Another Round At The Crow Bar #41 May 2020

Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 41st newsletter – May 2020!

On A Personal Note

I can’t say I’ve enjoyed the last month very much. In fact, the less said about it, the better. I suppose we can only wait to see what the future holds.

Plagues and politics – and parasitic billionaires and politicians aside, at least I got some work done in the writing department – including creating some new marketing images – shown below for you – just click on them to open in new windows!

I also created a series of new ads – one per individual book title for some of my books – I think they look really great, don’t you? The little fake smartphone was created by drawing shapes in PowerPoint!

On the 27th I also revamped the landing page of my official website to make it easier for readers to find the book they’re looking for in the format they prefer – and created a new website marketing image below:

Oh, and I have some really exciting news for you in the audiobook department as well! One of my books is due out in audiobook format very soon – check below!

My wife Wendy, who launched her own poetry collection in August last year, has confided in me that she’s working on her second book – this time to do with gardening and herbs, so I’m looking forward to giving you occasional updates on that as well!

I’ve also started working on a brand new writing project – details below!

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

Current Writing Projects 

In April I managed to write an entire short short story called “Lifetime”. Following the final edit, “Lifetime” is 13,377 words long and took three days of intensive writing to complete! I discussed this story – of which I’m very proud – in “Touching Base” a short journal entry posted on 16 April.

In the meantime, I asked a few friends to read “Lifetime” for me, to give me their opinions on it, and this is some of what they had to say:

“Lifetime is… magical. It’s really amazing, I enjoyed every second. It’s wow!” – Anya Louw.

“You went dark on this one! No mistakes found. It is perfect. Very good story, well done!” – Wendy K. Engela (yes, she’s my wife, LOL).

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been collecting submissions for an anthology of horror short stories on behalf of Moon Books Publishing, an anthology for which I am the editor. “Lifetime” will be my own contribution to “Moon Books Horror Anthology #5”.

Thus far I have four other submissions and the word count total comes to 51,898. Naturally I will need to hit around 60,000 words before the book can be considered long enough – so if you have any suitable short stories you’d like to submit, please read here for guidelines (keep in mind the genre is horror and there is no payment for accepted submissions).

In the meantime I’ve started work on a new story – which I’ve decided will be a horror. This time it will be a “proper” horror – set in the present day… and no, you’re probably going to be relieved to hear it doesn’t involve any plagues or pandemics at all! Ugh! I’m so sick of hearing about COVID-fucking-19 already – aren’t you? Anyway, I’ve already put a lot of research into this one, and I already have a pretty advanced idea of the story and its plot. Currently I’m developing the characters, and should be starting the writing pretty soon – that’s the fun part! Sometime in the future I’ll let y’all know what the title and plot are! *wink*

Publishing

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

 

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Lulu Loses The Plot

Change is inevitable, as the saying goes – but change simply or change’s sake is a real pain in my ass! This past week, Lulu.com – a platform I’ve been using for 15 years of self-publishing – performed a major rebuild of their entire site. In the process, they have not only updated and modernized the appearance of their website and the way in which they display the books being sold from their platform, but also completely cocked up the whole works from the inside!

Not only was I unable to log in to my account for several days, but when I was finally able to – after contacting their help desk – I was in for a bigger shock! Not only were all the controls and dashboards completely different, but most of EVERYTHING I had grown accustomed to using over the last 15 years was either missing, absent, relocated or hidden! They updated the projects display listing to include the book covers for each book I have published with them – except these were all missing and only showed empty placeholders with their filenames in place.

Most distressing of all, I couldn’t find any sign of any of the controls I used to publish new titles, or to update published ones, or to change settings, or to update my sales page – and disastrously – there was not a trace of ANY of my past sales through Lulu! My entire database appears to have been wiped clean – along with the few dollars I’d accumulated over the past month! Every sale I’ve ever made through Lulu’s network (including Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple etc, etc.) deleted – up to and including the last month! Blank! Wiped out! Gone!

I sent the Lulu help desk another distressed email on Thursday – which they have yet to reply to.

The worst part is, that even if they restore my database and earnings, it seems I will have to learn a whole new system on Lulu in order to go on publishing and managing titles there.

I had the task of publishing a title on the previous arrangement down to about 15 minutes or less – it was so basic and simple, that I even included it in my book about self-publishing… which is kinda pointless now, isn’t it – since it all looks different? They’ve basically just made more damn work for me! Didn’t anyone ever tell them “if it ain’t broke, don’t fucking fix it”?

Why did you do that, Lulu? Why? WHY?

I agree the user interface for buyers and readers was dated and needed improvement – but why the living FUCK did they feel they needed to rip the guts out of the whole machine behind the curtains, and throw out or hide half the fixtures and furnishings – and without the courtesy of first even consulting with the writers they claim to support??

If I sound angry, it’s because I am – angry and frustrated. Lulu’s always been my home-base – my fail-safe go-to for self-publishing since 2005! This has me so upset, that I’ve decided if they do not restore my database and revenue earnings – pitiful as they may be, I’ll be taking my eBook titles elsewhere. In fact, if I don’t like their new interface while attempting to publish my next title, I might just do that anyway.

Audiobooks

As I mentioned in my post “Coming Soon! “Blachart” – the Audiobook!” I am currently still eagerly awaiting the release of my first audiobook title! I will announce it as soon as it comes out!

Reviews

Life Signs” received a glowing mention from UK writer and reviewer Lee Hall on April 06!

“Next up is a regular name who appears in the reviews here because Christina Engela has done it again with her immersive brand of space sci-fi.

The Panic! Horror in Space series presents ‘Life Signs’ and my recent review headline reads ‘A trio of enjoyable sci-fi tales filled with mystery, fun and revelations…’

This is the second entry of Engela’s series which I am gradually working my way through. In these distracting times, stories like this are easy to read and are light on the mind while also being enough to whisk you away for a while. I urge you to check out these books along with her many other books which I have reviewed here in the past year (the Quantum series comes to mind…)” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, April 06, 2020.

This review follows on to his previous review of the book on March 18.

Follow Lee and his activities on Twitter.

You can also see all my previous reviews here.

Currently Available Titles

I now have 29 unique titles available in 4 series (not including the 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.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ISOLATION SALE UP TO 31 MAY AND GET ALL MY BOOKS FOR UP TO 60% OFF!

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!

Interactions

  • Fan Mail, Reviews & Honorable Mentions

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’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!

Remember to stay home, observe all necessary precautions, and stay safe!

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.

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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2020.

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