Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.



We had a cat called Chill for 13 years; she was a lovely little girl–the only girl in the family besides me and she died last year. I still momentarily think it’s her scratching at the door sometimes or glance at a shadow–anyway, she was the world’s best cat and I wrote a story for kids largely based on an incident when we almost lose her. That might sound an odd subject for kids but I hope I’ve handled it so it doesn’t upset any. Kids do face tragedy and Chilli survived this one so it’s about hope if anything. And maybe about the results of being a naughty cat!

That wasn’t the only time we almost lost her–one day she just disappeared and we put a poster up at the local shop and looked around the neighbourhood, knocking on doors and putting flyers in letterboxes. Someone rang the shop, and said they’d been told our cat had been in a trailer and ended up at the rubbish tip, which is about as far away as you can get from our house without leaving town. She did sometimes jump in our trailer for a snooze and I suppose the owner of that one put a tarp over his trailer and took off before she could get out. Once he stopped the car she’d have jumped out and found herself surrounded by huge noisy birds and horrible smells. And feral cats. She must have been terrified.

We looked out there of course and handed out flyers around that neighbourhood but I don’t think she’d have hung around long. To cut a long story short, seven weeks later we got a call from the RSPCA to see that they thought they had our cat. We didn’t dare hope–didn’t believe it possible she could survive that long on her own. I still remember the feeling when we realised we had our cat back. Now she’s gone and is irreplaceable but we have lots of memories.

To get back to my book–it’s called Chilli-The Great Hunter and it’s free on Amazon for 2 days, from the 7th to the 8th of October. The ‘Look Inside’ feature isn’t on yet and I’ll extend the free period when that starts. The book also includes a story about a teddy bear who runs away from a toy shop and another about a clay dragon who foils burglars in her family’s home.  UK readers can find it here.

Here are some short excerpts:


©Christine Gardner

Janet Wilson was standing outside the toyshop waiting for the bus home after a busy day shopping. It was pension day and she had bought some groceries, just enough for one, plus a chocolate bar as a special treat, as she usually did on pension day. She was looking forward to getting home and sitting in her comfortable old armchair, with her feet up, and sinking her teeth into that dark chocolate that she liked so much. She was startled when she suddenly felt a tap tap tap on her leg. She looked down and was amazed to see a small golden-brown teddy bear.

“Hey you up there!” yelled the bear in a little growly voice.

“Hello,” she said. “Aren’t you a cutie?”

“Never mind the cutesy-pie stuff, just pick me up!” he demanded.


©Christine Gardner

Chilli’s family loved her very much, and they fed her lots of goodies, including dry cat food, fresh minced beef, bits of steak and her very favourite, tuna from a can. When she heard the electric can opener she would come running from wherever she was. She had very good hearing. No matter what they fed her though, Chilli still loved to hunt. She hunted spiders, cockroaches and mice at first and Mum and Dad didn’t mind that at all. Then she started hunting birds. She always brought them home to share with her family but still they weren’t happy.


© Christine Gardner

Didie was a very contented dragon. So contented that she slept all the time. Well, nearly all the time. Sometimes she just pretended. She had no desire to move, and never had, in all her three years. Of course she was made of clay, which had quite a lot to do with it. She lived on top of the heater in the Johnson family’s lounge-room, where she was very snug and warm and comfortable. She thought she always would be. Until one very surprising night . . .