Another Round At The Crow Bar #43 July 2020


Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 43rd newsletter – July 2020!

On A Personal Note

I know I’m not alone in wishing for 2020 to be over already. We huddle in place – wherever we are – at home, in an office, in our cars, keenly aware of how things have changed… and wondering just what the hell we can expect to happen next! This is a weird and awful year, where each of us is going to feel more isolated and cut-off from the people we used to know and socialized with, with every point of physical contact laced thickly with second thoughts.

June was indeed a strange month for me. Not only did I return to work, but also by the close of the month one of my colleagues tested positive for COVID-19 and we were told to stay home again for a number of days while our offices were thoroughly sanitized again. I’m due to return to work on the 2nd of July again, tomorrow – while it looks increasingly likely that with the somewhat predictable soaring rate of new infections and deaths, SA will probably soon go back into a lockdown.

In the meantime, I’ve been kept busy with various different things – editing my dad’s last book, creating new paintings, releasing old music I made in the last decade, and building a catalog I plan to release for free soon in e-magazine form, which lists all my titles and includes detailed synopses! We’re also having the front street-facing end of the house repainted, including window and door frames, and all the cracks repaired – a thoroughly professional job, and one we badly needed!

On the plus side, I’ve found time to do some reading again – even if it is just for half an hour or so, in bed before I turn out the light! Currently I’m busy with “The Great Pursuit” by that great English satirist, Tom Sharpe!

Art

This addresses the two extreme opposite ends of the month, but somewhere in the middle, I revisited one of my other hobbies – painting!

“Untitled” 2017 A4 acrylic canvas

Back in 2017, I’d previously painted a piece I’d originally called “Bleeding Hearts”. That was my very first painting, believe it or not! I wasn’t entirely happy with it though, and for quite a while I mulled over what I thought could be improved upon it.

“Balancier” 2020 A2 acrylic canvas

One day in June I grabbed my brushes and raided Wendy’s paint box, and set about the task! I covered the background and painted a new white background over it, because I wanted the centerpiece to stand out. The old background was distracting attention away from it – so now I’m happy with the result and I can say the painting I initially felt was complete when I did it in 2017, is now finally done! It’s now called “Untitled” – because I want people who see it, to form their own idea of the image based on what feelings it inspires within them.

“Rescuer” 2020 A2 acrylic canvas

I then went on and started a new one on the following week! “Balancier” is one I’d planned on doing back in 2017 after initially completing “Untitled”, but didn’t get around to it before now. Good things are worth waiting for, and I’m really happy with the result! “Balancier” is also acrylic on A2 canvas.

Being on a roll, I then went on with a third painting, which I called “Rescuer”. This one is also acrylic on A2. It features two hands in different shades of gray clasping each other as if pulling – but in which direction, up or down? The background is a dark gray at top and the bottom is a glossy black pool, reflective – perhaps a mirror? Who is the rescuer?

I’m currently working on my fourth painting, which I’ve called “The Awakening”. It’s not finished yet, but I’ll be posting a picture of it next time!

What do you think of them? Feel free to let me know!

Music

Also during the month of June, I finally uploaded a selection of music tracks I’d made using eJay and other similar apps between 1999 – 2008 to my YouTube channel. You can read more on the Music page on my website!

Activism

For those of you who follow my posts on my activism-related log “Sour Grapes: The Fruit Of Ignorance“, you might have seen my post “Doubling Down On Stupidity Doesn’t Make It Any Less Stupid“.

In it I discussed several topics I had on my chest, including the prevailing tendency towards false equivalence – that is, the modern conventional wisdom that any two opinions should be taken at equal value regardless of where they come from – which is essentially part of the growing anti-intellectualism movement – up to and including the recent attack on transgender people’s right to exist by emerging TERF icon and transphobe J.K. Rowling.

Believe me, as an author I really don’t like to bash other authors… however, as a human rights activist, I simply couldn’t help myself! After all, I’m a transwoman myself – and with everything that’s going on around the world, with transgender people’s rights to equal treatment – and even to MEDICAL treatment – under attack in the USA and even in the UK, where Ms. Rowling is based and certainly cannot be oblivious to, I’d expected her to take into account the very real harm her words convey and manifest. As if to drive the point home, at least two politicians pushing for anti-transgender law changes in the US and UK openly quoted Rowling in their addresses while doing so.

I think it’s truly sad that a writer who’d become an icon for acceptance and tolerance of the LGBT community – and an inspiration to legions of struggling authors, including me – has done an about-turn and deliberately marched in the opposite direction while narcissistically placing the blame for her falling popularity and the growing uncertainty of her future writing career on the people she’s been launching unprovoked attacks against in her tweets and posts on her official site. Unfortunately I’d never been able to bring myself to read her books – but as someone who really enjoyed her movies and considered herself a firm fan – I’m not alone in expressing my disappointment with the creator of Harry Potter for siding with the lowest of the low: populists, fascists, anti-intellectualists, science-denialists and haters of transgender people.

Moving on…

Current Writing Projects 

You may recall that in last month’s newsletter I mentioned that I’d started editing the last of my dad’s completed works, a novel called “Only Yesterday”, which he finished (and set) sometime in the 1960’s! It was his second novel, written after “A Way Of Life“, and before “Shakandazu Valley“, and is the only one of his completed books that has yet to be published. Set in South Africa shortly before and during the Apartheid years, “Only Yesterday” is a standalone novel of over 100,000 words which addresses many things regrettably still present in global current affairs – racism, prejudice and bigotry.

Presently I’m in the process of finalizing the OCR conversion of the text – whilst simultaneously editing – and since I’ve hardly had to change anything this time, I’m of the opinion that “Only Yesterday” will be my dad’s very best book! Perhaps tentatively, it could turn out to be the modern-day classic he always hoped to pen.

Editing

On the editing side of things, my friend Brandon Mullins  has been getting me into a proofreading and editing sideline over at Moon Books Publishing, and I’ll let you have any news on that as it happens!

In the meantime, I still have a horror anthology on my desktop, which still needs a couple more submissions to reach publishing length – and more than that wouldn’t hurt! There will be no payment to writers, but participation will help get your name out there. If interested, please send them along to christinaengela@gmail.com.

Marketing – The Dreaded “M” Word! 

As part of my marketing drive, I’ve recently begun opening my blog up to posts from guest authors who like me, have been struggling to broaden their internet footprint and to get the word about their work spread as far as possible! So far, three authors have participated, and I’ve been honored and pleased to share their material on my official site under the “Guest Writers” category!

Broadly speaking, this has had a noticeable effect for my part, and I will continue in future to offer a regular space on my author site for authors who wish to participate. All they need to do is follow the instructions in my article from May, “Authors Promote Yourself FREE – Apply Here!“.

Smashwords is also running a Winter/Summer sale for the month of July – which means it’s starting today! I’ve entered all my books on there into the sale, at 50% off – so go have a look!

Publishing

Under recent releases this month, these are the six books I’ve released so far this year!

 

Audiobooks

I told you previously in my post “Coming Soon! “Blachart” – the Audiobook!” back in May – and in my previous newsletter for June, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the audiobook release of “Blachart”! The end of May came and went – as did June – and I’m still waiting!

Being new to the audiobook scene, I have no idea what the turnaround time is from when an audiobook is submitted for review to the time it’s released and made available, but I suppose it’s longer than usual, since other audiobooks I’ve contributed to previously were released within a month!  Perhaps there’s a bottle-neck over at Audible? Who knows!

Anyway, rest assured – I will announce it as soon as it comes out! In the meantime, Brandon has been sending me auditions for other of my audiobooks by the ton – with my horror stories apparently appealing to the majority of narrators auditioning! I can hardly wait to see – or rather hear – these audiobooks when they come out!

Reviews

This month, I have a mention from the amazing Lee Hall, a mention in his article Best books I’ve read this year… so far Part 2… on June 11:

“Life Signs by Christina Engela

PHIS#2 Life Signs by Christina Engela - cover

The sci fi stories of Christina Engela appear quite frequently on my shelves, they are both fun and in good supply. Like the many of her books I have reviewed in the past ‘Life Signs’ deserves a shout out as well as the wider Panic! Horror in Space series. This one is a trio of stories that tie into the wider world of space, horror and even some comedy. To quote my review: ‘From poignant to quirky and fun, these stories pretty much cover everything that Engela is known for with a writing style and depth that will draw you in…'” Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer.

Follow Lee and his activities on Twitter and at his website!

You can also see all my previous reviews here.

Currently Available Titles

I now have 29 unique titles available in 4 series (not including books I’ve been the editor for, and my 16 free promotional items)! My books are available in three different formats: EBooks, Paperbacks and Audiobooks. Click the links or images below to view titles available in these formats.

Communication

Below are links to a few of my most recent posts and articles since my last newsletter:

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

Interactions

  • Fan Mail, Reader Reviews & Honorable Mentions
    1. SATYA posted one of my quotes on their motivational quotes site, and appear to have a string of them in the wings.
    2. Geoff Ryman wrote an article “South African writers I did not interview” on November 15, 2017 which is basically a listing of South African authors he didn’t interview – including me! And no, he still hasn’t! Strange.

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

  • Hate Mail & Horrible Mentions
  1. 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

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, 2020.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: