding hands, and wiggling naked toes in beach sand, extra special!

Peace and love are the most important things there are in the world, because with those two in place, universally, everything else can follow.

In Closing

I got some amazing reviews and positive comments on my writing over the past year! 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 (christinaengela@gmail.com) or via the contact page on my website.

Your sketches 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!

You can show me your support by leaving helpful reviews of my books where you purchased them, whether on Lulu, Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, LybraryiTunes or Nook. 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!

Thanks again for all your support and interest over the past year! Well done – keep it up! Let’s see where 2017 takes us! More next time!

All the best!

Christina Engela


If you would like to know more about Christina Engela and her writing, please feel free to browse her website. If you want to know what Christina Engela’s focus group or target market is, please read here. If you would like to read more about Christina’s life and experiences, please go to her Biography and the article “Timeline of Milestones, Awards & Achievements“. To leave her a message, please use the Contact form. Visit her Shop. ‘Add’ Christina Engela on Facebook (Profile). ‘Like’ Christina Engela on Facebook (Page). All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2017.

 

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: News From The Crow Bar #2 – Feb 2017 | The Crow Bar

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