Another Round At The Crow Bar #36 December 2019


Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 36th newsletter!

In Brief:

Well here we are – December again! The year’s over, and what a year it’s been! As we near the end of the year things have got busy on all fronts – as  though every aspect of my life has suddenly decided there should be some kind of end-of-year rush! Although sidetracked a little by work in November, as well as a terribly painful onset of growing pains related to my “wisdom teeth”, I still managed to get some things done!

Officially, however, this newsletter will be the last regular scheduled piece I’ll post for 2019. I’ll be going on leave from the 23rd, so I probably won’t be very active online until the end of January or so, but will likely resume my scheduled article postings starting with January’s newsletter early in the new year.  2020! Wow! Er, still, writers need to take a break too now and then, to recharge, and this has been a pretty hectic, busy year for me – and better than the previous one on most fronts!

Let’s carry on, starting with some of the technical background stuff related to my writing!

Current Writing Projects 

On the 5th of November I had a huge surprise! Moon Books – the publisher of “SEE THEM ALIENS!” containing my Area 51 story (“The Storming of Area 51”, which has also been released as an audiobook) has asked me to head up a new anthology project for them! So far, the working title is “Strangely Compelling SciFi”! Sounds good, don’t you think? I posted a request for submissions – and have received a few already. I’ve edited 4 submissions which seem to fit that description nicely, and am also busy drafting my own contributions, including a foreword! At this time, there is still some room in the anthology for more stories, so if you’re interested, send me your compelling SciFi story! Details here. It’s likely this project won’t appear yet for some time, perhaps early in the new year.

In the meantime, I’ve also run into a bit of a conundrum! One short story I started writing for the anthology has taken on a life of its own, and just keeps getting longer! In truth, I could pinch it off and force an ending, but I’m having such a nice time writing it, seeing where it leads, I really don’t want to do that! As such, it’s already  at over 15000 words – and too long for the anthology, so instead I’ll probably eventually release it as a standalone title sometime in future, or keep it aside to use in something else!

Audiobooks

Move along, there’s nothing to see here! Check back next time! (“SEE THEM ALIENS!” containing my Area 51 story, “The Storming of Area 51”, was recently released as an audiobook, as well as in eBook and paperback versions.)

Translation

Kay, my wife and love of my life, has taken up learning Dutch with the aim of doing some translating herself – so this is a long-term goal, and I expect progress to be slow. A new friend on Facebook has also approached me with interest in translating some of my works into Romanian – but more about that as things develop!

Reviews

Move along, there’s nothing to see here! Check back next time!

Poetry by Wendy K. Engela

A couple of months ago my wife and partner in all things wierd and wonderful, Wendy, published her first book – a collection of her gothic poetry! “Season’s Change“. The collection is now available as an eBook via all the expected places, Amazon, Lulu, Smashwords, and all their distribution partner sites. Give it a try – it’s great poetry!

Kay was born in Springs (the town, not actually wearing them) and later grew somewhat taller in a tiny flyspeck on the map called “Kriel”. Wendy – who prefers to be called ‘Kay’ – began experimenting with poetry at 15, beginning with her first effort “Darkness Falls”, quickly followed by her second, “Tombstone”, which resulted in some pretty worried looks from her mother. Since that time, Kay went on to write over 100 more poems (which her parents have never read).

Being the elder (and more homicidal) of two siblings born to the usual two parents, Wendy – who prefers to be called ‘Kay’ – arrived on this planet approximately six months after her parents tied an untieable knot in front of a small family gathering, and began her love affair with books and reading them, at the tender age of six years.

Despite a youth in which she failed to commit fratricide, one of her most impressive achievements, she says, was to exhaust all the worthwhile reading material in her junior school library, then the high school library (which she helped re-establish) – and ultimately, the public library of her small town’s adult section – before the ripe old age of 19!

She has traveled through all nine provinces of South Africa in her lifetime – not entirely by choice – and has lived in Cape Town (Western Cape), Hazyview (Mpumalanga) and presently lurks in a cozy townhouse in Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape), next door to an inconvenience store (in a neighbor’s garage) ironically called the “Good Luck Cafe”.

You can find out more about Kay and her activities on wendykgloss.wordpress.com (Raven’s Flame).

Competitions

In the first week of November, my book “The Galaxii Series Book 1 – Blachart” was selected to partake in the All Author monthly “Cover of the Month” contest for November 2019.

Apparently, only the top 100 covers with the most votes would be allowed to proceed to the second round of the competition which started in the second week of November (8th).

Unfortunately, the number of votes I received, in spite of the number of peeps who voted, the tally was insufficient to meet the 100th position cut-off point – I was around 20 or 21 votes short of being in the top 100! Oh well, there’s always next time!

I’ve already been asked to submit one of my covers to the next contest for December, and the start of the contest and opening of voting are likely to be announced this coming week!

I just want to take a moment to sincerely thank everyone who voted for my cover in the last contest – your support truly means a lot to me! Thank you!

Normally right about here, I’d have my shop page and book covers essentially copied into the newsletter, but since you’re likely reading this on my website, it seems a little superfluous, doesn’t it! It also takes up a lot of space and scrolling, and I really don’t want to bore my readers! If you want to check out what titles I have to offer, just visit the shop page – they’re all there!

Communication

Below are links to a few of my most recent posts on my website since my last newsletter (do I seem more human and approachable yet?):

If you want to see more, just click on the category links below:

Anyway, let’s move on to some more news!

New Releases

I’ve nothing new to show you just yet in this section! Perhaps I should recap – seeing that this is the end of 2019 – what titles I released this year:

Revised releases of the entire Quantum Series with new redesigned covers:

  • Black Sunrise
  • The Time Saving Agency
  • Dead Man’s Hammer
  • Loderunner
  • Prodigal Sun
  • High Steaks

Revised releases of the Panic! Horror In Space Series with new redesigned covers::

  • Static
  • Life Signs

Revised releases of the following miscellaneous titles with new redesigned covers::

  • Space Sucks!
  • Other Kids Are Kids Almost Just Like You
  • Bang, Splat! (formerly “Innocent Minds”)
  • Keep The Lights On! (formerly “Don’t Get Left in the Dark!”)

Revised releases of books edited & published by me with new redesigned covers::

  • African Assignment by Theo Engela
  • Only Yesterday by Theo Engela
  • Shakandazu Valley by Theo Engela
  • When Day Is Done by Yvonne Engela
  • Op Vreemde Wee by Yvonne Engela (Afrikaans)

New first-time releases for 2019:

  • Pearls Before Swine
  • The Pitfalls of South African Self-publishing
  • The Upside Of Sadness
  • Malice!
  • Waiter, There’s A Bigot In My Soup!

New first time released titles edited by me in 2019:

  • Season’s Change by Wendy K. Engela

Not to mention 11 brand new free short story download titles! Whew! That’s quite a lot of work, looking back, isn’t it? No wonder I’m so flipping tired! 😉

Currently Available Titles:

I currently have 23 unique titles available in 4 series (not including the 15 free promotional items). You can see all of them by visiting my author website christinaengela.com!

Alternately, you can view my books at Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Kobo or Payhip.

Some of my titles are also available in other languages: Afrikaans.

On A Personal Note

Not long from now, it’ll be 2020 – and as some peeps have pointed out, it’ll be the ‘twenties’ again – although I fear the way things are going in the world these days, the 2020’s won’t be much like the ‘roaring 20’s’ of the last century. Reccession seems more likely, pretty much the world over, I’d say. Still, I hope I’m proven wrong.

Despite our South African government doing its level best to collapse what’s left of our economy and destroy remaining infrastructure through greed, nepotism, corruption, incompetence and the absolute detachment from reality of the uber-rich coupled with their disdain for the poor whom they supposedly represent, we’re still here, and have survived another year.

Who knows what 2020 will bring? At least in our northern neighbor, Zimbabweans have been able to freely make jokes criticizing their equally inept and useless government for the first time in decades without fearing arrest or a swift ass-kicking from government thugs and storm-troopers. In the meantime, it seems South Africa still hasn’t finished following Zimbabwe’s downward spiral, and while our neighbors have already found their rock-bottom, bounced, and are climbing again, our woefully inept and malicious politicians appear to be trying to out-do each other in trying to hasten our imitation even as they pass us by.

But enough of that. What I’d like to do next year, is to start releasing paperback versions of my books, and that will be my goal. This follows reports that the market is swinging away from eBooks and back towards tactile, physical books again (I’ll believe it when I see it)! It will take a little time to do though, and I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, I also started another project in late October – in the form of a new website called The Crow Bar. (If you look closely, I removed all mention of crows from my author website to avoid potential clashes!) I made a whole new website for this, whose purpose will be to support indie authors, myself included, by directing traffic to our author websites and to locations where our books are available. Other authors listed include Alex S. Johnson and Amy Mah, and S.K. Gregory just joined us! There is room for many more! If you’re interested, please check out the About Us page.

  • Fan Mail, Reviews & Honorable Mentions

I found the following items to display in this months issue:

    1. In the first week of November, my book “The Galaxii Series Book 1 – Blachart” was selected to partake in the All Author monthly “Cover of the Month” contest for November 2019. Unfortunately I didn’t move on to round 2, but there’s always next time!
    2. On August 18, fellow author H.G. Emert messaged me about “The Thirteenth Ship” on FB messenger!
    3. On Nov 8, Lee Hall mentioned his awesome review of “Dead Man’s Hammer” in one of his articles, and of “Black Sunrise” in another recap of his year’s reviews! “Black Sunrise by Christina Engela is not only a fun, quirky and imaginative foray into science fiction, it’s also part 1 of the ‘Quantum‘ series which I have delved into over the past 6 or so months – I still have 2 left to read hopefully before the end of this year. All of Christina Engela’s books promote positive and modern messages about being inclusive while also being fun. Black Sunrise is just the beginning of that and if you like sci fi you will love this!”
    4. I received a letter from Christina Konyhás on Nov 14, who went on to say: “Let me introduce myself as a great admirer of Yours, who I regard an outstandingly amazing person. Every day, I spend significant amount of time with searching the internet so that I could get more information about the wonderful world we are living in. Reading about sport, art, music, science, technology, the natural world and history itself gives a breath-taking experience to an everyday person, like me. In the course of these adventures, I have met your name and work, which urged me to learn more about your contribution to the field. Learning a lot from your interesting work enriched my life in numerous ways.” – Christina Konyhás, Pusztazámor, Hungary
    5. On Nov 27, Lee Hall again mentioned one of his fine reviews of another of my books, this time “Loderunner” in part 2 of his recap of 2019’s reviews! “Loderunner by Christina Engela is the 4th book in the ‘Quantum‘ series and this one is a tale of the unexpected. Here at the Hall of Information we like the unexpected, we embraced it for my debut novel but seriously this one is a great read about voyaging through the unknown of space while trying to earn an honest buck. There is also a very important inclusive message (like all of Engela’s works) but this one in particular carries a lot of meaning.”

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

  • Hate Mail & Horrible Mentions

I’ve had nothing exciting in this department over the past month – I must be slipping!

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

  • Interviews

I have nothing new to show you here this month.

All my interviews are linked to from this page. If you would like to do an interview with me about my work, please do get in touch!

I’d like to end off my newsletter with an appeal to everyone the world over:

Come on, Human race…stop all the petty, greedy, nationalistic bullshit and just try to get along! There’re more important things to occupy your time than petty jealousies over a patch of land, or some synthetic product, riches, or hatred over differences in skin-tone, language, or which made-up deities you believe in…

The environment and the planet has to be our top priority now, or we’ll ALL suffer and die, including your children and grandchildren. I have no children (at least, none I’m aware of) and so once my life ends in this plane, it will matter little to me what happens to the world – or your offspring! One thing is certain – I won’t be coming back here again, in any incarnation – I’m appealing to you to save yourselves, and your children’s futures!

When it comes down to the basics, what is it you really want? Peace, to be able to live, to be comfortable and happy, and if possible, loved? Stop being petty and stop interfering in other people’s lives – does depriving someone else of happiness bring you happiness? Does bullying others make you feel better about yourself? What does that say about you when you look into your own eyes in the mirror, or in your heart when you’re quiet?

Stop repeating the hate-filled messages of politicians and other hatemongers, let them sit alone in their echo-chambers stewing in their own hate – why make it yours? Who has war ever benefited but politicians and rich industrialists profiting from the sale of bombs and bandages?

We’re all unhappy with the world that’s been created by billionaires, ruled by corporations, disrupted by corrupt and cruel politicians and malicious religious frauds and dictators, we all want change. Well, change starts with each of us…it starts with YOU.

Be the best person you can be to others. So what if you don’t really like them – you don’t know their whole stories. Dont lend your ears or your time or money to anyone peddling unkindness, hatred or selfishness – they only seek to divide us further for their own gain, not yours. Put ubuntu first. Be compassionate. Be kind. Be a mensch.

In Closing

Well, that’s all for this time, folks! 🙂

Thanks again for all your support, friendship and interaction!

Feel free to email or message me via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn if you have any comments or questions!

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’d like to send Christina Engela a question about her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form.

Show your appreciation for Christina’s work!

All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.

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