Another Round @ The Crow Bar #19 July 2018

Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 19th newsletter: July 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, the new release of “Demonspawn“.


It’s hard to believe how quickly this year has been passing – here we are in July already, and I still have so much to do! June was a pretty hectic month for me, filled with activities not necessarily related to my writing. MoboReader, a Chinese company that deals with ebook distribution, approached me with a request to list my e-titles towards the end of June. I agreed, and signed a contract with them. This should expand my reach somewhat, and I’m curious to see what effect this will have on my sales.

In the meantime, since publishing the new, revamped version of “Dead Beckoning“, I’ve been working on the long-awaited fourth title in the Galaxii Series, “Lange’s Legacy”. This book is already complete and ready for publishing – complete with brand new illustrations, and I’m also busy with a book trailer video for that book at the moment. This book should be released soon, but not in time for this newsletter unfortunately – so stay tuned for updates on that front.

This time, under new releases, I’ll be telling you about “Dead Beckoning”, “The Galaxii Omnibus 1 – Into The Abyss”.

On with the show!

New Releases

Dead Beckoning

Released on June 12, book 3 in the Galaxii Series, having just undergone the same treatment as the previous two titles, “Dead Beckoning” is now over 50,000 words long, containing a mass of extra more in-depth material, and illustrations!


  • Published: Second Edition, June 12, 2018
  • Pages: 158
  • Words: 51,980 (Flowing Text eBook)
  • Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
  • Dimensions (inches): 6×9″ tall (US Trade)

Enjoy the brand new book trailer video below:

Galaxii – Into The Abyss 

Blachart, Demonspawn and Dead Beckoning.

Contains he first three stories in the Galaxii Series in one big volume! 

Released originally in 2017.

This omnibus contains the previous versions of these three stories.

The re-release contains the new updated versions completed with illustrations and extra material.

The new version is also re-titled and re-covered to match the cover you see to the left!

Out of print.

No longer available

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.

For Children


Edited By Christina Engela

Afrikaans Titles

Some of my titles have been translated into Afrikaans – but as you could imagine, it’s a full-time job – and when you use translation software “sickbay” comes out as “Telaxian stoofpot” instead of  “siekeboeg” – so you could imagine!

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:

  1. Reader and fan, Anya Louw sent me a lovely note about “Dead Beckoning” on the 19th of June:
  2. On June 13, MoboReader asked to feature my books on their platform, and I agreed! The books are already available from there!

I display my Fan Mail & Compliments with pride, gratitude and humility. You are always welcome to have a look.

  • Hate Mail & Horrible Mentions

The past month was (another) rather quiet on the hate mail front. (What am I doing wrong?) I’m 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 at it!)

  • Interviews

If you would like to do an interview with me about my works, please do get in touch!

  • New Videos

Have a look at my videos on my Video Channel. The newly updated and totally revamped book trailers for Blachart and Demonspawn are there too!

  • New Listings

As you can see below, my books now seem to be listed just about everywhere!

CHRISTINA WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! A few nice words go a long way! Please leave your REVIEWS on Academia.eduAmazon, AnobiiApple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Bol, Book Depository, Dilmot eBookMall, FictionDB, Fnac, Foyles, Goodreads!Indigo, Kobo , Lulu, Lybrary, MoboReaderNook, Smashwords, Takealot, 24 Symbols – or wherever you see Christina’s books – or just send her an email via the Contact form!

Support The Author

Although most titles listed are available in paperback and/or ebook formats through most online retailers internationally, Christina prefers readers make their purchases via Lulu. This is because while all retailers charge the same price to YOU the reader, Lulu gives the author the largest portion of the proceeds from your purchase.

Monthly Book Spotlight [Spoiler Alert]: “Demonspawn

“The I.S.S. Mordrake is in serious trouble – after a skirmish with a Corsair marauder,  she is stranded in deep space far from regular shipping routes – and death appears certain.

…but in space, not all things are certain, not even death.

At first the discovery of the derelict alien ship is an interesting diversion from the reality of their predicament. After all, it’s far better to explore the wreck in search of some kind of replacement part that could be adapted to repair the engines of the ship, than the alternative – which is to sit and wait for death by hypoxia from creeping cold as the emergency batteries are slowly drained… or, by something else…

Now the crew of the starship Mordrake has to face the terror and solve the ancient riddle of the Akx. Or suffer the same fate as its long dead crew.

Quite simply, Christina Engela is one of the best voices in sci-fi right now and to not read her work would be to miss a treat!” – Mark Woods, author of Time of Tides and Fear of the Dark.

CHRISTINA WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! A few nice words go a long way! Please leave your REVIEWS on Amazon, AnobiiApple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Bol, Book Depository, eBookMall, FictionDB, Fnac, Foyles, Goodreads!Indigo, Kobo , Lulu, Lybrary, Nook, Smashwords, Takealot, 24 Symbols – or wherever you see Christina’s books – or just send her an email via the Contact form!


[Spoiler Alert]

The second title in the Galaxii Series, “Demonspawn” centers on a star ship crew in a seemingly hopeless situation. In book 2, a starship crew faces imminent death due to a poor decision to battle a ready foe.

Adrift and stranded in deep space with no hope of rescue, the I.S.S. Mordrake has six month’s worth of food on board, but less than two weeks of air, and things look pretty grim. Morale, although low before the incident that resulted in their present predicament, is at an all-time low. The ship is not the only thing breaking down however, and pretty soon Commander Joe Lofflin – who has perpetually faced a degree of scorn from his crew because of his sexual orientation and faces a daily struggle to control his romantic attraction to a junior crewman almost half his age – takes on the roll of acting-Captain after the untimely death of Captain Blaine, and must deal with solving a murder on top of everything else!

As if there is not enough on his plate already, just as things are looking hopeless beyond the pale, something dark and mysterious drifts into their path! An ancient derelict ship of alien origins presents an all-too convenient and timely solution to their problem, offering the desperate castaways the spare parts they need to repair their ship. Just when they think they’ve found salvation in the form of a salvage ship they hope to strip for parts – things go from bad to worse.

In the midst of conducting an investigation into the murder of Captain Blaine, in an atmosphere where nobody is above suspicion and each senior officer has reason to suspect every other senior officer, the survivors of the Mordrake actually do find usable parts on board the derelict. In a difficult to reach part of the long dead alien ship – with the only way in or out littered with the dry and dusty remains of the long-dead alien crew – lies the answer to their problem. And much more than they expected. Just when things start to look hopeful again, one by one, the salvage team members begin to experience mysterious accidents… Gradually, it becomes apparent that ‘accident’ is not even remotely accurate.

In order for them all to survive, the crew of the Mordrake must work together – even though any one of them could be the cold-blooded killer who murdered the Mordrake’s Captain. The parts required to repair their own vessel must be retrieved by any means necessary – no matter what it was on board the derelict ship that seemed to want to keep them there!

This is a story of survival and the fight to survive. It’s also a tale that encourages people to look at life in perspective. The challenge of coming out or admitting to a love-interest that there is an attraction is compared to the challenge of surviving combat and facing the unknown, alone in the dark.

Replete with dark, deserted and spooky corridors, a few ghosts, aliens and robotics, a horror stalking its victims in the dark, lasers, explosions, dead bodies and a murder mystery thrown in, this story pretty much has it all!

The History of “Demonspawn”

Although the first two stories in The Galaxii Series run in sequence (“Blachart” is book 1 and “Demonspawn” is book 2 in the series) both stories occur more or less simultaneously.

Both tell the stories of imperial starships on the hunt for Corsair ships, with “Blachart” focusing on the crew of the ISS Antares tracking down the Corsair base – which would result in the first mass military action by Terran forces since the end of the Gimp War – while “Demonspawn” tells the tale of another starship (ISS Mordrake) which is severely damaged in a skirmish with a Corsair ship and becomes stranded in deep space with little hope of rescue.

Following the discovery and infiltration of Meradinis by the crew of the imperial star ship Antares, the assembled might of the Terran Space Fleet descends upon the Corsair planet. The Battle of Turtle Island rages in orbit over Meradinis, resulting in the absolute destruction of the Corsair fleet – ending the Corsair menace for all time. It takes imperial forces eight months to bring Meradinis completely under Terran control, with the intention of rehabilitating Meradinis and its population and eventually re-integrating them into Terran society. This of course, leads us up to “Dead Beckoning“, the third book in the Galaxii Series, in which the crews of both ships feature strongly.

Demonspawn is currently on its fifth edition, newly extended and full of extra material. The ebook editions have color illustrations and photos in them.

I started working on the foundations of what would become this story when I started high school in 1986. Back then, it was called “The Red Star”, and it featured the some of the same characters, and the story plot was unrecognizable. By 1988, the basic plot had evolved into the story of a starship that encountered an alien derelict ship lost in space, but there was still a long way to go. By 2005 though, the first edition of Demonspawn made its debut on In 2007, I redesigned the cover.

DS Demonspawn - small

In September 2014 I finally got a contract with what I thought was a “traditional publisher“, which although it was not one of those printing companies that expect you to pay ridiculous sums to just to have them print your books, more money to design covers, edit the content, and leave you to market the things for yourself – or charge you even more money to do that… left me disappointed and frustrated. They insisted that they wanted the entire Galaxii Series, which then included seven novels and one collection of short stories, and so I took these all down from my website – but the company only ever re-published two of those – Blachart and Demonspawn.

When I was picked up by a so-called ‘traditional publisher’ in 2014, Demonspawn was the second book they re-released with a new cover created by one of their staff. By the time it was released in 2015, Blachart was around 38,600 words long! Apparently that’s not very long by today’s standards, but to put it into perspective, most novels by the great Terry Pratchett are only around 50,000 words long – and I always felt that if it was good enough for him, it was good enough for me! That aside, if a story can be told well in whatever space of words, then that should be good enough too.

But as I do so often, I digress; By 2016 though, things had changed. The publisher abandoned all its ‘non-purist’ horror writers and cut us all loose, so I went back to indie-publishing again. By July 2016, I republished the Fourth Edition of Demonspawn on

Since 2016, when I went indie again, I’d been working on later books and new projects. Since finishing editing and publishing of most of my parent’s works in early 2018, I took a look at the channels through which my books have been distributed – and decided that I should also place my titles at Smashwords to gain access to their distribution network also.

Smashwords have different publishing formatting requirements to Lulu, and and so, while I was busy releasing “Blachart” via Smashwords, I discovered that I had to reformat the entire manuscript to meet their technical specifications! It looked daunting at first, but I’m a quick study and in the end it wasn’t as hard as I initially thought.

While I was at it (the most dangerous words known to humanity) I spotted a couple of editing errors left over from my “traditional” publishing days, and set off to check the whole manuscript for more. This sparked off another edit, and then I added a little bit here, and a little bit there… and before I realized it, a drastic complete rewrite was underway!

I evaluated each sentence. I added a stack of more material… back-stories and extras that would enrich and enhance the overall experience of what I had envisioned as the Galaxii Series! Two weeks later, the Smashwords Edition of Blachart was finished! Then I designed a fantastic new cover which would also form the basis of a template for the entire Galaxii Series. I also decided to include some illustrations in the book (ebook form) to make it more attractive. I’m pretty sure I succeeded!

I then went ahead doing the same thing to “Demonspawn“.


Something’s waiting in the dark…
“Engela proves she is the newest, best voice in sci-fi with this second volume in her Galaxii series set in the furthest reaches of deep space.

On an Imperial ship, damaged in a battle with corsairs and now floating adrift, tensions begin to rise as the crew slowly begin to realise that they are all about to die. The captain, unable to accept that the current situation they find themselves in is all his fault, sits in his cabin getting drunk when he is confronted by a killer.

And it is in this moment that a small sliver of hope appears.

An alien ship, abandoned in an asteroid field, provides their only hope of salvation but going aboard, the crew soon discover there is a reason why the ship is empty.

Everyone onboard has been slaughtered.

With no other choice, the crew begin the slow process of cannibalising the alien ship for parts, all the time only too aware that there is not just a killer in their midst but also on this abandoned alien ship as well.

As more and more people begin to die, it becomes a race against time – can the crew get the parts they need and get out of there before it is too late? And even if they do, will they still be safe even then?

This book is an awesome read and one that comes across as a mash-up of such films as Alien, Hardware, and Event Horizon.

If this makes the book sound like it is derivative, fear not!

Christina Engela has a unique and brilliant voice that helps make this story her own as she slowly builds the tension to a shocking and tense climax.

Quite simply, Christina Engela is one of the best voices in sci-fi right now and to not read her work would be to miss a treat!

If you like classic space opera with an ultra-modern twist, you should check her out.
Having read previews of her forthcoming work, I can guarantee you the best is yet to come…” – Mark Woods, author of ‘Time of Tides’ and ‘Fear of the Dark’.

A real page turner…

“Joe Lofflin, second in command of the Terran deep space cruiser ISS Moredrake, has to inform his crew of 226 survivors of the devastating news that they now only have a few days left to live – no thanks to the actions of their Captain, Philip Wainright Blaine.

The Mordrake was on a mission to locate the home world of their arch enemy – the Corsairs, and after suffering catastrophic damage in a battle, was now left adrift in space – helpless and marooned.

Joe also comes face to face with his own desires as he falls for one of his junior crew members – Dellon Bennett, a handsome 24 year old man in the prime of his life.

The murder of Captain Blaine sees Loffin taking charge of the ship and leading the survivors into an uncertain future. Facing not only death itself, with limited oxygen, they also have to deal with finding the murderer. But that’s not all – this human enemy is not the only adversary they will have to face. A derelict alien ship crossing their path adrift for over 6000 years offers them a tantalizing chance at life, but at greater risk.

Will the murder of Captain Blaine be solved? Will Joe Loffin’s interest in Dellon grow into something more? And will the Mordrake and its crew survive the ultimate enemy?

This Sci-fi thriller brings everything to the table, murder, suspense, action, love.

A real page turner by Christina Engela.” – Zenja Collins, Zen Entertainment

Reader’s Comments:

A knack for writing villains

“The Space Fleet ship I.S.S. Mordrake has been damaged in a confrontation with the Corsairs. The main transmuter coil has burned out and there is no replacement. They are on life support which is running on the emergency batteries and will last only a few more days. Captain Philip Blaine has been murdered and Commander Lofflin has to take over. There is no hope until they spot a derelict ship in space that could have spare parts to salvage but an ancient terror, the Akx awaits them on the ship.

Christina’s writing is lucid and while reading I found myself shifting into ‘3rd gear’, able to immerse myself, immediately grabbed by the story. I liked the way the characters were developed. The strong leadership skills of Commander Lofflin are contrasted with the complete lack of leadership in Captain Blaine. There is moreover a strong theme of ‘confronting your fears’ in this story. Commander Lofflin has to confront his fears continuously. From addressing the crew about the impeding doom, the damaged ship and failing life support systems, right up to asking a young man out for a date. On almost every page this theme is brought in and I found it tremendously interesting.

Christina seems to have a knack for writing villains. With the Akx she really raised the bar. I felt suspense filling my whole body while reading. It kept me reading up till late to find out what happens.

A clearly written sci-fi novella with an interesting theme on confronting fear. The characters are well done and a villain that will raise suspense. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.” –  Mr. Green.

Sci-fi fans will love this book

“They say in space no one can hear you scream. In Demonspawn: Galaxii Series Book 2, there are plenty of screams as a creature rips its way through the inhabitants of a spaceship. A crew member, Kaine, tries to take the creature down in one last desperate move.

Reminiscent of Alien, where a helpless crew faces an alien terror, the story drew me in and I could feel that same claustrophobic feel I got when watching the movie. I felt the characters were well developed and the story moved along at a good pace. Sci-fi fans will love this book. It is available to buy now on Amazon. Rated it 5 of 5 stars” – S.K. Gregory.

Engrossing space story

“Engrossing space story.

A crew faces imminent death due to a poor decision to battle a ready foe. Just when they think they’ve found salvation in the form of a salvage ship they hope to use for parts – things go from bad to worse. The best part about the story was the quality writing. Excellent description. Good pacing. Recommend.” – J. Hunter.

 Awesome book!!!

“Really enjoyed reading this one. I had a hard time putting it down. Every page leaves you with a burning desire to find out what happens next. The way she writes this book makes it so easy to picture the entire story in your head. Its more like watching a movie than reading a book!!” – Stephanie Bothma

A riveting blend

“A riveting blend of horror and science fiction laced generously with Ms. Engela’s trademark quirky humor.” – Alex S. Johnson

Awesome And Incredible Reads

Scott books

“Both books [‘Blachart‘ and ‘Demonspawn‘ ] were awesome and incredible reads. I couldn’t put them down. They were fantastic and I was able to get vivid mental images of the scenes as I was reading them. That’s the sign of a great author. Congratulations Christina. Your writing truly ROCKS!” – Scott M. Darrah, reader, April 10, 2016.

Author Questions:

1) The novel is built around a Gay Character – Joe Lofflin. What was your inspiration behind the character itself?

I’d previously written a gay character in my first book – which was Blachart the Corsair. That was a much more complex character, darker and fiercer than Lofflin. Blachart was also a stereotypical ‘bad guy’ who had had a very hard life and lots of negative experiences, who gradually is revealed to be not so bad, and then ultimately, just another one of the ‘good guys’. He wasn’t the main character of that story. In this story I wanted to try a completely different angle with a gay character and make him the focus of the tale.

Commander Joe Lofflin is an experienced officer in the Imperial Space Fleet, he’s popular with most of the crew, he’s got friends among the other senior officers on the ship – and as the second in command on the ship, he’s in his element. Several things happen in Demonspawn to catapult Lofflin to the center of attention – namely the untimely death of Captain Blaine, and their ship being stranded in deep space, purportedly without a hope of rescue.

I dislike it when I see LGBT people being stereotyped – or gay men being objectified and misrepresented as being ‘weak’ or ‘feminine’ just because they’re gay. Yes, there are lots of different ‘stations’ on the sexuality and gender spectrum – and I have created a lot of other characters along the LGBT spectrum in my stories – but in this particular case I wanted Lofflin to portray a masculine male whose sexuality happened to be just another facet to his character. Lofflin is just another guy doing the same kind of job done by plenty of other guys. In short, I wanted Lofflin to be a heroic gay action man, because there are so few such examples in modern media, literature and fiction!

My goal was to portray a character that most masculine people could identify with easily, while providing insight on what such a character would feel, think or do in certain circumstances. As a story teller, I wanted to add more emotional depth to the character – because nobody, not even an ‘action hero’, is as two-dimensional as all that.

Lofflin isn’t a kid. He’s an older man with experience in life as well as having been a soldier. He’s used to giving orders and running the ship and acting as a liaison between the crew and their captain. He’s also single and lonely, and very much aware that in a military environment it’s not so easy to form romantic bonds with others in the same crew, least of all openly.’

2) This being a Sci-Fi thriller you are very specific when it comes to the ships instruments and weaponry. Have you done a lot of research involving this?

‘When I was at high school an English teacher once said something very similar about my writing – she said that I used terminology and descriptive terms with flair and apparent ease! I guess I could say I’ve always enjoyed reading and watching sci-fi and I’ve always had my own ideas on how things should be done. I have a background in computing, I served in the military, and I love history and research, so yes – I’ve also researched a lot about tech stuff and have a broad sense of how some things might work in a future setting.

I think the key with sci-fi stories is to not give too much tech information to the reader. You have to make this stuff believable without getting wrapped up in explaining for three pages how a reflex furnace or transmatter platform works – the typical reader would get bored and lose interest in the story. The story needs to flow, so as a writer I ‘cut the cackle’ and work around lengthy explanations and treat the tech as someone might write about a character using a cell phone today. Not quite that simple, but somewhere between the two extremes, and that seems to work.’

3) Who is Dellon Bennett?

‘Bennet is a young crew member, much lower in rank in relation to Lofflin, and he’s also relatively inexperienced. He has formed a close circle of friends on the ship who share various similar interests, and who very likely are aware of his sexuality.

Dellon is not the ‘action man’ type as it were. Lofflin finds him very attractive, both physically as well as in terms of his personality and character. Dellon is shy and reserved. Physically he might be considered of average build, but there is a refinement in terms of certain physical features Lofflin is drawn to. His eyes, his face naturally – but also his long thin fingers and hands.

The last thing I wanted to do was to reinforce the notion straight people have of ‘who’s the boy and who’s the girl’ by making Dellon appear more feminine, but at the same time I am also aware that a lot of fem gay guys get a raw deal from the community. I wanted in this case to show that there are a lot of fem gay guys out there, and that there is nothing wrong with being fem. People should be happy with how they are or want to be. Two people should be allowed to be attracted to each other for who they are, fall in love, and be happy. So Dellon Bennet, while not exactly a ‘fem’, and not an ‘action hero’ – is a bit of a deviation from several stereotypes as well.’

4) Without giving too much away, what was your inspiration for the Akx?

‘The Akx is a pretty bad-ass plot device, if I say so myself! 🙂

It’s over 6000 years old and it’s pretty much invincible because it knows what your fears are and uses them to beat you before you can make a move against it! Then, while you’re lying slumped in a heap of fear, it strikes! As if that isn’t bad enough, it seems to draw some kind of satisfaction or enjoyment from the fear it creates, and the kill itself!

I’d say that in many ways this could be understood to mean that our own fears are what hold us back as people. Often it’s not what really happens that beats us, it’s what we fear might happen. The Akx is a euphemism for that weakness in all of us.

We can only make progress in life if we rise to meet these challenges and face our fears, look into the eyes of the abyss, and even though we are afraid, do the best we can.’


  • Published: Fifth Edition, May 27, 2018
  • Pages: 168
  • Words: 51,983 (Flowing Text eBook)
  • Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
  • Dimensions (inches): 6×9″ tall (US Trade)

In Closing

Well, that’s all, folks! 🙂

Thanks again for all your support, friendship and interaction! 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 want to know what Christina Engela’s focus group or target market is, please read here. If you would like to read more about Christina’s life and experiences, please go to her Biography and the article “Timeline of Milestones, Awards & Achievements“. To leave her a message, please use the Contact form. Visit her Shop. ‘Add’ Christina Engela on Facebook (Profile). ‘Like’ Christina Engela on Facebook (Page). All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2018.

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