Another Round @ The Crow Bar #17 – May 2018

Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 17th newsletter: May 2018! Coming up in this edition of Another Round @ The Crow Bar:

Regular updates, new releases, and a monthly spotlight on one of my books, this time “Space Vacation“.


This issue is a little bit late, so I offer my humble apologies for that! I’ve been a little busy with a new project and realized with a shock that May’s newsletter was overdue!

Still, as the old saying goes, time’s fun when you’re having flies – and with that “Yoda-ism”, let’s get into some of my latest news!

The first book I ever finished was book 1 in the Galaxii Series, “Blachart”. I started working on the foundations of what would become Blachart when I started high school, in 1986. By the time I’d finished high school and been drafted into the army, in 1992, I had a rough idea where I wanted the story to lead. Then in 2004, I first self-published the book in its original most basic form, and I ran several updates over the intervening years, and in the meantime, I’d also published several of its sequels. In 2005 and 2007 I created new covers for the Galaxii Series.

Even before it was first published in 2014 by a so-called ‘traditional publisher’, I had already constantly revised and edited and updated Blachart. In fact, by the time it was released in 2014, Blachart was 49,632 words long!

For a number of years now, since 2016, when I went indie again, I’ve been working on later books and new projects. Several weeks ago, since finishing editing and publishing of most of my parent’s works, I took a look at the channels through which my books have been distributed – and decided that I should also place my titles at Smashwords to gain access to their distribution network also. They have different publishing formatting requirements to Lulu though, and and so I had to reformat the entire manuscript to meet their technical specifications!

This sparked off another edit, and then I added a little bit here, and a little bit there… and before I realized it, a drastic rewrite was underway! I added  a stack of more material… back-stories and extras that would enrich and enhance the overall experience of what I envisioned as the Galaxii Series! Two weeks later, the Smashwords Edition of Blachart was finished! Then I designed a fantastic new cover which would also form the basis of a template for the Galaxii Series. I also decided to include some illustrations in the book, to make it more attractive.

Now, at over 84,000 words, Blachart is ready to be sent to Smashwords. I will also be updating the Lulu Ebook and print versions to match, soon. Stay tuned for future announcements in that regard.

Both my parents were talented writers in their own right, and over the past few months I edited, formatted and published their books. This is by way of keeping promises I made to them once I started to get my own works published.

My dad, Theo Engela, left a couple of unpublished works lying about when he died 33 years ago, and they are now all published and available from the same channels as my own works.

Theo Engela

My mother (Yvonne Engela) wrote poetry. Both volumes of her poetry in Afrikaans (“Op Vreemde Weë“) and English (“When Day Is Done“) have now been released as well.

Now that my promises to my parents have been fulfilled, I can get on with my own projects! 🙂

I sent a couple of my short stories away sometime in 2017 in answer to a call for submissions to a horror anthology, and the good news is that “Homecoming” and “Midnight Station” were selected to appear in “Moon Books Horror Anthology #4” which has just been published as of April 28 this year.

But before I waffle on too much, let’s get on with the newsletter! 🙂

New Releases

For the time being, I’ve been kept busy with the task of editing, formatting and publishing a number of works by my mom and dad:

A Way Of Life by Theo Engela

Written in 1965, “A Way Of Life” was never published. It was my Dad’s first novel, and it focuses on alcoholism and the struggle of the main character with it. The story is brilliantly written, and describes this way of life with dramatic and upsetting realism, for the alcoholic and those who love them. It was released on April 02, 2018 via Order: Print / Ebook

Not until he had almost finished the piece did it suddenly strike Louis that Beethoven could not have written Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody! What the hell was happening to him? Was he losing his mind? Damn Liszt, damn Beethoven… Damn everybody! He broke off abruptly and slammed a discord with all his strength, a very bizarre ending to the Hungarian Rhapsody. Then he picked up the bottle and drank with greedy abandon.

Louis van Pletten was a successful young writer once. With two novels to his name in his early twenties and more talent than you could shake a stick at – he excelled in music, writing, art, philosophy – anything it seemed he set his mind to. But then, cruel Fate took his infant son and his beloved Sandra from him… and that’s really when Louis’ life first began to fall apart.

Then he met Boris Lessing, an older man with a taste for adventure and a hunger for the Truth. Louis toured the whole of Southern Africa with Boris in their search for meaning. One day, somewhere in the open spaces of South Africa – under a giant bluegum tree, they had a shared epiphany that was supposed to change their lives for the better.

Boris went home to paint again, and almost overnight became a popular and wealthy artist. Louis went home to write his third book.

What lay behind this longing, this loneliness, this restlessness, what had been the secret of the Conference Tree – the secret that had saved Boris just as it had eluded him?

Now Louis van Pletten is 45 years old and still struggling to complete his third book, his Great Masterpiece, his magnum opus. Trouble is, at over 300 pages, it’s morbid, dark as hell and as full of utter misery and self-loathing as he is. He can barely stand to read it himself. He should burn it, but it’s taken him three years to write the damn thing… and he has no spark left to start over – and just enough money left to last him three more months. He lies to himself all the time; he can stop drinking any time he wants to, it’s his business anyway… friendship doesn’t matter, even love and life don’t matter – oh, why can’t people leave him be? Especially Bernice? The truth is, he really can’t live without alcohol… he’s tried. He lives from one sip to the next, and it’s become a way of life. And it’s killing him.

Alcoholism is a creeping, crippling tragedy that affects the lives of millions. It’s irrevocably affected the lives of Louis van Pletten, Boris Lessing and Bernice Collet.

Theo Engela’s first novel focuses on alcoholism and the struggle of the main character with it. The story is brilliantly written, and describes this way of life with dramatic and upsetting realism, for the alcoholic and those nearest them.

Op Vreemde Weë by Yvonne Engela

Order: Print / Ebook

“Die tyd stap aan vir ons almal. Kindwees. Grootword. Die liefde. Leed. Smart. Heimwee. Trou. Skei. Dood. Werk – altyd werk. Anders as die meeste mense, skryf party van ons daaroor om ons gevoelens en gedagtes te ontleed, uit te wis, of te deel.

Yvonne Lorraine (van der Westhuizen) Engela is in die Ooskaap in Suid Afrika in 1934 gebore. Tussen 1953 en 1972 het sy ywerig gedigte in albei Afrikaans, haar moederstaal, en Engels geskryf. Sy het nooit gedink dat haar poeisie ooit goed genoeg sou wees om te publiseer nie. Die lewe was te woelig. Daar moes hard en aanhoudend gewerk word om ‘n man en later ‘n kind te onderhou. Om enkel-ma te wees was nog nooit maklik nie, en sy was ‘n nederige mens. Sy het dit later weg gesit en nie meer daaroor gepraat nie. ‘n Kind het haar die geluk en lewensvreugde gebring wat niemand anders kon nie. Die lewe het aangestap…

Toe, eendag, op 79 jaar, is sy skielik oorlede. ‘n Rukkie daarna het haar dogter die huis begin opruim en skoonmaak – en het op ‘n hopie ou notaboeke vol gedigte wat sy in haar jeug geskryf het, afgekom. En toe lees sy dit – en besef wat ‘n skat haar ma vir haar nagelaat het. ‘n Blik binne haar ma se siel, as jongmens, as vrou, as talentvolle digter en skrywer…

Yvonne het haar onderskat. Hoeveel skrywers of digters terwêreld kon ooit ewe vlot in twee tale skryf? In Engels en Afrikaans? Daar kan nie veel wees nie.

Christina Engela is trots om ‘n onbekkende en talentvolle nuwe Suid Afrkikaanse digteres aan die wêreld bekend te maak – haar ma – Yvonne Lorraine Engela.”

When Day Is Done by Yvonne Lorraine Engela

Order:Print / Ebook

Released on April 11, 2018 – “When Day Is Done” by Yvonne Lorraine Engela (edited by Christina Engela), is a volume containing 81 poems by a previously unknown South African poet.

My mother, Yvonne Lorraine [van der Westhuizen] Engela (1934-2013) was a bilingual South African poet who grew up speaking Afrikaans as her first language, and although she had passed basic English at school, only began to master it after leaving school. Her earliest short fiction and poetry was written in Afrikaans (1953), with her first poetry in English only appearing in 1956.

In 1955 she married Theo Engela, who was also a gifted Afrikaans-speaking writer, who had been educated at an English-medium school. What is striking about Yvonne’s poetry is that she composed poems in Afrikaans AND English to an EQUAL standard, which is a rare thing indeed!

Yvonne Lorraine Engela is today a completely unknown South African poet, because she never actively pursued publication for any of her works on her own. She kept her poetry – some handwritten, some typed on manual typewriters – in a bottom drawer in her wardrobe until her death at the age of 79 on October  24, 2013. As a result, Yvonne’s works are completely new South African poems in Afrikaans and English, which have never been seen before.

After her death I found them and published Yvonne’s Afrikaans poetry in “Op Vreemde Weë” (April 8, 2018). If you’re a fan of Afrikaans poetry, have a look at the release article – Nuwe Vrystelling – “Op Vreemde Weë” deur Yvonne Engela, geredegeer deur Christina Engela.

Christina Engela is proud to present an unknown and talented new South African poet to the world – her mother – Yvonne Lorraine Engela.

More about the author:

Yvonne Engela

Currently Available Titles:

The Galaxii Series

Work on book 4, “Where Darkness Softly Treads” is still pending at this time.

The Quantum Series

About The Quantum Series will give you more background about the series, its settings and characters. To get a better idea of what the latest two titles are about, read What Readers Can Expect In “Prodigal Sun”, “High Steaks”, “Fortitude” & “The Last Hurrah”.

Work on the next four titles in this series, (“Underground Movement“, “Moon Jockeys“, “Fortitude” and “The Last Hurrah“) is still pending at this time.

Panic! Horror In Space

Panic! is a sci-fi/horror series, which will have some decidedly sci-fi characters encountering some decidedly horror entities – ghosts, haunted objects, zombies, etc. along with my usual twisted brand of humor! The first three titles are available in paperback and ebook versions on various distribution platforms including Amazon and Lulu.

For Children


Edited By Christina Engela

Afrikaans Titles

Some of my titles have been translated into Afrikaans – but as you could imagine, it’s a full-time job – and when you use translation software “sickbay” comes out as “Telaxian stoofpot” instead of  “siekeboeg” – so you could imagine!

On A Personal Note

  • Fan Mail & Honorable Mentions

Noticed in the past month by my shiny new wife and PA, Wendy K. Engela, (  😉  ) were the following honorable mentions:

  1. On 08 May 2018, Anya Louw was one of the lucky recipients of one of my eBook giveaways, and she had this to say about The Time Saving Agency:

I’m very happy that Anya enjoyed my story. 🙂

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

  • Hate Mail & Horrible Mentions

The past month was rather quiet on the hate mail front. I’m almost sad to say I have nothing new to show you this time! (I may have something to show you next time though!)

(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 at the ignorance, spelling and grammar errors!)

  • Interviews

If you would like to do an interview with me about my works, please do get in touch!

  • New Videos

Have a look at my videos on my Video Channel.

  • New Listings

As you can see below, my books now seem to be listed just about everywhere!

CHRISTINA WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! A few nice words go a long way! Please leave your REVIEWS on Academia.eduAmazon, AnobiiApple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Bol, Book Depository, Dilmot eBookMall, FictionDB, Fnac, Foyles, Goodreads!Indigo, Kobo , Lulu, Lybrary, Nook, Smashwords, Takealot, 24 Symbols – or wherever you see Christina’s books – or just send her an email via the Contact form!

Support The Author

Although most titles listed are available in paperback and/or ebook formats through most online retailers internationally, Christina prefers readers make their purchases via Lulu. This is because while all retailers charge the same price to YOU the reader, Lulu gives the author the largest portion of the proceeds from your purchase.

Monthly Book Spotlight [Spoiler Alert]: “Space Vacation

Space Vacation - 3D - JPEG

“Everybody likes to take a vacation now and then, and perhaps on the rarer occasion, people like to take an extra-special holiday.

In the more likely case of the wealthy – and less frequently, the extremely lucky – this means a cruise off-world on one of those really fancy star-liners that go from one system to the next, picking up and dropping off glittering and excitedly chattering passengers along the way.

‘Paradise between the planets’, they call it. Most of the time, that’s how it is. But not this time. How could a holiday in space turn into a murder mystery involving vampires? Yes, you read that right. Vampires.

On the last voyage of the Demeter – a deep space star-liner with the Red Star Line, passengers and crew got more than they bargained for. Way more.”

Christina Engela is that rarest of authors – able to seamlessly blend together elements of dark horror and sci-fi to create stories that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.” – Mark Woods, author of Time of Tides and Fear of the Dark.

Space Vacation.jpg

This captivating story, deftly told in the first person, is the tale of Sean Lange, former chief of security onboard the Demeter, one of the largest passenger space liners in Terran history. His rather mundane existence is derailed when the ship diverts from its course to answer a distress signal, and arrives at the scene to find that the SOS had been sent by a Corsair vessel. Although sometimes fake distress calls had been used to lure unsuspecting and defenseless passenger ships to their doom in the past, this is not the case this time, as it is obvious the pirate vessel really is in trouble.

The search party that goes onboard to investigate finds only one survivor, who is deathly ill from a mysterious disease, and takes him back to the Demeter for treatment. Lange and the doctor puzzle over the odd circumstances that led to the Corsairs predicament, and the strange condition in which the ship and its unfortunate crew were found.

Less than 24 hours later, while the Demeter continues on its way, the troubled Corsair passes away without imparting anything useful to his rescuers. A short time later, the  chief medical officer on board the liner is found dead in his lab. With suicide unlikely despite everything at the scene pointing at a self-inflicted fatal injury using a Corsair blaster presumably salvaged from the stricken pirate ship, Lange sets about investigating foul play, assisted by his close friend and colleague Lisa Garfner – beginning with how the weapon got aboard the Demeter.

He begins with the members of the team that accompanied him to the Corsair ship, tracing the weapon from one suspect to another – but bafflingly, one by one, they too seem to turn up dead. It then becomes apparent that everyone on board now appears to be at risk of contracting the mysterious ailment that claimed the life of the Corsair survivor and the rest of his crew. And with only the bare essential medical services available – and their most qualified medical officer short, there is no little to no chance of identifying the disease, or its treatment.

To make matters worse, the ship’s only communications array mysteriously detaches itself and floats away unobserved during the night, cutting the ship off from the rest of the universe completely. This unexpected act of sabotage complicates the investigation for Lange and his deputy, Lisa Garfner – and poses a very serious threat to Demeter and all aboard. The sick begin to die, and as the number of sick alarmingly grows by the hour, the rest become fearful and paranoid. Among the passengers, a cleric whips the fearful into a frenzy. In the midst of all this, Lange sees a pattern to the affliction and is determined to run his investigation despite all the obstacles. Then his security personnel begin to become affected, and gradually he finds himself facing this thing alone.

Then Demeter’s Captain and bridge crew seal themselves off to maintain control of the ship and increase speed to their nearest harbor, while Lange interviews one last unlikely suspect, a mysterious lady who seems to be keeping many secrets. As order begins to break down on the ship, Lange discovers a secret so dark and terrifying that the Captain of the Demeter will do anything to prevent the thing that is killing passengers and crew from reaching any habitable world, even if it means killing everyone left on board…

Meanwhile, here is a little more information about the Red Star Line:

Buy Now: Paperback / Ebook

point-rightPreview and read 20% of Space Vacation for free!point-left


Published: May 24, 2016
Pages: 108
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Dimensions (inches): 4.25″ wide x 6.88″ tall (pocketbook size)

‘Like’ Space Vacation by Christina Engela on Facebook

In Closing

Well, that’s all, folks! 🙂

Thanks again for all your support, friendship and interaction! Until next time, keep reading!

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, 2018.

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