Another Round At The Crow Bar #47 November 2020

Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 47th newsletter – November 2020!

On A Personal Note

In September I handled the move of my author website from WordPress.com to its new hosting service, and that process – although rewarding, hasn’t been without negative side-effects. While the majority of the changes due to the move have been improvements, and provide prospects of expansion and detail changes that weren’t possible before, the one big drawback was that in terms of my pre-existing group of “followers” subscribers on WordPress, the new site is essentially starting over from zero! 🙁

I’m not happy about that of course, since I’d had the original site (hosted by WordPress itself) since 2009, and I’d already built up a good number of followers there, who received copies of any posts I made in their email… and unlike media, posts and pages, I was unable to migrate followers to the new site. Apparently you need to have a really expensive business package with them FIRST before they will migrate followers for you to a new site! Instead, I’ve resorted to changing the landing page of the old website to inform visitors that the site has been archived with a request to visit my new site and to subscribe to it as well.

Sadly, though still in a complimentary fashion, the old site continues to receive a number of visitors – and even the odd new follower every now and then. I’ve been working to redirect all existing external links to the old ‘.wordpress.com’ site to the ‘.com’ site instead.

If you’re reading this newsletter, I’d like to invite you to visit the new site, and to subscribe to the feed! 🙂

Further afield, website shenanigans aside, in mid-October I submitted two of my short stories to various international anthologies – I’ll update you on whether to expect two new additions to my bibliography listing – or rejection letters, as soon as I know.

I finally got fed-up with and unsubscribed from Help-U-Publish Afrika – a local author ‘support’ service who, for months since I signed up, has been sending me pointless weekly newsletters advertising writing and submissions opportunities for South African writers… with the usual exceptions: you needn’t bother submitting if you’re white or colored or Indian etc. – just if you’re “African”.

It seems that as a light-skinned South African I’m simply not considered a South African enough or at all, since the publishing industry here appears to be habitually kowtowing to our government’s irrational, malicious and blatantly racist “BEEE” policy of exclusion, by broadly excluding people from submitting to anthologies or to offers to publish based on their race! Here, if you’re not “African” or a political journalist writing an expose’ or a religious nut peddling ‘inspirational Christian’ material, they’re generally not interested.

And along I come with series of sci-fi horror! Haha! What d’you think my chances are? 😉

Unlike in most other English-speaking countries, South African publishers apparently fail to also offer the expected usual alternatives which are open to all writers across the board, with specific mention of women and the LGBT community – they offer extremely limited opportunities only, focusing on a narrow field – and to hell with the rest! But paradoxically, race doesn’t seem to matter at all when it comes to taxation – and my tax money is always good enough, regardless of what race they classify me as! Isn’t that nice? Together with government, they obstruct every conceivable avenue for me to get ahead as a writer in South Africa and litter it with obstacles, quotas and underhanded tactics, but the government has no objection profiteering – yes, profiteering – off what little income I can generate as a writer in spite of their obstructionism… And people wonder why I took the path of an indie writer, self-publishing via foreign channels! If I’d opted to wait for a South African publisher to take on any of my books, that would be a wait that would never end!

Further afield, on a more positive and cheerful note, I created a new website on the 29th – actually operating off a sub-domain of ChristinaEngela.com – called Innovation DIY, where I can showcase some of my DIY projects! I’ve made a lot of stuff over the years, and over the last weekend I already put up quite a few – pop along and have a look! I’m quite excited about that, and hope that people enjoy it while also (of course!) directing increased traffic to my author website!

Blah. Anyway, moving on, let’s take a look at the usual list of goodies!

Art

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

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!

DIY Projects

Innovation DIY is where I showcase some of my DIY projects! Pop along and have a look!

Activism

For those of you interested in my activism-related posts and activities, you can follow them at “Sour Grapes: The Fruit Of Ignorance“, where you can view my activism-related (human rights, eco and animal rights) articles and books from 2009 onward. SGTFOI details “The thoughts and experiences of an author and human rights activist”.

Current Writing Projects 

In the past few weeks I’ve been mostly editing, but I did manage to finish a new short story called “The Day The Sun Went Out”. What’s it about? Well, one day the world wakes up to the startling realization that the Sun has set, and didn’t rise again. Where did it go? And what can they do to stop the world from freezing up in one giant extinction level event? And what, if anything, happens after? You’ll have to read it to see how that turns out – and I’ll let you know when or where it becomes available!

Editing

I’ve recently started offering my editing services on a freelance basis to interested parties. More about that here. Current editing assignment: “The Darkness Within Me” by Anya Louw.

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. I aim to release new versions of this item periodically, so keep your eyes open for updates!

Box Sets

For your convenience, I now have three different box sets of my eBooks available – one each for the Galaxii Series, Quantum Series, and Panic! Horror In Space! Having the freedom to sell my work directly from my website has some definite advantages – one of them being that I can create bundles or box sets of my works!

You can view them by clicking on the cover images, or by visiting the Shop page. There are advantages to buying a box set of eBooks as opposed to buying the eBooks in my series individually – they’re cheaper! The cost of each box set is 10% less than buying the individual eBooks which make it up, separately! All three books in the Galaxii Series (at $2 each) would add up to $6 – while the Galaxii Series Virtual Box Set comes to $5! Likewise, the Panic Series Virtual Box Set also comes to $5 – while the six-titled Quantum Series Virtual Box Set – instead of $12, is available at $10!

Once you’ve completed the checkout process, your will be able to download all the eBooks in that box set directly from the checkout page, or from the links in the email that will be automatically sent to you! I hope you’ll enjoy these! I have plans for more! Meanwhile, happy reading!

Videos

I’ve nothing new to show you here this time, but feel free to browse through the videos on my YouTube video channel!

Sales

It sometimes helps to complain – and in the case of my sales and royalties at one of my sales platforms, who for the time being shall remain nameless, the dashboard reported a good number of sales between my previous payout from them last year in September and now… but reflected only an income of $0.73! For an entire year??? With multiple sales for paid titles??? I contacted their enquiry desk and state my case politely, with supporting screenshots showing the paradoxical stats. Later the same day, they came back to tell me I was quite correct, something was wrong with that picture! Instead of being due 73 cents, I’m due $13,36! In the end though, for reasons unknown, they finally paid me out $10.99. Of course that’s not much, not even in Rands these days, but every little bit helps… and it is four times as much as my first payment they sent me last year.

Just as a point of interest I should mention that since I started providing an editing service in July 2020, I’ve already earned almost a third more than my sales takings for the entire year 2020 – which is more impressive if you consider that my sales for this year are already more than double last years. Of course, the down-side is that as hard as I’ve been marketing my own books, the sales are still disappointingly low and brought in less than three-quarters of what I made from editing other people’s work!

I will of course, remain ever optimistic and hopeful that 2021 will be a better year.

Publishing

These are the books I’ve released so far this year!

Between January and September 2020 I released eight new titles! Of these, two – “Duck Blind” and “The Next Room” have been replaced by one combined title, “Mirror, Mirror” which consists of both of them. Of course, this reduces my count back to 28 again – but when you already have 30 or so books to your name, what’s one here or there?

New Releases:

I’ve nothing new to show you here this time!

Audiobooks

Coming Soon

In the meantime, here’s a look at the covers for hot new audiobooks currently in the pipeline:

Stay tuned for updates!

Reviews

I have two items to show you in this section this time… and you know it made an impression when they’re still talking about it six months or a year or two years later! 😉

Spooky Season Book Recommendations by Lee Hall, October 19, 2020.

It’s the season of spooky and what better way to celebrate the nights drawing in and those leaves falling than to read a Hallow-tastic book. Here at the Hall of Information we love a thrilling and chilling reading experience so here’s a run down of some recommendations perfect for the season…

‘In space, not all things are certain… not even death’

Space and horror, simultaneously they are right up my alley and back in 2018 Christina Engela made history by being the first ever author to approach the Hall of Information for a book review. Of course we obliged and the journey of discovery began.

Imagine ‘Alien’ and ‘Event Horizon’ combined with Engela’s immersive writing style and you have the tale of the I.S.S. Mordrake; a ship seemingly stranded and damaged beyond repair in the furthest reaches of space and then it begins… They run into another ship that appears abandoned and just floating there. What unfolds is a tale of mystery and suspense. Check out my full review here and this book is part of the wider ‘Galaxii’ series which I plan on reading more of soon! [read more]” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer in “Spooky Season Book Recommendations” Oct 19, 2020.

Page turning space sci-fi full of chills and fun from beginning to end…‘

“I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy space science fiction quite a lot and my go-to author of that genre is Christina Engela who once again provides another awesome series but this one contains some chilling but fun spills that begins with ‘Static’. The ‘Panic! Horror in Space’ series is well worth a look for some awesome Halloween spooky goodness.” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer in “Spooky Season Book Recommendations 2“, Oct 26 2020.

You can see all my previous reviews here.

Currently Available Titles

I now have 30 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 previous newsletter:

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

Interactions

  • Fan Mail, Reader Reviews & Honorable Mentions

I have the following awesome items to show you this month!

    1. “The best editing is an art form read rather than seen. Editors must keep an eye towards correctness while enhancing and maintaining the style and feeling the author is striving to express. On the worrisome side of editing, there are those who mangle a malign characters or compromise the entire focus of the story (been there, experienced that). While my experience with Christina Engela is limited, I found her standards and sense of style refreshing. I submitted my stories to her with the usual sense of fear and foreboding, but I was in for a big surprise! When she returned my edited material, she included notes with various suggestions to improve my story. While our styles are different, she ‘got it’! I was shown mistakes that I’d clearly missed, while she also encouraged me to be a better writer – which ought to be the resultant outcome of working with any editor.” – H.G. Emert – author of ‘Conversation With A Dead Man’ and ‘Exile Recalled’, October 01, 2020.
    2. Excellent Series! “This is an action packed sci-fi tale. The writing and narration are both expertly done. I’m looking forward to the next book.” – D. Sturgeon, 5 stars, October 05, 2020 on Audible.
    3. “Christina did a fabulous job editing my manuscript and she was quick too! I feel much more confident having her on my team, and I’m thankful for her time and effort.” – Jennifer Lopez, author of “Why I Cried: Tales from Hysterical Pregnant Women” (October 16, 2020).
    4. On 19 October, Lee Hall who did a review on “Demonspawn” back in 2018 posted an article called “Spooky Season Book Recommendations” in which the lead title was – you guessed it, “Demonspawn”! As I jokingly said – while being extremely flattered and grateful of course – ‘you know it made an impression when they’re still talking about it 2 years later!’ Lee also mentioned the detail that I happened to be the very first writer to approach him to do a book review – which I had no idea of course! Thanks Lee, for all you do to help writers get ahead in this game! <3

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 have the following awesome items to show you this month!

Haha – gotcha! I haven’t received any hate mail this month – wonder what I’ve done wrong? Perhaps I need new haters?

  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!
  1. Interviews

  1. 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.

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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2020.

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