Another Round At The Crow Bar #37 January 2020


Hello friends and fans!

Happy new year – and welcome to my 37th newsletter!

In Brief:

Hard as it may be to believe, it’s January again, and it’s the start of a whole new year! Happy 2020 from me – and while you’re probably heading back to work, I’ll still be on vacation for the rest of the month! Not that I’ll be slacking and doing nothing – no, no – mostly I’ll be doing some odd-jobs around the house, as well as kicking off the first of the new year’s writing projects! Other than that, it’s been a really quiet, restful holiday – which if we’re completely honest, is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

That said, you might be wondering why I’ve even bothered to put out a newsletter at this time of year – and not even halfway through my holiday yet! What could I possibly have to report on to you?

Well, quite a lot, as it turns out!

Current Writing Projects 

In September last year I was asked by Brandon Mullins of Moon Books Publishing to head up a new anthology project tentatively called “Strangely Compelling SciFi”! I loved the sound of that – it sounded like thirties or fifties old-school scifi! In line with the parameters of the project, I collected and edited submissions, wrote the foreword and contributed two of the entries. The anthology stands at over 71,000 words and contains 8 stories from 4 writers (myself included) – and it’s all very exciting stuff! On the eve of publishing, Brandon pulled the rug out under me and re-titled the book “Christina Engela’s Strangely Compelling Science Fiction Anthology: Book 1“! Yes, the title hints at the probability that there will be more anthologies in this series, and truth be told, I can hardly wait! Of course, including my name in the title was quite a hefty compliment to me, and I’m extremely flattered! The book was published on December 26, 2019 – and what a nice way to end the year off – on a high note! EBook & audiobook versions are to follow soon!

Early in the new year, I’ll also be releasing a novella called “Duck Blind” in eBook form, and it might also be coming out in paperback and audiobook format soon after!

Since I’ve recently written “Duck Blind“, I’ve pondered writing another story based on the second set of characters placed in the mirror-opposite set of circumstances to that book’s characters – the ones in 2025 as opposed to 2773! I’m still mulling over it, and if it goes anywhere, you’ll be the first to know!

In the meantime, my role as editor linked to Moon Books Publishing also seems to be taking off, as I already have several new assignments to tackle, including a coming horror anthology of short stories! Stay tuned for submission calls which will soon be forthcoming!

These are definitely exciting times for me!

Publishing

You might have noticed my little ad-campaign I launched in December 2019… with the picture of the Moon and a series of short messages?

You might’ve also wondered what it’s all about! Let me tell you! Quite unexpectedly, in mid-December I was made a very generous offer by a gentleman by the name of Brandon Mullins, representing Moon Books Publishing in the US – to re-publish all my books in paperback and audiobook formats! I know, I mentioned in my last news letter from the start of December that my main first project for 2020 was going to be to re-release all the paperback editions of my books! This would probably have taken me quite a lot of effort, time, and I would still have been limited to the usual narrow scope of options open to South African self-publishing indie authors – where we’re hamstrung by our location and our government’s increasing Big-Brother-esque obsession with everything we do! Also, the likelihood of being able to commission so many audio conversions of my books from South Africa is just about nil.

To cut a long story short, I happily accepted, and my scifi series Galaxii, Quantum, Panic! Horror In Space, as well as numerous other titles, including some non-fiction will be appearing on Amazon soon in paperback! Select titles will also be released in audiobook format as time goes by! Naturally I’m very excited – and grateful to Brandon and Moon Books Publishing for the support and opportunity, especially since living in South Africa, this arrangement opens a few doors I’d been hammering on in vain for some time!

All my eBooks which are currently available will continue to be available – maintaining the status quo and building on it!

Audiobooks

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. More will follow soon as Moon Books begins to record and release select titles in my bibliography!

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. She’s still getting to know the language better before embarking on something as ambitious as translating a story! 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

UK author and reviewer Lee Hall has asked for “Static” and “Life Signs” (books 1 and 2 in Panic! Horror In Space) and in the meantime, this very morning (2 January, 2020) he posted his review of “Prodigal Sun” – which I only saw after initially posting this newsletter, and decided to update!

“Fun, quirky and most probably the strongest of the Quantum series!

Christina Engela has a unique way of telling a story that has lots going on without making it seem confusing or cluttered. Having read all of the previous books in her ‘Quantum’ series this one carves a unique but powerful path that faces many issues without any fear.

Characters who have established themselves in this colorful and fun universe are taken somewhat by surprise much like the reader as a political supremacist group looks to overthrow the current regime on Deanna. In fact everything about the ‘Deannan Service league’ reeks of revolt but some revolutions aren’t for the greater good – a strong and relevant political message that many can relate to today.

We see Danielle Grauffis; a student and transgender character who becomes directly caught up in the political overthrowing and subsequent storm. You cannot help but sympathize for her story which is one that is just of a person looking to be included and positive inclusion is a huge theme in this book much like all of Engela’s works they directly and sometimes indirectly set an example that champions everyone and anyone including the minorities.

As the story unfolded it became more and more gripping as events turn for the worse. Sheriff Peggy Ann-Muller may well be in over her head even if she does express exactly what is going on through a powerful quote ‘Anyone else want to be on the wrong side of history?’ Powerful is probably the one word which sums up the plot of ‘Prodigal Sun’ but as usual there is way much more happening. I have only just realized ‘Atro City’ is in fact meant to be pronounced as ‘Atrocity’ which is just one of the many fun quirks you’ll find in this great read! Left very much open and on a cliff hanger, I shall be diving right into the next story!

5 Stars – Great read, review left via Goodreads over the holidays but now I am back to review more indie books! You can expect a review of the next book in the Quantum series soon!

Happy new year readers!”

What a lovely review! I’m looking forward to see Lee’s upcoming review of “High Steaks” even more now!

Poetry by Wendy K. Engela

In August last year my wife and partner in all things weird and wonderful, Wendy published her first book – a collection of her Gothic poetry called “Season’s Change“!

This collection is now available as an eBook via all the expected places, Amazon, Lulu, Smashwords, and all their distribution partner sites.

Season’s Change” is a collection of poetry by Wendy Keran Engela (neé Gloss), who has all the right qualifications, skills and experience to be regarded as a Gothic artist and poet, including being an incorrigible grammar-Nazi, having the prerequisite dark existential outlook, depression, a twisted sense of humor – and having survived at least one (official) suicide attempt. Give it a try – it’s great poetry!

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

Competitions

There’s nothing to see here this month – these are not the red-horned wildebeest you’re looking for. 😉

Communication

Below are links to a few of my most recent posts on my website since my last newsletter:

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

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

New Releases

Christina Engela’s Strangely Compelling Science Fiction Anthology: Book 1” was published on December 26, 2019 (Moon Books Publishing). EBook & audiobook versions to follow shortly!

““Sci-fi is the main thing.” I was told, “Compelling would be nice. Strange is only a suggestion.”

That set the wheels turning – and why not – since I’ve been a sci-fi fan my entire life! So I set out to look for stories that met these parameters – sci-fi that celebrates the weird, embraces the unusual, seeks to unscrew the inscrutable… and is… strangely compelling! If that’s what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place!

Along with two of my own stories, I’m pleased to present some strangely compelling sci-fi by a few talented, imaginative writers – namely H.G. Emert, Major Roxbrough, and Thomas M. Malafarina!”

You can find the titles that have already been re-released on Amazon by clicking on the links on the Shop page, or by browsing my Amazon page listing and clicking on the print edition links of the books you like!

Currently Available Titles:

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

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

Some titles are also available in other languages: Afrikaans.

On A Personal Note

The Crow Bar (dot zed a!)

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.

You may also be wondering why I’ve used the name ‘the crow bar’ so often in websites – and what a crow bar is! Well, back when I started working on the Quantum Series, when I was writing “The Time Saving Agency“, I named the bar at Atro City Space Port, “The Crow Bar”. Now on Deana – the setting for these stories – there is a native bird species called Obsidian Crows. These are flightless, heavy-bodied bothersome birds that sort of shamble around in a penguin-like fashion, making obstructions of themselves! They tend to walk from A to B in straight lines – giving rise to the saying “as the crow walks” – regardless of roads or anything less than a canyon or a high sturdy wall, and making road traffic a little more interesting than it really has to be! Consequently, to avoid – er, avoidable damage to their vehicles, most owners fit a sturdy steel impact bar to the front of their jeepo’s… called crow bars.

The name when applied to a pub is meant to be satirical, witty and hinting at the nature of the customers who frequent the establishment! I thought it was rather cute myself!

I originally named my author website that (but not in the url) back in 2016 or so – hence the title of my newsletter! However, I opted to change it to plain old “Christina Engela.com” in order to use it for the new project instead, where I would market books by indie authors – yes, including mine!

In that sense, the Crow Bar describes a bar visited by cute cartoon crows flocking to find something to read! Since crows are very intelligent and clever creatures, I don’t think they’d mind the reference!

  • Fan Mail, Reviews & Honorable Mentions

I found the following item (it’s been a very quiet month!) to display in this months issue:

    1. On December 17, “Obtaining balanced assessment of the Bill rather than relying on public rhetoric and fear mongering” a Pakistani opinion piece appeared about the recent passing of a Bill to extend citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants in Pakistan – and the recent riots in objection to it. The article contained a quote of mine – followed by the explanation “The above quote explains how religious persecution dehumanizes a particular religious group at a societal level” and pressed the point that people should rather consider the broad implications of the Bill instead of allowing themselves be whipped into a frenzy by hearsay and rumor. I’m proud to see my words being used well – and in the right way, in context!

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!

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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