Another Round @ The Crow Bar #5 – May 2017


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Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 5th newsletter: May 2017! This month it is jam-packed with tidbits and information about new releases and projects I’m currently busy with!

Coming up in this edition of Another Round @ The Crow Bar, some regular updates, “Trumpocalypse“, a look at my latest release “Panic! Horror In Space #1” and a monthly spotlight on one of my books, this time “Demonspawn“, the much-maligned second title in the Galaxii Series! I say ‘maligned’ because in the past few months I have had some drama with trolls on social media who (while clearly never having read the book) have been attacking me and labeling me using some pretty spurious labels, among others that I am ‘recruiting’ people into the ‘gay lifestyle’ and even that my books turn people transgender – and (according to some ‘experts’ in Texas and South Africa – self-styled of course) that this book in particular encourages devil worship! As I said, it is pretty clear from their comments that they have never actually READ this book, since the title “Demonspawn” refers to the nemesis of the characters in the story – which is a sci-fi horror tale, and which has absolutely ZERO to do with anything occult!

That rather strange mind-warping issue aside, let’s look at the news for April-May 2017!

New Releases

There were no more new releases during April 2017, but my latest two titles “Panic! Horror In Space #1” and “Prodigal Sun” are still on my “Just Released” list on the Shop page of my website.

The first episode in my new sci-fi horror series called “Panic! Horror In Space” was released on Thursday 6 April! This ongoing series will tell the tale of the starship Mercury, which is perhaps the unluckiest Terran starship in history!

Panic! Horror In Space #1” is already distributed via various channels in paperback and ebook formats. The funny thing is, I only started working on this series at the beginning of 2017, and I’m already well into the draft of the sequel “Panic! Horror In Space #2“, so stay tuned for news on that title. “Panic! Horror In Space” is a series of science-fiction-horror stories in the same setting featuring some of the same characters. The concept was to create a horror-scifi story in a series of 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…

Mercury Rising” and “Mercury Resurgent” appear in the first installment (#1), where the reader is introduced to main characters Stuart Flane and Vic Chapman, and some of the crew of the ill-fated starship Mercury. More stories are to follow in subsequent installments (#2 is due to be released during 2017 and #3 perhaps by the end of 2017, or during 2018). But knowing me, it could be sooner. Or later. I’ll let you know!

prodigal-sun-front

Still under new releases, “Prodigal Sun” book 5 in The Quantum Series was released in early March and is available on  Lulu, Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo (prices in ZAR sa-flag ), LybraryiTunesNook, eBookMall and Indigo – and in fact everywhere you can find all my books!

Prices are very reasonable,  especially for ebook versions, and even if you live in good old “Souf Efrika” and pay in good old “Ronts”! Even while it has been relegated to ‘junk status’, the prices are still affordable, especially the ebooks!

High Steaks“, the next book (number 6) in the series, is due to be released in June 2017. In the meantime, if you want to know more about the story being told in “Prodigal Sun“, you can find more info here: NEW RELEASE: “Prodigal Sun” and What Readers Can Expect In “Prodigal Sun”, “High Steaks” & “The Last Hurrah”.

For those of you who are following this series and who enjoy the characters and this particular story line, there may be a surprise coming! This may involve the addition of an extra title between “High Steaks” and “The Last Hurrah“… but don’t quote me on that just yet 😉 This extra title might be called something like “Fortitude“, but don’t pass that around yet either. Sssh it’s a secret! 😉

The Galaxii Series

I haven’t given up on this series – relax! 😉 Unfortunately there is just one of me in this time and place (I know, I know, the world really needs more of me, right?) so right now I can only get to one thing at a time! I’ve been busy with some of the other series and projects on my list of things to do, but fear not! Title 4 in the Galaxii Series “Where Darkness Softly Treads” is still on that list! 🙂

What is that story about? To give you a brief description, the story is about two women on different sides of a planetary civil war in a dystopian future. Both being officers in their respective armies, they come into contact with each other as liaisons. One is delivering advanced weaponry, more advanced than the Marcellans – the children of long-lost colonists from Earth – have ever seen. The other’s job is to take it back to her superiors. As a result of an attack by a third opposing military force, Captain Meri “Hal” Halloway’s shuttle is shot down and she finds herself captured by an enemy intelligence unit – the lone survivor of her team. Rescued by Lt. Nita Harrison and her squad of leather-necks, who take her back to their base for medical attention and recovery, Hal finds herself unexpectedly stranded for a while. As Hal awaits her return to one of the Terran ships in orbit, the story unfolds around Hal and Nita as she becomes involved in local affairs.

Already part-way written, I’m looking forward to finishing this one!

The Quantum Series

I’m very proud of this series. Actually, I’m very proud of ALL my works, but the Quantum Series holds a special place. It consists of five titles so far, with the sixth (“High Steaks“) due out in just a few weeks! Are you ready, fans? 😉

To get a better idea of what this story is about, read What Readers Can Expect In “Prodigal Sun”, “High Steaks” & “The Last Hurrah”

Panic! Horror In Space

Print copies of the first title already published are now available alongside the ebook version on various distribution platforms. Previously print copies were only available through Lulu.

Panic! is a sci-fi/horror series, which will have some decidedly sci-fi characters chasing some decidedly horror entities – ghosts, haunted objects, zombies, etc. along with my usual twisted brand of humor!

As of the 1st of May I completed the first story for the second volume of Panic!, “Dead Center“, and have already started on the next story for the same volume, “Through A Dark Glassy“. I’m really enjoying this new series, and I must say as a fan of paranormal investigator TV shows, I especially enjoyed writing “Dead Center”!

Short Fiction

Progress on other short fiction, especially the shorts due for “Space Really Sucks!” is still ongoing. Panic! Horror In Space has taken most of my writing time in the last few weeks, so while I started working on “The Curse” (Mercury Rising) in January for Space Really Sucks!, it ended up becoming a whole new series of its own – with all but one of the subsequent short fiction titles I’ve worked on (“Interstellar Vacations Inc“) being re-routed to Panic! instead. Although listed under my Novels section, Panic! is really short fiction wrapped up in volumes and made into a series, all featuring mostly the same characters. That said, it’s likely that Space Really Sucks! will be delayed a good while.

Poetry

The poem I submitted to “Trumpocalypse” (Horrified Press), “State Capture“, has already received some very welcome free publicity from several notable sources, including President Tweety his self!

Another more notable media personality, Sean Hannity, appears to have picked up on this too! 😉

You can also find the ebook version here.

Non-Fiction

How I Built My Home UPS System – & How You Can Too” is still not complete – because I still haven’t picked a spot and fitted my new solar panel! Perhaps I’ll play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey to assist me in making up my mind!

I’ve also written a comedy item called “The Peed Off Peasants Collection Of Awesome Parking Memes” that people can either print or photocopy pages out of to place on the windshields of offenders who park in their driveways etc, but some illustrations are still required to complete this project! More on that later.

Collaborations

Nothing to report in this section this time! Sorry, Alex – I think I’m going to need a time machine to get to everything! Perhaps I should enlist the help of Johnathan Scrooby at the T.S.A?

Translations

Nothing new to report in this section for now. Several translations into Afrikaans are currently available for free on the shop site’s Afrikaans page. In the meantime, if you have any up-to-date English-Afrikaans dictionaries newer than 2010 containing new words about technology and stuff you want to get rid of, please keep us in mind!

Editing

Both “Vampyre Bytes – voices from the South African Vampyre Community”, which I have edited for LightBearer Publishing, and “Embracing Justice” (Riot Pink) appear to have stalled on account of slow submissions and are still open. Please mail me your entries/submissions at christinaengela@gmail.com .

Competitions

There are no competitions currently running.

On A Personal Note

My fiancee’ and PA Wendy K. Gloss, who also handles the majority of my marketing through DarkLady Marketing, has been a tremendous inspiration and help to me!

On the side however, sometimes I manage to do something right on my own (haha). This last month saw the opening of my Facebook shop function on my Page, where I am now able to advertise each individual title as ebook or paperback with a purchase link to Lulu.

  • Fan Mail & Honorable Mentions

Noticed in the past month by my long-suffering PA Wendy K. Gloss, were the following honorable mentions:

  1. Wikia seems to have a page listing my bibliography, which is missing one or two of the latest items and has a few minor inaccuracies. Nice work though!
  2. My good friend Alex S. Johnson named a starship in his story “Planet of the Volcano Spiders” after me – the U.S.S. Engela!

I display my Fan Mail & Compliments with pride, gratitude and humility. You are always welcome to have a look.

  • Hate Mail

April was an active month! It seems a certain hysterical hate church in the USA’s “bible belt” thinks I am turning people into “demon possessed homosexualist transgender freaks“, at least according to the photos I was sent by a facebook friend, which seem to show pages from a church newsletter from February. I think I’ll print them out and frame them!

Also, due to a post I made on Facebook about a South African homophobic hate preacher, I’ve endured about two weeks of trolling from literally a few hundred of his fans and supporters – some of whom were thoughtful enough to send me threatening emails.  The ironic thing is, I never once mentioned the religion of the ‘preacher’ in my post, but simply pointed out the gullibility of so many swarming to one of his gatherings to be encouraged to treat women and LGBT people like lesser beings – and paying for the privilege. This resulted in flocks of ‘Buchanites’ descending on my post in droves! Aside from the swearing and threatening (and positively creepy) “I’ll pray for you“‘s, several calls were made to encourage people to not buy or read my books, with one even calling for a book burning! By all means, if you feel the need to burn my books to prove to yourself what a solid supporter of that preacher you are, go right ahead! 😉

Having been a human rights activist for quite a while, I’m used to pissing people off occasionally, but as long as it’s the right (or right wing) people that get pissed off, that’s fine by me. After all, as a friend of mine once advised me, “it is far better to be pissed off than to be pissed on” and these are words I live by! Many disproportionately angry Angus Buchan groupies made concerted personal attacks thinking – well, who knows what actually goes on in some people’s heads? But I think the intent was to hurt my widdle fee fee’s or something! 😛 A barrage of “fuck you“‘s and “stupid bitch“‘s from a horde of trolls attacking me for daring to criticize a local South African hate-preacher on facebook while simultaneously claiming to be “Christians” and therefore “better” than I, only proved me right in the first place, while being highly amusing to me in the second! The one true Levitican who said he wishes for my fiancee’ and I to be attacked and brutally raped to “teach us a lesson” reminded me exactly of why I became an activist in the first place. One even alleged – much to my amusement, that “Christina Engela probably doesn’t even exist ! This is how Satan works !” Well there you have it, folks – mystery solved! 😛

Others left me a whole plethora of comments and private messages containing the usual unimaginative transphobic comments about my gender and being in a relationship with another woman intended to hurt – but which were no more than impotent hot air to put it best.

Coinciding almost exactly with the above tea-cup-sized storm, it seems my old Capetonian ‘fan’ Becca made and distributed another meme-type poster warning people that my children’s book about bullying is ‘child abuse’ because it ‘teaches kids it is okay to be deviant and gay and to stop trying to help other kids to not become gay & compares helping kids to not adopt the sinful lifestyle to ‘bullyiing’!!!” At least it looks a lot like her previous attempt. This time round there were fewer grammatical errors, although just as many exclamation marks!

Thanks for the free publicity, folks! Please keep it up! 🙂

(I’m rather proud of my hate mail, and you can review it here – but be forewarned, don’t do it while eating or drinking or you might choke while laughing!)

  • Reviews & Interviews

Nothing new during this past month! If you would like to do an interview with me about my works, please do get in touch!

  • New Videos

No new videos for this month.

  • New Listings

All my books now seem to be listed just about everywhere – except for the ones I haven’t published yet! As of this month, new listings include Foyles Bookshop chain (UK), Book Depository and 24 Symbols, who now also stock my books.

Monthly Book Spotlight [Spoiler Alert]: Galaxii Series 02 – “DEMONSPAWN”

The second title in the Galaxii Series, “Demonspawn” centers on a star ship crew in a seemingly hopeless situation. Adrift and stranded in deep space with no hope of rescue, the I.S.S. Mordrake has six month’s worth of food on board, but less than two weeks of air, and things look pretty grim. Morale, although low before the incident that resulted in their present predicament, is at an all-time low.

The I.S.S. Mordrake

The ship is not the only thing breaking down however, and pretty soon Commander Joe Lofflin – who has perpetually faced a degree of scorn from his crew because of his sexual orientation and faces a daily struggle to control his romantic attraction to a junior crewman almost half his age – takes on the roll of acting-Captain after the untimely death of Captain Blaine, and must deal with solving a murder on top of everything else! As if there is not enough on his plate already, just as things are looking hopeless beyond the pale, something dark and mysterious drifts into their path! An ancient derelict ship of alien origins presents an all-too convenient and timely solution to their problem, offering the desperate castaways the spare parts they need to repair their ship.

The alien derelict ship that ‘just coincidentally’ drifts into the path of the stranded and desperate Terran starship Mordrake.

In the midst of conducting an investigation into the murder of Captain Blaine, in an atmosphere where nobody is above suspicion and each senior officer has reason to suspect every other senior officer, the survivors of the Mordrake actually do find usable parts on board the derelict. In a difficult to reach part of the long dead alien ship – with the only way in or out littered with the dry and dusty remains of the long-dead alien crew – lies the answer to their problem. And much more than they expected. Just when things start to look hopeful again, one by one, the salvage team members begin to experience mysterious accidents… Gradually, it becomes apparent that ‘accident’ is not even remotely accurate.

In order for them all to survive, the crew of the Mordrake must work together – even though any one of them could be the cold-blooded killer who murdered the Mordrake’s Captain. The parts required to repair their own vessel must be retrieved by any means necessary – no matter what it was on board the derelict ship that seemed to want to keep them there!

This is a story of survival and the fight to survive. It’s also a tale that encourages people to look at life in perspective. The challenge of coming out or admitting to a love-interest that there is an attraction is compared to the challenge of surviving combat and facing the unknown, alone in the dark.

Replete with dark, deserted and spooky corridors, a few ghosts, aliens and robotics, a horror stalking its victims in the dark, lasers, explosions, dead bodies and a murder mystery thrown in, “Demonspawn” pretty much has it all!

In Closing

I’ve resolved to release several titles per year. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Sure, last year in May-June I released 7 or 8 titles – pretty much at one go – but those were already previously released – and some had been re-released by the ‘traditional’ publisher I used to be with, so all I had to do was reformat them, redo the covers, and put them up via Lulu! Since then however, I’ve been releasing new material, and it’s not as simple as that!

New stories need to be edited and carefully re-read. What if I made mistakes? Writing and then editing your own work comes with the likelihood of some serious errors! Having written, read and edited and re-read a story, I have come across instances where I have completely missed errors where I omitted words and sometimes even whole phrases without noticing! What if there were plot-holes I missed in the original draft? What if it goes through to publication without me noticing? That would surely be a disaster!

To avoid all that unpleasant stuff from happening, I pass all my completed works on to Kay, who carefully does my reading for me and points out any potential snags or errors or typos that I may have missed. As you may imagine, that takes a little time. At least a week for a short story, two or more for a novel. As you can tell, her assistance in this endeavor is invaluable to me!

The writing and editing are the most time consuming and laborious of all the processes attached to the publishing process – at least it is at The Crow Bar! 🙂 Other issues such as cover design, formatting and the actual uploading and publication of the project are pretty straight-forward. In fact, the cover is typically already basically finished before the book is even ready for editing!

When you publish through a company, they usually have people on staff to do all these things for you! Surprisingly, this usually takes much longer to get done. Editing can take a very long time – sometimes 6 months to a year, and then on top of that, the design process takes longer too, with all the backing and forthing via email to check between the author and the artist/designer and the management of the publishing department whether everyone is happy with the result! The outcome at the end is pretty much a book designed by a committee! 😛 Seriously though, doing it all yourself IS harder, but it can also be much faster and more rewarding!

How do I do the cover designs? Well, that’s quite easy! The cover images I used are obtained from free stock image websites which allow images to be used for the purpose, including modifying the images as a whole or in part. Usually however I just use them as-is, sometimes overlaying one image over another, such as the skull in the cover in the image above (which is a separate object to the planet in the background). Sometimes all I need to do is flip the image horizontally to suit the cover. Titles and other text objects are fairly basic, duplicated in two colors to make them look more interesting!

Moving on, I’m curious to see how things have progressed sales-wise in the past month! During April I took out two paid FB ad campaigns which got a lot of hits, so hold thumbs for luck! In the meantime, keep your chins up and keep on keeping on! Thanks again for all your support, friendship and interaction! Until next time,

Cheers! 🙂


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.

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