Hello, friends and fans!
Welcome to my 81st monthly newsletter – for news, writing & publishing updates & reviews! Pull up a chair, let’s chat! Let’s take a look at this month’s “stuff”!
September was quite a good month overall, in spite of work and other things getting in the way of my writing from time to time! I also managed to restart my author’s vlog video posts again for the first time in 2 years! That sounds a bit more impressive than the reality, because so far I’ve only managed to put up 2 videos since! Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up the routine of doing at least 1 new video every week or so.
It’s the wonderful, ghoulish month of October – Halloween Season!
This time I have news about an audiobook release, a brilliant new review, and some new reader’s reviews as well – but more about that a little later.
“Freedom Inc“, the first book in my new sci-fi adventure series (“Threaders“) has been the main focus of my writing over the past few weeks, and I’m happy to report that it’s making progress! It’s already past 55,900 words!I’m continuing to work on this story – and will, as always, let you know what happens next!
Moving on to other matters:
Currently Available Titles:
My books are available as eBooks, Paperbacks, and in many cases also as Audiobooks, and you can find them just about 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).
My most recent new releases in 2023 were “Underground Movement“, “Xanadu“, “The Last Hurrah“, a 1-act play called “The Traitor Loyal” and “Terror In The Outblack“. Also new in July 2023 are three guides offering background in-depth info, that were previously available in earlier forms! They’ve now been formally published for the first time: “The Galaxii Guide To The Terran Space Fleet“, “The Galaxii Guide To Corsairs & The Black Fleet” and “Come To Deanna!“. “Through Technical Spectacles: A Quantum Guide” is a completely new title released on 27 July for the first time, containing 86 illustrations for 26 different topics.
You can view all 20 of my audiobooks here.
Feedback & Communication
You can see all my previous reviews here.
On September 12, “Xanadu” received the following 5 star professional review from UK reviewer Lee Hall:
The space sci-fi action continues and faces a darker path than usual…
“With the planet of Deanna under new fascist rule and a Time Agent missing; it is up to the diverse cast of heroes who make up the always colourful Quantum series to put in the save. The space sci-fi action continues and faces a darker path than usual this time. Christina Engela delivers a story that is both entertaining and poignant in places with a fun writing style that isn’t afraid to highlight modern society with inclusivity being at the forefront. Her vessel for this has been a series of books that continue to entertain in a meaningful way while even expressing the positive potential to having diversity in the world. On the planet of Deanna, you can be pretty much anyone you want but all of that has been taken away by a fascist regime who have even found a way to erase the planet from the solar system to passers by. Many of those who don’t fit within the ‘regime’ find themselves at a cruel and brutal place known as ‘Xanadu’ which serves as a sinister prison camp but ultimately they are neither. With some familiar faces and even call backs to older faces seen in the previous entries to the series, they look to find a way out of this storm which has seemingly engulfed the planet – this includes a former enemy, a once ‘Ruminarii’ Captain who join forces with those looking to fight back and ‘Gary Beck’ receives a temporary assignment in the wake of a missing Agent ‘Scrooby’. The Quantum series continues to entertain and even cover real world issues in a modern way via some great writing and a plot that keeps on giving. 5 Stars.” – Lee Hall‘s review of “Xanadu“, September 12, 2023.
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.
I received the following reader’s reviews this past month:
Very Good Listen
“A haunted house, ghosts, witches and friends… Really enjoyed listening to it. Never know what is around and about the house.” – Gwen Boseman, review on Audible for “When Darkness Calls“, May 29, 2023.
Some of you may wonder why I sometimes post reviews that were left sometimes many months before the date of the current newsletter, so let me tell you why that is – Audible and Amazon (or KDP) don’t notify authors of reviews left for them – they just add new reader reviews to the bottom of the page displaying the individual book on their site – and leave it up to the author to search for any new ones manually themselves.
The following two reviews of my writing are from my old friend Alex S. Johnson, who is himself an author and retired English professor.
“Christina Engela’s hallmark combination of quirky humor, memorably drawn characters, tightly constructed plots and fluid style makes her one of the most entertaining authors I’ve ever read – and that’s a short list that includes Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams.” – Alex S. Johnson, September 05, 2023.
“I was just looking at your excerpt from Freedom Inc. Your style is so fluid. Knowing exactly what to include and what not to, by instinct, is a hallmark of a good writer. You don’t overwhelm the reader with detail. Just enough.
A lot of the writers I edited had to detail EVERYTHING and it’s just a chore… like they took a workshop and were told about concrete detail. The server-droid quietly folding itself into a compact cube… that’s trademark Engela. ‘Small blasters and the like…’ you get the picture. It’s sufficient.
I’d like to do a short style guide some time… with examples like that of how to do it right. When you say ‘and the like’ it’s evocative of a whole universe of things ‘like’ small blasters, whatever those may be. It’s also a bit whimsical.
I guess what I’m saying is, there’s some things you can’t teach.
I get from your writing this vibe of someone telling a hilarious story at a party. There’s not this effort, at least not a lot of visible effort.” – Alex S. Johnson, September 04, 2023.
Enjoyable Complex Characters
“The story tuned out to be quite different than what I expected from the cover. I thought it would be a quirky sci-fi space/planetary adventure. Well, it was, sort of, but primarily focused on the personal identity struggles of the unconventional characters. Generally I found it engaging and empathized with the main characters, except for a few instances where the author either veered onto a social pulpet or their characterizations did not ring true for me. But all in all I found the book enjoyable and look forward to reading more.” CKing review for Black Sunrise on Audible, August 20, 2023.
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“.
I recently posted 2 new videos in the Author’s Vlog – pop round and have a look!
Below are links to a few of my most recent posts or articles since my previous newsletter:
- The Indie Author’s Lament: Sales & Wails
- A Peek At My Week! #120
- A Peek At My Week! #119
- Tips For Understanding The A.I. Cover Issue
- Why Witch Hunts Are Bad For Everyone
- Blog Tour: New From J. Scott Coatsworth – The Gauntlet Runner
- A Peek At My Week! #118
- Review: The Barbie Movie
- A Peek At My Week! #117
- Playing Monopoly
- Feeling Threatened?
- A Peek At My Week! #116
- A Peek At My Week! #115
- Christina Engela’s Monthly Newsletter: #80 September 2023
Odd Sounds In The Kitchen
Where the rustling sounds in the kitchen were coming from. Kali, of course!
I Wanted To Leave A Review Of A Book I Bought – Amazon Said No
On Thursday 28 September, I wanted to leave a review for my friend Alex S. Johnson’s new book “The Fall of the House of Kaimera and Other Stories” – I bought the book and read it – and I wanted to leave him a 5 star review for it – but the Mighty Zon decreed otherwise.
The mighty #Amazon does its best to fuck the little guy over every chance that over-gorged, bloated, greedy billionaire 1%er scumbag Bezos gets. No wonder he can afford his own pet space program.
Not only do they take the majority share of royalties resulting from every sale from the poor author, but they roll all sorts of other obstacles in the way for any of us to really make any progress. And don’t think there are viable alternatives to authors for selling their books – if you don’t sell on Amazon, you might as well not sell at all. That’s how the land lies these days. It’s a monopoly.
Want your book to move up the rankings? Get more exposure? “No problem,” says Jeff, “you just need to hit that magical amount of 50 reviews first”. Right…
Apparently, in order to leave a review of a product you fucking BOUGHT, you need to have spent at least $50 (USD) – in other words R960.36 in the past 12 months. By rights, you should be entitled to leave a review on ANY item you paid money for, regardless of how much money you spent on Amazon in the preceding 12 months!
I always wondered why so few buyers were leaving me reviews – now I know. It’s not the readers, it’s not the buyers – it’s fucking Amazon!
In the nearly 20 years since my first novel “Blachart” appeared on Amazon, it’s only garnered 7 reviews. Perhaps, at this rate, it might hit 50 reviews before I die of old age – if they haven’t already upped the threshold before then.
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!