Another Round At The Crow Bar #38 February 2020

Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 38th newsletter – February 2020!

In Brief:

What a new year, right? It’s been like being thrown in the deep end of the swimming pool! I mean, at 3 days in to 2020 the awful specter of a global war loomed again on the horizon, and not just for those living in the Middle East or the USA, but for all of us… which to be frank, was a rather unsettling thought, wasn’t it? Fortunately that seems to have quietened down for now.

As if that wasn’t weird and distressing enough, the other specter of pestilence poked out its ugly little head with the threat of yet another infectious disease spreading internationally, apparently out of control – but probably not as out of control as the hysterics who have been using the opportunity to persecute people of Asian heritage on suspicion that they are carriers of the disease! It’s a sick world, I tell you – sick!

Orange Hitler seems set on being acquitted at his impeachment hearing, solely because of deliberate Republican failure to adhere to proper procedure, by blocking witnesses from testifying against Trump! Then just yesterday, across the pond, neo-fascist nationalist crazies too dumbed-down to realize they’d been had by populist politicians, celebrated Britain’s giant leap backwards into the dark ages and catastrophic withdrawal from the EU.

All that surreal craziness aside, so far 2020 has been a prolific month for me in terms of writing projects! We’re only just reached the end of January, and already the new releases are stacking up!

I already released one free title “The Galaxii Guide To Corsairs & The Black Fleet” on January 6, and in the meantime, finished a couple of novellas and a long-awaited short story collection!

All this, I might add, despite numerous interruptions of our electricity supply during December and January due to the fallout of ongoing government corruption and infrastructure collapse! Then, once the power situation appeared to have stabilized in early-January when new management was hastily ushered in, we settled into our routine again – until a few days later, when suddenly the internet became “unavailable” and unreliable for over a week due to a fault with the West African Data Cable running under the sea along the west coast of Africa up to London. No, seriously – I really can’t make this shit up!

In the meantime it’s been a rather stressful business getting anything meaningful done without hours-long barely-scheduled seemingly random interruptions of a wide variety!

In terms of articles, in keeping with my statement in December’s newsletter, I kept these to a minimum. I wrote “Word Length – When Is A Novel, A Novel?” and shared it in a sci-fi writer’s group on Facebook – and unwittingly sparked off something of an argument in the group! First the argument was about word length and about which genre determines which word length – and then about what different sources said, and which source was more authoritative than the other… and then it turned personal!

Fellow-writers began weighing in on each other about who’d published more books – basically stopping short of saying things like “listen here, mother-fucker!” – although it seemed implied while reading between the lines! Combative authors publicly compared how many reviews they had on Amazon in relation to their opponents in a way that suggested they were trying to pull rank!

It can be really funny sometimes to watch ego-driven people trying to embarrass each other in a literary achievement dick-measuring contest – for all intents and purposes shouting “do you know who I am?” – but to be frank, it wasn’t my intention to spark off a flame war and fisticuffs with my post! It was meant to be helpful and informative to writers – and especially to aspiring writers! The hostility made things a little awkward, so I didn’t get involved – but I did enjoy reading the comments!

All of this naturally, served to confirm that my article’s statement that essentially there is no formal, official guideline on word length.

Moving on, despite all that, I still managed to get rather a lot done during January! Featuring on the list of achievements this past month, I created new series covers (or posters if you will) for Galaxii, Quantum and Panic! Horror In Space – these are promotional items of course!

I think they look grand, don’t you? Oh, and incidentally, I also made a new banner for my website and social media pages.

As you will see later on, I also received two fantastic new reviews for two of my books, courtesy of Lee Hall! (Both are featured later on, below.)

Right – now let’s take a look at this month’s items!

Current Writing Projects 

I’m very excited to tell you that I’ll also be releasing not just one – but two novellas this coming month! A novella, if you didn’t know, is a story between 17,000 and 40,000 words long! I’ve already told you about the first one, called “Duck Blind“, but what I didn’t tell you, was that I’d also been working on a second story in the meantime, called “The Next Room”! Both will be released in eBook form in February, and should also be coming out in paperback soon after!

In a bit of a turnabout, “The Next Room” is based on the characters “Duck Blind”. Each of them tells part of the same story from the perspective of a different set of the same group of characters in different dimensions and times! Together, they’re pretty much a story of opposites – and it’s the first time I’ve attempted this sort of project, and I’m truly excited about how it turned out! “Duck Blind” is around 22,000 words long and “The Next Room” lies at over 23,000. As usual, I will keep you informed!

Once I’d finished “The Next Room”, I took another look at the second volume of “Space Sucks!” which has been a bit long overdue! All I needed to complete it, was one more short story – I already had five other stories done and waiting, but word length was a concern for me as it was a little short!

The new short story I came up with is “The Broken-tipped Sword”, which brought “Space Sucks Too!” up to the right length – and so “Space Sucks Too!” will be coming out soon as well.

This title features the following short stories:

1) Little Green Men
2) Good Evening, Mr. Gleeb
3) The Storming of Area 51
4) Midnight Station
5) The Broken-tipped Sword
6) The Ghost And The Machine

That wasn’t the end of my writing in January either – as by Wednesday of the last week of January, I’d also finished editing and formatting “When Darkness Calls” – a horror novella I’d originally drafted in 2012.

After that, I was a little bored while waiting for the end of my holiday – so I revisited another old project of mine, and by the eve of January 31st, I was already halfway through the revision/edit of that draft as well… but I’ll tell you more about that another time!

In the meantime, I’m also looking for submissions for a horror short story anthology that will be published through Moon Books Publishing! Details here.

Publishing

All titles in Galaxii, Quantum and Panic! Horror In Space are available in paperback format via Moon Books Publishing and can be obtained on Amazon!

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. “Christina Engela’s Strangely Compelling Science Fiction Anthology: Book 1”  is currently being recorded, and I’ve been informed that the first titles in each of my series are already being lined up at recording studios! More will follow soon as Moon Books begins to record and release select titles in my bibliography!

I’ve also heard a few wonderful auditions from several narrators for “Blachart” – and I’m waiting in suspense for the actual recording to start! That should be very soon actually, within a few week’s time! The good news in this department is, “Blachart” will be narrated by the wonderfully talented Nigel Peever, a man whose voice – whilst reading my work – sent chills of awe and pleasure running up and down my spine! Once I listened to his 15 minute audition of “Blachart”, I was all but completely blown away! I sat, transfixed, listening intently to every syllable, every emotion and inflection – appreciating the clarity and the preciseness of it all!

I’m not able to share the 15 minute sample with you, sadly – I really wish I could! However, I can show you the intended cover for the audiobook!

Reviews

I have not one, not two, but three excellent reviews to share with you this time! As you might be aware, I sent all of the Quantum novels to UK writer and reviewer Lee Hall last year – and he’s given me some pretty awesome reviews!

UK author and reviewer Lee Hall posted his review of “Prodigal Sun” on January 02 – which I only saw after initially posting the previous newsletter, and decided to include in this one as well!

“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!”

Lee posted this fantastic review on the next book within a week!

An epic ensemble of characters fighting for the importance of inclusion… 

The Quantum Series carries a consistent theme throughout all six of it’s stories; that being inclusion no matter how different one is or where they come from. Whether you are human, alien, plant or anything else in between. No matter your beliefs, non beliefs, orientation or anything else that may set you aside and make you different. Christina Engela’s stories in this series champion that and it’s an important modern cause to stand for in literature. She manages to do and say that without being preachy and while also and importantly telling fun, action packed, sometimes quirky but always enjoyable stories. It’s also what is being fought for in this book.

High Steaks picks up pretty much where the previous encounter ‘Prodigal Sun’ left off. The planet of Deanna has been over run and taken over by some quite nasty forces. Their stance is the exact opposite of what Engela’s stories and their heroes stand for. And for this one these heroes are out in full force, names whom readers will find familiar. Their goal to undo what injustice has been done not just for the different but for everyone and the greater good. It’s an echo towards our own history and more importantly a tribute to the fight against separatism and nationalist socialists who only see the world one way.

Everything that makes up the good parts of these stories has been painstakingly crafted into this one. It’s quick paced in moments with a sense of an ensemble cast all working together to fight for one another making it probably the most epic story in the series. Quite late on I realized this wasn’t going to be the final book of the series, at first I felt a little disappointed but then elated that what will follow if there is a 7th which will be one hell of a culmination and I am more than interested in reading.

Overall I have very much enjoyed reading the books in this series. They are fun, quirky, imaginative and their biggest quality is that the style and the way they read is very much accessible to pretty much anyone. I highly recommend the Quantum series to everyone!

5 Stars – Fun and powerful. Thank you to the author for providing me with all books in this series! Review left via Goodreads and Amazon UK.

Have you read the Quantum Series? You should!” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, January 06, 2020.

Again, on the 21st of January, Lee also made mention of both the above books and the Quantum Series in another of his articles “Awesome Indie Book Recommendations” – in which he said:

“My next book rec comes in the form of two stories which cap off one hell of an awesome science fiction series. ‘Prodigal Sun’ and ‘High Steaks’ are two reads I enjoyed over the festive season and make up the final books (so far) of the Quantum Series by Christina Engela. This collection I spent last year and the beginning of 2020 delving into. I am going to be brief because I plan on putting out a separate showcase for the series soon but I urge you to check them out!

Now that is something I’m really looking forward to seeing – I really never expected this sort of attention from reviewer, and I’m sure any author out there would be flattered and frankly over the moon to receiver reviews like this! I’m looking forward to Lee’s upcoming reviews of the Panic! Horror In Space series even more now!

Poetry by Wendy K. Engela

In August 2019 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).

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!

The Galaxii Guide To Corsairs & The Black Fleet” was released on January 06, 2020 as the newest free download guide to expand on the background for my readers!

Meradinis! The very name of this dark world grabbed the imaginations of young boys and girls, and universally mesmerized dreamers and romantics alike. That is, when they weren’t terrified – because the truth is always far less romantic – and as reality so often demonstrates in real life – rather ugly and brutal.

Behind the legend of the Corsairs and their sinister culture of plunder and violence lay a history fraught with a desperate, brutal struggle to survive, a vengefulness and a cruel streak – and a drive to survive by any means necessary – chiefly of which was their predation upon other worlds… And it was their predatory nature that struck fear into the hearts of neighboring fringe worlds – and, some whispered – in the hallowed halls of the Terran Congress itself.

This guide compiled from numerous articles written by the author herself to promote the Galaxii series, some drawn from the books themselves, is intended to brief the reader about the Corsairs as a group, their culture, origins, general practices and of course, ships and other equipment.

Currently Available Titles:

I currently have 23 unique titles available in 4 series (not including the 16 free promotional items – and the four new ones due out this coming month, which will make it 27!). 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

  • Fan Mail, Reviews & Honorable Mentions

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

    1. On October 22, 2017, someone left a nice review for “Blachart”: “Crackin’ read”“Roughly about 13% of the way in you have “here” instead of “her”. A little further on you have “or” instead of “for”. Some of the kindle formatting means that some sentences are cut in half and drags you out of the world. [(N.B. This was for a previous version of “Blachart” which has since been updated – author)]That said, what a fantastic read! I really got engrossed into the characters. The story line kept me hooked and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Your writing “voice” is easy to fall into and the fights scenes easy to follow, you didn’t fall into the sex cliché and built the beginnings of a meaningful relationship. Great job, thank you for your book.” – Verified Purchase Amazon UK.
    2. Since some of my efforts have been turned into audiobooks, I now appear to have a profile on Audible as well!
    3. One of my quotes was shared in this article on Medium.com by Stephanie C. Odili on August 13, 2019. “The patriarchy longs for the days ‘when men were men’ and women were oppressed, subservient — and they can see no wrong in it. It justifies its former power and lust to hold on to it — and if possible, to regain it…How can oppression and power over another person’s life ever be ‘love’?” ― Christina Engela.
    4. The Crow House (no relation to me LMAO) quote of the day archive listed one of my quotes: “Who is an elected government in a constitutional democracy to decide whether it will or will not tolerate dissent?” – Christina Engela.

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! Perhaps I need new haters?

    1. I spotted the following comment from someone on Amazon’s UK website for one of my free short story promotional items on September 03, 2019:The eBook was a FREE download, so I really don’t know what he’s complaining about – that it was too short and he wanted more (perhaps I should be flattered? 😛 ), or that he didn’t understand the word “glimpse” in the clearly visible description of the item? Some people should really learn to read.

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.

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