Hello friends and fans!
Welcome to my 16th newsletter: April 2018! Coming up in this edition of Another Round @ The Crow Bar:
Regular updates, new releases, and a monthly spotlight on one of my books, this time “Panic! Horror In Space #3”, book 3 in the Panic! Horror In Space Series!
Looking back at the month behind, March, I wonder how we got everything done! Our handfasting was on the 10th, and what a lovely occasion it was. If you’d like to read more about that, and look at the pictures and videos, please visit Our Handfasting – March 10, 2018.
As I told you all previously, I’ve been busy with some of my dad’s books. My dad, Theo Engela, left a couple of unpublished works lying about when he punched out 33 years ago. I’ve been keeping a promise I made to my Dad many years ago – that I would one day publish his three novels. I have been working hard to keep that promise, and have taken off the last few months from my own writing to do so – his collection of short stories “African Assignment“, and his third and last novel “Shakandazu Valley” as well as his very first novel, “A Way Of Life” have already been published. Over the next few weeks I hope to release “Only Yesterday” as well, completing his line-up of writing, with the only outstanding items being a couple of poems he wrote – but not enough to fill an entire book by themselves.
I may not have mentioned it before, by my mother (Yvonne Engela) was also a talented writer/poet in her own right. I’ve been digitizing, editing and formatting a ton of hand-written poems in English and Afrikaans, and hope to have the first volume (“Op Vreemde Weë“) released soon.
Hopefully, once my conscience has been satisfied, I will then be able to carry on working on my own writing projects again.
But before I waffle on too much, let’s get on with the newsletter! 🙂
For the time being, I’ve been publishing (and re-releasing) a number of works by my dad as well as several earlier releases of my own:
On March 16, 2018, “Bugspray” was re-released in its third edition since 2006, via Lulu.com.
“This is not your standard ‘How to restore your VW Beetle’ book. It’s also not a workshop manual. Aside from a basic rundown on the differences between various bug models through the years, there is a section on some things you can do to preserve your bug. Mostly however, what I’ve done is reviewed all the things I did to my bugs and put those ideas together as cheap, skillful, cheap, d.i.y, cheap means of enhancing your grocery getter’s performance and handling.
Dollying the rest up is your baby. (Btw, did I mention it’s cheap?) Most of the procedures described can be done by virtually anyone with the parts currently residing on their drive-to-work banger. The rest are low-budget (cheap!) and can be carried out with household or garage tools. All of these are things that I did to one or more of the Beetles I’ve had.
Oh – and the pictures are nice too!”
Don’t Get Left In The Dark
Finally, after more than a year, this book is available! Originally released as a shorter pdf entitled “How I Built My Home UPS (& How You Can Too)!”, this item was enlarged and added to, updated, and repackaged as an EPUB file.
The title was changed because the publishing software had issues with the title, or the capitalization thereof – the mind boggles! It was released on March 16, 2018 via Lulu.
“This booklet will explain how I built my own UPS system at home – and how you can too – to become more self-sufficient – at least to the point where you can have lights and basic appliances during those hours when ‘ASSKOM’ (or your power company) goes on strike!”
“I have built a home UPS pretty much on the cheap, with the most expensive items so far being the generator (R2600 on a special) and the two batteries at R699 for the first one and R660 for the second one (both being ‘seconds’ ie ‘scratch discounts’). The rest was only sundries – light switches, plugs that I had lying round the house, a few plug boxes and rolls of cable – which aren’t cheap by any means these days, but still it wasn’t a killer.”
Includes photos, illustrations and several diagrams.
Shakandazu Valley by Theo Engela
I truly enjoyed reading and editing this story, and if you’re interested in a little fictional, philosophical look at life in this setting, with oodles of symbolism and hidden meanings, I can happily recommend this book. It was released on March 17, 2018 via Lulu.
“Shakandazu Valley, a typical small rural town in the Ciskei, ruled over by the Inkosi from the grand mansion called The Residence, attention is diverted from the boredom of daily life and the pressure of the severe drought by various pursuits: movies, parties, socializing, drinking – and speculating about one of the Valley’s newest and most mysterious residents – Roger Hall.
The man had simply turned up one day three years before, bought the old bungalow at the end of Buku Road – paid for it in cash, and then kept to himself. The only times he seemed to venture into town was to buy copious amounts of alcohol from the liquor store every few weeks. Sometimes he briefly showed his face at happenings hosted by curious locals. He never spoke about his past.
Who was he? Where did he come from? How did he come to have so much money readily on hand? Why did he never want to talk about his past – not even to the Doctor, or Mr. Gaika, his closest friends in town?
African Assignment by Theo Engela
Another re-release on March 19, 2018 – a collection of short stories by my father, Theo Engela, edited by me. Previously published by myself (2007), then by J. Ellington Ashton (2015), and later by LightBearer Publishing (2016), the fifth edition is now available via Lulu.com.
“Theo Engela’s short stories were written during the 1950’s and 60’s, and set in the South African bushveld and society of the day, providing a fresh look at a world now long vanished. Using imagery and place names unfamiliar to folk living in the 21st century, the author shows us a simpler, less complicated world filled with wonder and mystery, where crime could still be perfect and the world lived fearfully under the ever-present threat of the Cold War. Mesmerizing African folklore and almost-vanished cultures stand side by side. Rounded off in his own unique style, he displays a biting sense of humor and irony in his work, which would probably not seem out of place in a Hitchcock serial or even in the Twilight Zone.”
All stories except “Under A Sickle Moon” were dramatized for Springbok Radio during the 1960’s and repeated through to the 1970’s. (Springbok Radio was closed down in 1985).
A Way Of Life by Theo Engela
Written in 1965, “A Way Of Life” was never published. It was my Dad’s first novel, and it focuses on alcoholism and the struggle of the main character with it. The story is brilliantly written, and describes this way of life with dramatic and upsetting realism, for the alcoholic and those who love them. It was released on April 02, 2018 via Lulu.com.
“Not until he had almost finished the piece did it suddenly strike Louis that Beethoven could not have written Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody! What the hell was happening to him? Was he losing his mind? Damn Liszt, damn Beethoven… Damn everybody! He broke off abruptly and slammed a discord with all his strength, a very bizarre ending to the Hungarian Rhapsody. Then he picked up the bottle and drank with greedy abandon.
Louis van Pletten was a successful young writer once. With two novels to his name in his early twenties and more talent than you could shake a stick at – he excelled in music, writing, art, philosophy – anything it seemed he set his mind to. But then, cruel Fate took his infant son and his beloved Sandra from him… and that’s really when Louis’ life first began to fall apart.
Then he met Boris Lessing, an older man with a taste for adventure and a hunger for the Truth. Louis toured the whole of Southern Africa with Boris in their search for meaning. One day, somewhere in the open spaces of South Africa – under a giant bluegum tree, they had a shared epiphany that was supposed to change their lives for the better.
Boris went home to paint again, and almost overnight became a popular and wealthy artist. Louis went home to write his third book.
What lay behind this longing, this loneliness, this restlessness, what had been the secret of the Conference Tree – the secret that had saved Boris just as it had eluded him?
Now Louis van Pletten is 45 years old and still struggling to complete his third book, his Great Masterpiece, his magnum opus. Trouble is, at over 300 pages, it’s morbid, dark as hell and as full of utter misery and self-loathing as he is. He can barely stand to read it himself. He should burn it, but it’s taken him three years to write the damn thing… and he has no spark left to start over – and just enough money left to last him three more months. He lies to himself all the time; he can stop drinking any time he wants to, it’s his business anyway… friendship doesn’t matter, even love and life don’t matter – oh, why can’t people leave him be? Especially Bernice? The truth is, he really can’t live without alcohol… he’s tried. He lives from one sip to the next, and it’s become a way of life. And it’s killing him.
Alcoholism is a creeping, crippling tragedy that affects the lives of millions. It’s irrevocably affected the lives of Louis van Pletten, Boris Lessing and Bernice Collet.
Theo Engela’s first novel focuses on alcoholism and the struggle of the main character with it. The story is brilliantly written, and describes this way of life with dramatic and upsetting realism, for the alcoholic and those nearest them.”
Currently Available Titles:
The Galaxii Series
The Quantum Series
About The Quantum Series will give you more background about the series, its settings and characters. To get a better idea of what the latest two titles are about, read What Readers Can Expect In “Prodigal Sun”, “High Steaks”, “Fortitude” & “The Last Hurrah”.
Work on the next four titles in this series, (“Underground Movement”, “Moon Jockeys”, “Fortitude” and “The Last Hurrah”) is still pending at this time.
Panic! Horror In Space
Panic! is a sci-fi/horror series, which will have some decidedly sci-fi characters encountering some decidedly horror entities – ghosts, haunted objects, zombies, etc. along with my usual twisted brand of humor! The first three titles are available in paperback and eBook versions on various distribution platforms including Amazon and Lulu.
On A Personal Note
- Fan Mail & Honorable Mentions
Noticed in the past month by my shiny new wife and PA, Wendy K. Engela, ( 😉 )were the following honorable mentions:
- On 17 December last year, this little exchange took place on one of my posts where I shared some of my illustrations from the Panic! series.
- The following is a message on Facebook from Peter A du Plessis congratulating us on our wedding on the 11th of March:
- Bobbie Jo Justice, a human rights activist, left me a review of “Other Kids Are Kids Almost Just Like You” on Amazon.
I display my Fan Mail & Compliments with pride, gratitude and humility. You are always welcome to have a look.
- Hate Mail & Horrible Mentions
February was rather quiet on the hate mail front. I’m almost sad to say I have nothing new to show you this time! (I may have something to show you next time though!)
(I’m rather proud of my hate mail, and you can review it here – but be forewarned, don’t do it while eating or drinking or you might choke while laughing!)
Monthly Book Spotlight [Spoiler Alert]: “Panic! Horror In Space #3“
This is the third title in Panic! Horror In Space, a new sci-fi horror series by Christina Engela. To read more about the settings and characters of this series, visit About Panic! Horror In Space and Characters & Plot Devices.
[UPDATE 20190825 – in 2019, volumes #1 and 2 were combined into “Static“, and volume #3 and “Lange’s Legacy” (formerly “Space Vacation”) were combined into “Life Signs” – both became the new volumes 1 and 2 in Panic.]
‘It’s a funny old ‘verse,’ Stuart Flane – Captain of the Terran starship Mercury, thought. Most people who found out a cursed object was responsible for the untimely messy – and unavoidably mysterious deaths of 13 people, would steer the hell clear of it… but for some weird reason, some people seemed to think that owning it was a smart move – or that it would end well for them! Unfortunately for Flane and his intrepid crew, their latest assignment – being sent to relieve a terraforming plant on Atooin of such a cursed object – things did not go without a hitch – but then, the thing was called ‘the Jug of Death‘, and obviously with good reason…”
Well, that’s all, folks! 🙂
Thanks again for all your support, friendship and interaction! Until next time, keep reading!
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