Another Round At The Crow Bar #44 August 2020


Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 44th newsletter – August 2020!

On A Personal Note

The 17th of July was a terribly sad day for our family because of the death of one of our fur-children, Ming. She was my little writing companion who used to sit across my shoulders sometimes, or on my knee while I typed away on my laptop.

I love all three our kitties, but Mingy-moo as I used to call her, held a special place in my heart… and to be frank, I miss her presence in my life terribly, as does Wendy.

Lily – our giant white mommy-cat, and Nyx – our little black one, were clearly in mourning as well. Their behavior has changed since she disappeared so suddenly from our lives, and even after a week, Nyx still hovers around the spot where Ming sat the last day she was with us, and Lily still searches the house for the missing kitty.

Ming used to do little things the other two kitties don’t do – some endearing, and some outright naughty – whose absence only makes her loss that much more tangible. Somehow the house seems so much more quiet and empty. Something is missing, and for weeks the empty-nest feeling has hung over it like a pall. It will be a while yet before we lift ourselves up again, and move on.

Then, in the early hours of Friday 24 July, more bad news! Someone asshat with sticky fingers burgled our Golf! Fortunately they were unprepared and set off the alarm and fled, leaving the driver side door open. There was some good news with the bad – there was no damage at all. The enterprising individual must’ve used a ‘slim-jim’ or similar tool to lever the lock open via the window channel, so no windows or locks etc. were damaged. I figure they also probably tried to steal the wheels – and then discovered I had a lock-nut on each wheel, because the only thing the bastards seem to have got away with is one single, solitary wheel-nut!

That aside, on other, much happier fronts, I completed another two paintings since last time we spoke – bringing my total number of paintings to five – and then I returned to writing again! On that front, among the BIGGEST news items I have to share with you this time, is the release of the audiobook version of “Blachart” – it’s finally here – and after three weeks of availability, I’m happy to report that it’s doing very well! More about that below!

Art

I also indulge in painting from time to time – and no, I don’t mean walls! The following paintings are in my portfolio:

I completed “The Awakening” on June 5, and started “The Earth Wept” just a few days later. “The Earth Wept” is on 40x40cm canvas and I finished that on July 12. I’ve also since renamed “Untitled” to “Human Nature”.

You can read more about my art projects on the Art page.

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

Music

Yes – I also make music from time to time!

A selection of music tracks I made using eJay and other similar apps between 1999 – 2008 are available on my YouTube channel.

You can read more on the Music page on my website!

Activism

For those of you interested in my activism-related posts and activities, you can follow them at “Sour Grapes: The Fruit Of Ignorance“.

Current Writing Projects 

In the past few weeks I deviated from writing and went into art for a while, delivering four new completed paintings in a little over a month! In the meantime however, I made a return to writing by starting the long awaited next title in the Galaxii series!

Book 4 – still under a working title – is currently at a little over 18,000 words and growing by the day!

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!

I’ve just received the first submission for a new project entitled “Captain Jockstrap and the League of Do-gooders”! Yes, it probably is as silly as it sounds – but that’s the idea!

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! 

Portfolio 2020!

I thought it would be nice if I could produce a neat, organized catalog of all my books that interested parties could download and browse – a free, distributable and shareable catalog, and so I created “Portfolio 2020!” – a listing of all my currently available titles!

Portfolio is more than that though, because it also contains a biography as well as synopses for most of my titles – and I have a plan to update it regularly, perhaps on an annual basis! Portfolio 2020 is available as a free download from my website.

Videos

In July, I made a new book trailer video for the audiobook version of “Blachart” – and so did Nigel Peever as it turned out!

Aren’t they great? 🙂

Sales

Getting my writing available in audiobook format seems to have been the ticket I’ve been waiting for, and these are truly exciting times for me as a writer! At this stage I have only one audiobook out, my first, and with its first month almost complete, sales are really encouraging! For the past month most of my marketing has been aimed at promoting “Blachart” and upcoming new audiobook titles “When Darkness Calls”, “Malice!” and “Demonspawn”. With more to follow, these items really could be the thing that helps promote my writing and blow those doors open that so far have tended to keep me out!

Publishing

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

 

July really has been a month of change. Not only was there a death in the family, but it’s also the month I closed my account with Lulu.com – the self-publishing platform I’ve used since 2005. Although I am angry with Lulu, and sorely disappointed in what they’ve done – and how they did it – I am grateful for what they did for me over the years. There’s no way I would’ve had the foundations in self-publishing I have today, were it not for Lulu. At one time, they were the ONLY self-publishing platform that would take on writers from South Africa – let alone being willing to accommodate paying us via PayPal!

Sadly, I simply couldn’t get to grips with the awful new changes Lulu inexplicably inflicted on loyal users that – in my view – rendered the platform unfriendly and totally useless. In the second week of July I redistributed the titles that were based on Lulu between Moon Books (publishing eBook, paperback and audiobook via Amazon) and eBooks via EBooks2Go, Draft2Digital and StreetLib. Frankly I think some of them that were available only on Lulu will have an even wider reach as a result. I sent Lulu the account deletion request on the 20th.

Unfortunately, due to Lulu’s short-sighted idiocy, I now have to edit and update “The Pitfalls of South African Self-publishing” as well – there’s an entire section covering how to self-publish a book via the system Lulu just casually chucked into the bin that needs to change. Frankly, I’m thinking I’ll need to base that portion on EBooks2go instead – since their system is far simpler and easier to use, not to mention less fiddly.

Also as a result, I’ve had to update purchase links on my website and social media accounts that referred directly or indirectly to my books via Lulu. If you find any I haven’t got round to fixing yet, please drop me a line and let me know! 😉

Hally Park Publishers

For quite a while now I’ve been working to expand my marketing reach, and in the spirit of that endeavor I recently contracted with Hally Park Publishers – a South African small press who also list suitable self-published titles on their website – to list my eBooks!

It’s taken a little time for them to appear on their website – after all, I’m not the only author they have listed, and I have just over 30 books – so I’m sure that was quite a job! Nevertheless, the first fifteen appeared on their site during the night (yes, I’ve been watching)!

The advantage of this arrangement – that is, listing my books on a local South African book selling site – is that it’s a new local market which already attracts its own traffic! Additionally, the prices are displayed in Rands, as well as my books being displayed alongside titles by other local authors – which should attract more local readers looking for some local literary South African flavor!

You can view my listing there by clicking on the link, or the screenshot below!

Audiobooks

I mentioned previously in my post “Coming Soon! “Blachart” – the Audiobook!” back in May – and in my newsletters for June and July that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the audiobook release of “Blachart” – and I’m sure you have too!

On the July 10th I got a notification that “Blachart” the audiobook was available on Amazon! As I promised in February this year, “Blachart” has (finally) been released as an audiobook! It doesn’t usually take this long to go through the production process, and I’m sure the current pandemic must’ve had something to do with it – but regardless, the eagerly-awaited finished product has arrived at last! And – WOW – what a product it is!

Narrated by Nigel Peever, “Blachart” – book 1 in the Galaxii series – is 10 hours 26 min long, and is nothing less than a rip-roaring sci-fi adventure! You can read more about it here.

I’ve also had to review a string of auditions for “Malice!“, “When Darkness Calls” and “Best Served Cold” – and I have to comment on the diverseness of the sort of voices, accents and personalities that sent their auditions in! Wow! For a writer, nothing encapsulates the diversity of one’s audience more than listening to a variety of people, male and female, reading words you wrote in a variety of accents! It’s even more of a compliment when you can hear them enjoying it as they do so! “When Darkness Calls” is narrated by Miciah Dodge, and Michelle Innes had me covered in goosebumps as she read an excerpt of “Malice!” in her Scottish accent! Currently, “Malice!”, “When Darkness Calls”, and “Demonspawn” are in production, and we’re still looking for a narrator to read “Best Served Cold”!

Coming Soon

In the meantime, here’s a look at the covers for the coming audiobooks of “When Darkness Calls” and “Demonspawn”:

Reviews

You can 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 articles, just click on the category links below:

Interactions

  • Fan Mail, Reader Reviews & Honorable Mentions

I very pleased to have quite a few items to show you this month!

    1. Parade.com shared one of my quotes in a listing titled “150 of the Best Relationship Quotes and Sweetest Couple Quotes That’ll Make Your Heart Flutter” on July 08, 2020. “Regardless of what language it is said in, ‘I love you’ stays beautiful, and two hearts beating together make the same sound. It is the language of Love.” – Christina Engela
    2. The Satanic Church of South Africa shared my academic book “Satanism: The Acid Test” on their website resource page! (found on July 12, 2020) This is of course, what this book is supposed to do – educate people, demystify the occult, and relieve people of their ignorance!
    3. Miciah Dodge, the narrator recording “When Darkness Calls” sent a message via ACX on July 07:
    4. Jennifer Shepard really seems to have liked my article about “Blachart”! (July 11, 2020):
    5. The audiobook version of “Blachart” received a gracious reader/listener review on the 5th of July:
    6. On July 21, Brandon Mullins, CEO of Moon Books Publishing shared the following compliment for “Blachart” in a publishing group on Facebook:
    7. On July 26, Scott M. Darrah gave me his opinion of the audiobook:
    8. Miciah Dodge, the narrator for “Christina Engela’s Strangely Compelling Scifi Stories vol 1”, “When Darkness Calls” and “Duck Blind” sent me this nice email on July 26, 2020:

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. On July 17, somebody thought it would probably be hilarious if they spam bombed my inbox with email notifications for a fake account they created in my name – on an Asian Dating Site in Indonesia! Unfortunately for them, I left the factory with a warped sense of humor, so instead of being bent out of shape by their ‘ingenuity’ all they did was give me a few good laughs… I mean have you seen half the profiles on any dating site?? Anyway, I know how to filter and block email addresses – and the admins of said dating site were kind enough to delete the profile for me when I asked nicely, so – better luck next time, whoever you are!
  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! 🙂


Catch me on social media!


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.

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