Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.

Fiction and Non-Fiction


Stony Creek (Red Dust Series Book 1)

Stony CreekLaura Prescott is a city girl. She lives in Melbourne and enjoys the life of a single girl in 1970, with no intention of marrying any time soon, if at all. She has no desire to live the life she sees her mother has, with a house full of children. Things change suddenly after she loses her job and she finds herself faced with very different choices. She finds a new life in the outback, with a new kind of love and a new kind of pain.

Excerpt from Stony Creek:

I was feeling reasonably confident when suddenly a rabbit darted out in front of me and I automatically hit the brake with my left foot. One foot—one pedal.

Suddenly everything went haywire. The tractor jerked to the left in a whirl of dust and almost wiped out a fence. Some startled sheep in the next paddock sounded their protest and scuttled away from the noise and dust; a flock of cockatoos shrieked at me as they left their perch on a nearby gum tree.  I hit both brakes then and put my head down on the steering wheel. 

In no time at all Jack was beside me on one of the motorbikes, Patch running along behind. “Laura? Are you okay?”

I felt like such an idiot. I knew immediately what I’d done wrong and I had hoped no-one, least of all Jack, was still watching.

5.0 out of 5 stars Outback Romance
on October 30, 2017
I really enjoyed this book. Christine Gardner did a great job of bringing an Australian sheep station to life. Her descriptions of the bush were vivid enough that I could smell the eucalyptus and hear the kookaburras. A story of unexpected love, taking us from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne to the slower pace of the outback and back again – the contrasts beautifully crafted. A well written, interesting story line, brimming with lively characters.

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant

By Amazon Customer on March 18, 2014

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I found this an exciting read that could be taken as a non fiction story. I was actually drawn into the story and all credibility must go to the author for her ability to hold your interest throughout the entire story.; Definitely worth the read and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys outback situation stories.
Available at and Amazon.UK as an ebook or paperback. Also available as paperback direct from Amazon’s Print on Demand dept, Createspace 

book2 karinya ebook

The Road to Karinya (Red Dust Series Book 2)

Prue King is nineteen and lives on Karinya Station, one of seven girls. She and her friend Sally decide to go on the adventure of a live time—a road trip, right around Australia. Neither Prue nor Sally is in any hurry to settle down, unlike some girls their age. They want to see the country and prove their independence. When they meet brothers Dan and Steve on the Sunshine Coast Prue is stunned by her feelings for him, but her plans remain the same. She and Sally are determined to get to Perth where they will live for at least a few months and decide what their futures hold. When the girls leave the brothers behind though, a horrifying experience will change their plans and their lives, perhaps forever.
The Road to Karinya also tells the story of Ellie, Prue’s mother. Ellie is a beautiful young woman living in wartime Adelaide when she meets Keith. It’s love at first sight for her, but she’s not sure how Keith feels, even after they marry. Karinya Station is his first love and Ellie will have to leave her family and her life in the city and contend with the loneliness of the outback. Ellie’s story begins in 1941 while Prue’s is set in the 70s.
The Road to Karinya is Book 2 of the Red Dust Series but is a stand alone novel, as is Book 1, Stony Creek.

Excerpt from The Road to Karinya:

I wasn’t going to make it easy for those bastards though and I kicked and bit and scratched and punched anyone who touched me. At least I managed to take some attention away from Sally as Bluey got two of his mates to hold me down and the others were busy watching the show.

“Real little spitfire!”

“They’re the best kind.” Bluey’s face was close to mine and his breath was making me gag. My mouth was dry but I managed to produce some saliva and spat in his face, making his mates roar with laughter.

“Spitfire all right!”

“Leave some for us!”

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Very interesting story…seemed so real and honest. There was so much about AUSTRALIA itself. I like anything about AUSTRALIA, but this book did describe so much about the land and its people…brought everything and everyone to life. Is there a third one??
Available as an ebook or a paperback at and Amazon.UK and also directly from Createspace, Amazon’s POD dept, as a paperback.

Red Wine and Summer Storms: Book 3, Red Dust Series

Australia, 1985
After a painful breakup with her long term boyfriend, lawyer Clare Sutton moves to Mildura to open her own practice not too far from Karinya Station, where her brother lives with his family. She’s thrilled to have her own office, even if she spends most of her days with paperwork, and is not looking for any romantic attachments.
On a visit to Karinya she meets Max Fraser, grape grower and budding wine maker. They become friends and he protects her on more than one occasion, because someone is stalking her, and although Clare’s work involves contact with criminals, at first she doesn’t take it seriously. It’s not long before her feelings for Max become more than friendship, but is it the kind of relationship that her brother has with his wife Prue? The kind that will last a lifetime?
In 1923, Fern is fresh from Sydney with her new husband, returned soldier George, to start a new life on a citrus orchard in Curlwaa. Their life is filled with hardships but their love for each other never dies and Fern has no regrets.
In 1985, now a widow, Fern lives in Mildura, next-door to Clare, and they become good friends. Estranged from her remaining family Fern looks on Clare almost as a daughter and becomes worried about her when she realises someone is watching her.

Readers of the other books in the Red Dust Series will know Clare and her family from ‘The Road to Karinya’, but each book can be read as a stand alone novel.

Excerpt from Red Wine and Summer Storms:

I couldn’t have been more shocked if it was an alien standing there on my doorstep; I actually felt a little light-headed and I had no doubt my face had paled several shades. “What on earth are you doing here?”

“Can I come in?” But he was already in. He’d had one foot in the door as soon as I opened it and I was too stunned to even think about stopping him. “It’s good to see you, love.” He smiled at me and I just stood there, shaking my head.

“Why? Why are you here?”

“I just wanted to see for myself. Make sure you were all right.” He smiled again and I thought there was something rather sinister about that smile; how did I ever think he was the man for me?

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Available as an ebook or paperback at and Amazon.UK as well as directly from Createspace as a paperback. 

new the inheritance cover

The Inheritance Kindle Edition

Jo Corbould’s life is turned upside down when her long-term boyfriend Tim dumps her for a younger woman. She is devastated but feels she has a chance for a new life when she inherits an old cottage from her great-uncle. Rose Cottage seems ideal; it feels like home to Jo immediately. The view, overlooking Hope Valley, is spectacular and the cottage is cosy and charming. Why then does Jo’s cat, Chelsea, refuse to settle in her new home? She appears terrified of the cottage and crouches by the front door, escaping whenever possible and running down to Hope Valley. And why is Jo spending her days furiously cleaning an already spotless cottage instead of starting the new business she had been so enthusiastic about? The diary Jo finds hidden in the stone wall tells the secrets her new home holds; secrets she will wish she had never known. Secrets that could drive her to the edge of madness and beyond.
Ebook available on iTunes and others:

(same book, different cover)

inheritance-cs3rdExcerpt from The Inheritance: 

She eased herself into the bath. It was very hot. Just a little at a time. Finally she was able to sit down in the water, surrounded by rose petals. The perfume soaked into her pores and into her nostrils.

Was that a woman’s laughter she heard as she picked up the knife from the edge of the bath? It didn’t matter now. Nothing mattered now. She pressed the knife onto her right wrist. The pain in her damaged hands was forgotten, swept away on a morphine wave, and she watched from the ceiling as the woman in the bath slashed the knife along her arm, along the vein.

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

The Inheritance is full of surprises. Each chapter was filled with emotional strength. Jo, the protagonist, was vexed and possessed both strengths and weaknesses in dealing with things both seen and unseen. Author, Chris Gardner, kept the story moving and me, as the reader, captivated. Excellent read and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
 Paperback and ebook available at and Amazon.UK. Also available in print directly from Createspace.
The ebook versions of the following books have different covers on iTunes and the other shopfronts to those on Amazon but the content is the same.

Not Guilty: Murder of Innocents

In 1910 in Bendigo, three children were found dead in their home, brutally murdered with an axe and a knife.not guilty 2014 cover
Their mother, Camellia McCluskey, was a de facto wife at a time when such a position was not socially acceptable. Her partner, George, was considerably older than her. The two lived together happily for a few years before the relationship deteriorated, putting in place a chain of events that finally resulted in the slaying of Dorothy, Eric and Ida.

‘Not Guilty’ tells the story of those events, and the court proceedings that followed them. A storm of newspaper coverage surrounded Camellia as the Australian media struggled to understand the motivations that led her down the path she took.

This story is based on Camellia’s letters, court records, newspaper coverage, and other historical documents.

Excerpt from Not Guilty:

Perhaps these men felt they were being chivalrous; perhaps, like the Truth reporter, they considered Camellia the victim while the real villain in the case was obviously George, who had forced her, by his ungallant and repugnant behaviour, into murdering her own children. Women were weak creatures, not unlike children, and men were supposed to protect them, especially if they were middle-class. Such conduct as George had displayed was absolutely intolerable; at least he should have had the decency to be more discreet. As the head of the house he was responsible for his household and for the actions of his dependants. 

By catwhisperer2 on January 30, 2013

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I would recommend this book to anybody who likes true crime books. I like that it takes place in the early 1900’s and it’s very interesting to see how attitudes toward women committing such crimes have changed since then. I’ve enjoyed every page turning minute.
Available as an ebook or paperback at and Amazon.UK as well as directly from Createspace as a paperback. 

Her Flesh and Blood

BookCoverImageher fleshandbloodAfter growing up in the outback, with dreams of travel and independence, Milly at last has a career and an income of her own. She finds herself increasingly attracted to her employer, George, an older man who is separated from his wife. Their affair is scandalous enough in their small community but what it eventually leads to will horrify thousands.
Her Flesh and Blood is a mix of fiction and non-fiction, inspired by a murder trial in Bendigo, Australia, in 1910.

Excerpt from Her Flesh and Blood:

She is not even an attractive woman, but of course she dresses like a tart and he likes that. And she is well-endowed of course. As I was once. Her child ran out to greet him as well and he lifted her up in the air and laughed. I stood back in the shadows with tears streaming down my cheeks. How could he spend his precious energy on her child and have nothing left for mine? For his own? I don’t believe he’s ever given Eric that kind of attention. It’s not only me he’s been unfaithful to.

 Available as an ebook or paperback at and Amazon.UK as well as directly from Createspace as a paperback. Also available as an ebook on iTunes and others with a new cover:

Dark Innocence

On a hot summer evening a group of bored teens decide to have a séance ; it’s the sixties and they’re country kids just having a bit of fun. Everyone darkamazonknows it’s just nonsense, don’t they? If someone is hurt, someone they don’t like, it can’t be anything to do with them, can it?

Excerpt from Dark Innocence:

Spirit, are you there? Is anyone there?” Lance said, trying to make his voice as deep and commanding as he could. Linda giggled again and I could tell she was jumpy.

On other occasions it had taken ages for the glass to move and sometimes it didn’t work at all, which seemed odd since it was clearly the same group of people moving it. Or the same person. It was hard to pick who though. It was easy enough to push the glass away from you but not so easy to pull it towards you with just the tip of one finger. Not without it being obvious.

That night though it took no time at all. The glass rushed straight to the ‘yes’ at my side of the table. It happened so suddenly I sat back in alarm and took my finger off the glass.

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

A longish short story really – but just as well, as I had to finish it in one sitting. A plot with a twist that rose naturally from the believable teenage characters and their relationship.
Available as an ebook at

Connections: Short Stories

BookCoverImageconnectionsAn eclectic mix of short stories, including romance, humour and murder, Connections includes flash fiction and more detailed stories. The themes are varied but all are about connections, whether they are ghostly, romantic or murderous.

Excerpt from Runt of the Litter:

The beatings he could put up with—the continual bullying, both verbal and physical. The verbal was even a source of amusement at times, since he was well aware of his stepfather’s shortcomings in the areas of communication. Bridget’s grandfather had been the village parson and both John and Bridget saw value in reading, value in broadening the mind beyond the cottage, beyond the small village. They’d insisted all their children learn to read and write and Hugh had a stash of his father’s books hidden away. Jamie was not able to read and therefore did not want anyone else to read, especially in his house. Occasionally, just to taunt his stepfather, Hugh would use words he knew the man would not understand, to speak to his brothers, and they would look slyly at each other and grin when they thought he wasn’t looking.

Available as an ebook or paperback at and Amazon.UK as well as directly from Createspace as a paperback. 


Valley Brown rated it liked it  
Ms. Gardner begins her collection on a pleasant note, with sympathetic characters. By the time you’ve read through a few of the stories, you begin to wonder if you’ve entered a modern-day Twilight Zone. Her stories weave in and out of normal life, with a few unexpected settings thrown in, just to keep the reader from second-guessing or becoming complacent. Many of the selections are without a happy ending, although I should qualify that observation: There are some endings which appear a bit out of kilter with societal norms, yet are highly satisfying to the main characters.

Narratives purporting to be simple reflections on life are not what they seem, or are they? It can be difficult to tell. As you near the end of a story, the conclusion becomes mostly apparent, and sometimes ominous, but it is always the ending that really does fit. I wonder what her next set of stories will be like?

Demented Mothers

A Thesis on Infanticide and Child Murder in Australia in the early twentieth Century

Excerpt from Demented Mothers:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kath Quinn argues that, in British nineteenth century psychiatry, infanticide, as well as suicide, was considered to be an ‘irresistible impulse’ and that the shock of actually killing her child was thought to bring the woman back to her senses while also ‘clearing the event from her mind’. By this focus on ‘impulse’ as the cause of the crime, ‘the psychiatric profession could separate the woman … from the act committed and so portray the mother as a victim of illness, rather than as a murderer’. Doctors were adamant that no mother could actually intend to kill her child, and when there was no remorse shown, ‘they concluded that the patient was still obviously insane’. Quinn argues that infanticide was no longer seen as a rational act to conceal an unwanted pregnancy, but rather an ‘irresistible impulse as the result of illness linked to the maternal state … [shifting] the focus from the morally fallen single woman to highlighting a potential instability in all women’.[1]

[1] Cath Quinn, ‘Images and impulses: representations of puerperal insanity and infanticide in late Victorian England’ in Infanticide: Historical Perspectives on Child Murder and Concealment, 1550-2000, Mark Jackson, ed. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2002, p.199. 

Available as an ebook at


sanctuary_cover_for_kindlePatric lives in Thrallia, in 2493, a modern city protected from the scorching sun and unbearable conditions of the outside world. An historian, he has heard of a people called the Moles, who once lived in an underground city nearby, but doesn’t believe they actually existed. Then his friend Derek discovers a strange girl imprisoned in the quarter where the Supers, rulers of Thrallia, live.

Sanctuary is a sci-fi novel for young adults, telling the story of two very different civilizations in the year 2493 AD. The Thrallians are descended from mainstream society; they have blended all racial differences and are bred in laboratories in order to guarantee all citizens will uphold peace and harmony in Thrallia.

The Centrals are descended from the street kids of the 20th century, who lived in the underground subways. They live on whatever they can forage and their society is primitive in comparison with that of Thrallia.

There is very little interaction between the two societies and most of the Thrallians are not aware of the Centrals’ existence.

Excerpt from Sanctuary:

They were all very carefully bred by the Lab Supers to keep out any tendency towards violence or dissatisfaction. Occasionally though, something went wrong, and Patric knew of at least one man who had apparently gone berserk and tried to kill the leader in the food processing department where he worked. Cafron, so Derek had said, had picked the man up, carried him on his back all the way to the city exit, and put him outside the door. Oblivious to the man’s pleading, he’d locked the door and walked back to his office as though nothing had happened. The man’s screams could be heard even through that heavy steel door while the sun frizzled him to death, so Derek had said. The story may or may not be true; Patric wasn’t sure, but the possibility was enough to make him very wary.

Available as an ebook or paperback at and Amazon.UK as well as directly from Createspace as a paperback. 

Now available also at iTunes and others:


Beast of War by [Gardner, Christine]

Beast of War

An ancient prophecy foretells the coming of a beast that will destroy the island of Breeland unless three young people, one from each tribe, journey to the beast’s lair and destroy it. Although they appear to have little in common they must learn to put aside their differences and work together for the sake of their homeland. The Brinnies are small but strong and intelligent farmers; the Coasties are a beach dwelling race who spend most of their time relaxing, while the Brooges are cave dwellers and hunters.

Excerpt from Beast of War

Terrus ignored him and waited for Cener’s reply.

‘That’s a filene, a female, those black ones there are males, and the long green creatures with the curled up tails are dorents. They’re not as friendly as the filenes but they’re harmless and easy to train. When I was a child I had one living with me for a while.’

‘Until you got hungry?’ Aerien was rolling around on the ground now, laughing at his own jokes. Terrus had to bite her lip, his laughter was so infectious.

Cener’s lips twitched. He reached over and grabbed Aerien’s leg.

‘You know, I’ve never actually tasted a two-legged animal. Maybe it’s not a bad idea.’

Aerien suddenly went quiet and the look of dismay on his face was too much for Terrus. She burst into a fit of giggles. Cener joined in, with a big, roaring laugh. Aerien looked at them and then they were all laughing together, not at each other, but with each other.

5.0 out of 5 stars Unity is the answer in any world . . .

on November 21, 2013
I really appreciated the message of the book, that unity is the only solution to world problems. If only this could work in the real world. The characters in the book, each a fanciful creature from three different cultures, overcome their disdain for each other and pull together to solve a problem that could destroy all of them. Their interaction is witty and amusing, reminiscent of human teenagers, and each one brings a quality to the group that is necessary for the whole to function. Thoughtful readers will enjoy it the most.
Available as an ebook and POD at and Amazon.UK
Also now on iTunes and others, ebook only:

No-one’s Good at Everything

Two stories for primary school children. ‘I’m Starving, Mum’ is an adventure packed story of ten year old Billy, who is left alone on a train and undergoes all kinds ofno-one cover problems before he finds his mother again. ‘No-one’s Good at Everything’ is about 9 year old Sophie who’s not good at sport, unlike all her friends and family. But she is good at something.

Excerpt from I’m Starving Mum!

He had seen quite a few cows and horses, as well as sheep, and didn’t take particular notice at first, of the cows in the next paddock. He wasn’t in the mood to be interested in the great outdoors; he’d had enough. Then one of the cows started coming towards him, and as it got closer he realised it wasn’t a cow at all. It was a bull! A bull who didn’t appreciate sharing his paddock with a ten year old boy wearing a red shirt!

on January 11, 2017
I found some encouragement myself in reading these two short but wonderful ones! I even found this to be a very true finding for myself just like Sophie and her mother discovered on the day of an art competition at her school and on her birthday nevertheless,..
I received this ebook for free and in return here is my honest review. I wish to recommend this for five stars and those kids ages 9-12. Great job Christine! By Angela
Ebook only, available at and Amazon.UK

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