Hello, friends and fans!
Welcome to my 78th monthly newsletter! Pull up a chair, let’s chat! In this month’s newsletter: updates on publishing, reviews and news. Let’s take a look at this months’ “stuff”!
June’s been quite a good month for me, writing wise. After finishing and publishing all three of the outstanding Quantum novels I’d promised myself to finish this year, I took a week or so off, and then dove right into the next project. This time, it was “Terror In The Outblack“, the fourth book in Panic! Horror In Space. Unlike the three new books in Quantum, which I’d been writing on and off for the last seven years, “Terror In The Outblack” was a completely new, fresh project I started at the beginning of June!
I like to try and write around between 2000 and 5000 words a day, but every so often I’ll go overboard and bury myself in the story I’m working on. This time though, I went about 80% through the book without a pause, adding daily to the further misadventures of Captain Flane and the often unfortunate crew of the starship Mercury – right up to the point where I hit a wall. It was in the last part of the book, subtitled “Dysfunction”, that I suddenly wasn’t sure what to do next. “Well, shit!” I thought – I’d gone and written myself into a corner! Fortunately, after a couple of days spent working things out – with the help of my ever-loving and helpful wiffle, Wendy (a.K.a. Kay) who often acts as my soundboard and muse, I managed to unscrew the inscrutable, and I’m happy to say, “Terror In The Outblack” is now complete and available on Amazon.
In the meantime, I’ve also started rummaging through my files to find my next project! This next bout of writing was then interrupted by another project – as I will describe next:
Covering All The Bases
Once again I’ve gone and made more work for myself, and I admit, it’s something I seem to excel at!
What am I talking about? Well, this past weekend, I made new updated covers for some of my books, of course! This time, I’ve gone and made new covers for 19 already published books – for the eBook and paperback versions, and for those of them that are audiobooks as well!
Why would I need to do this? That’s a pretty damn good question!
It’s no secret that my self-publishing journey has always been a process of learning and self-improvement. Also, I’ve been limited to making use of what publishing and design aids I can afford – which basically means using free resources. Over time, I’ve also come across utilities and resources that were better than the previous ones I was using – which basically explains the need for the cover redesign apropos of our conversation.
Thus it was, that every couple of years – or each time I had to move or update my books from one POD platform to another – I also upgraded the covers as well.
Cover design is also not as easy as it may sound! You need a suitable royalty-free image – with the keyword here being “suitable” – it’s no use just using any old image on the cover of your book – you need, ideally, to use a cover image with the most relevant image in relation to your story or content, to make your cover relevant. It also needs to be attractive.
In some cases, since I was also with Moon Books Publishing between 2019 and 2022, some of those covers were also originally designed by my late friend Brandon Mullins – but some of these were also not really as relevant as they could’ve been to the stories they wrapped! But, at the time, it the previous covers designs were the best I could hope for.
Things change, however, and I’m always striving for perfection in my work – and in work that can be accredited to me. My books are my life – they’re my legacy. I’m proud of them – and I desire to have my books (and their covers) reflect that pride and sense of accomplishment in terms of their quality and appropriateness to the stories I pored my heart and soul into.
Each of these book covers (in the form of three separate design files, one for each format) took me an average of about an hour to design to my satisfaction. This is in terms of image choice, placement, filters, font use for titles and effects, and layout.
For the first time in my design and publishing journey, these are the covers I’m happy to say I’m truly 100% satisfied with and will be unlikely to change again in future. These are by far, the best-looking covers I’ve ever been able to place on the face of my works!
As at the time this newsletter was posted, these cover updates were still in various stages of review on KDP, and should reflect on the Amazon shelf very soon. In the meantime, I’ll also be sending the new audiobook covers to Peever Publishing to update on Audible as well.
Moving on to other matters.
I will, as always, keep you updated.
Quantity AND Quality
The quantity and quality of my work appears to bother some people. I’m not sure if that’s down to jealousy, or what… For example, some seem to think 42 distinct separate works is a lot of books to have written. Okay, it is a lot – especially to people who’ve only maybe written one, or maybe none. Of perhaps half as many. Granted, one or two of those – among my earlier activism-related titles – are out of print, but the number of titles available today is 38 – and I’m not even done yet!
42. It’s quite a number, right? Okay, now I’m getting a big head… moving on…
Currently Available Titles:
My books are available as eBooks, Paperbacks, and Audiobooks, and you can find them everywhere. Click the links in the slideshow below to view titles available in these formats.
If you’re still wondering where to find them in the format of your choice, you should read “Where To Get My Books – Specially For My South African Readers!” (recently updated).
You can view all 19 of my audiobooks here.
Darla Middlebrook, the lady who narrated the Quantum and Panic! Horror In Space series, is currently recording the first of the three new Quantum titles as well!
Feedback & Communication
You can see all my previous reviews here.
I have no new interviews to show you this time, but all my interviews are linked to from this page.
What The Readers Say:
All my reader comments are linked to from this page. This month I had a great review from Lee Hall for the first of the three new Quantum books, and an awesome reader review for “Static”!
“It has been a while since I last read a book in the Quantum series and I’m glad to see Christina Engela is on form yet again to deliver an immersive brand of sci-fi. With the usual humour and occasional stab at the forces who chose not to embrace inclusivity there’s a relevant and meaningful social commentary here. Much like most of Engela’s stories they contain heroes of all backgrounds – a positive and modern choice while also being quite enjoyable.
‘On Deanna, a seed had been planted, a sinister, malevolent seed…’
These heroes are spread around the planet of Deanna which has been taken over by a totalitarian regime who have suppressed the diverse inhabitants. This story lays out their movements in creating a force for resistance and they’ll do everything they can to fight back from this suppressive regime. From dealing with local mobsters to gain equipment to even meddling with the concept of the time space continuum – time travel in this series is a focal point and a vessel that will hopefully guide Deanna to freedom. There are even vampires so all of the cool story bases are covered here.
Underground Movement is an appropriate title for a book which recaps the series so far with some returning faces like ‘Fred the Arborian’ and ‘Gary Beck the Badfeller’ plus many more while also paving a way for what is to come. Enjoyable and immersive.
4 Stars” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, review of Underground Movement, June 1, 2023.
I received the following glowing review for “Static” on the 11th:
You’re welcome to browse through the videos on my YouTube video channel! I’m not really the performing seal type, but I do my best! There’s also a 13 minute animated movie on there, called “Bang, Splat!“, based on characters and settings from “The Time Saving Agency“.
Below are links to a few of my most recent posts or articles since my previous newsletter:
- New Release: Terror In The Outblack
- A Peek At My Week! #107
- OceanGate – A Recipe For Stupid Deaths
- A Peek At My Week! #106
- A Peek At My Week! #105
- A Peek At My Week! #104
- Christina Engela’s Monthly Newsletter: #77 June 2023
In spite of some of my books having been on Amazon since 2005, not one of them has yet reached 50 reviews! I would really appreciate your help on this! Come on, leave a review – it’s free!
Thanks again for all your support, sharing, friendship and interaction!