Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


Opening a Can of Worms–Daylight Saving

I know a lot of people love daylight saving and if you happen to live in a cool climate where you absolutely relish that extra hour of sunlight, then lucky you! Daylight saving absolutely makes sense for you. If, on the other hand, you live in a country where temperatures can get to the mid 40s (Celsius–100 plus Fahrenheit) and beyond in some areas, what on earth is the point? Why would anyone in their right mind choose to take an hour of the coolest part of the day, when they could be sleeping, and add it on to the hottest part of the day?

Now, to be honest, it doesn’t affect me a great deal these days; I’m lucky enough to have air-conditioning; I rarely have to get up  to an alarm clock and my kids are all grown and flown. The coop. But I remember what a nightmare it was getting little boys to bed when the sun was still shining in their bedroom windows. I don’t know if parents still do that or if they’ve given up and let the kids stay up until the sun goes down and then have to drag them out of bed in the morning for school.

Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland have all had the good sense to abandon daylight saving–I think they all tried it and it proved unpopular. I suspect the reason it succeeded in the south east states is more to do with our large city population than the fact that our climate is a bit milder than up north. City workers seem to like it because, I suppose, they have a chance to get home or even go to the beach before dark. Since more Victorian voters live in cities than the country I know it’s a lost cause but I still feel for those parents trying to get their kids to bed.

Daylight saving starts here tomorrow morning and I don’t even have to put the clocks forward any more–it’s automatic. I’d be interested to hear from other readers why they love or hate daylight saving, or wish they had it if they don’t.

It’s also footy finals today and ‘my’ team is playing. And winning. Sometimes I wish I cared, but it’s just a group of Aussie blokes playing another group of Aussie blokes and either way, we win, right? Now if we were playing New Zealand, or the UK, or USA, I might be more interested!

I’m getting on with Book 3 of my Red Dust rural romance series and will almost certainly have it finished by Christmas; I’m moving into a new office shortly which will make it easier, I hope. I’m currently working in the lounge-room and, with three empty bedrooms, I decided to bite the bullet and clean one out. I’ll be able to work with no interruptions and will get heaps done–at least that’s the theory! ‘Dark Innocence’ is FREE on the 4th and 5th of October–it’s quite a small book and will definitely keep you interested!

Stony_Creek_Cover_for_Kindle          karinya cover           darkamazon


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Smashwords, Passions and Freebies

Thanks to everyone for their comments,on linkedin, especially, on my post about Smashwords: one writer pointed out that by leaving my most successful book, Stony Creek, off KDP Select I was missing out on their lending program so I’ve since removed all my books from Smashwords apart from one free short story.

It’s Grand Final day here today–that is AFL football, which is Australian Rules and quite different to American football. There’s no helmets involved and I appreciate it is a game of skill. I might even watch it for a while since my husband will but there’s no way I’d leave the lounge-room for the experience. I was watching one of the breakfast shows this morning and they showed crowds of keen footy fans already lined up to get their seats for a game that starts at (I think) around 2.30 this afternoon. The reporter mentioned that they could put stickers on their seats and then leave for a while. I’m not sure if he meant they could actually leave the stadium or just the seat; I noticed the fans were mostly men and I’m guessing that some will probably be saving seats for their families to join them later. I understand some people are very passionate about football but is it really worth lining up and waiting for six hours? Apparently it is for many fans.

Other people line up for hours, even overnight, to be one of the first to get the latest mobile phone, which is seriously wacky! They’ll make plenty, people, just wait till tomorrow!

I kind of understand fans lining up overnight to get tickets for their favourite band; these are limited after all and I’ve been to some excellent shows myself, but never had to line up for hours–not sure I was ever that keen.

Then of course women are supposed to be passionate about shoes but that’s never caught on with me either–not that I don’t admire them–some are a real work of art, but we’re not meant to torture ourselves in the name of fashion, ladies!

Other people collect all kinds of things–you name it, someone will be passionate enough about it to collect it! I find the older I get the less material things matter to me. I’d probably like to collect holidays, all over the world, but that’s not very likely. I’m off on my first overseas trip next month, to Vanuatu, which is not very far away but it’s a start!BookCoverImageher fleshandblood

I have a couple of freebies on offer at the moment: Not Guilty, a true story about a mother who murdered her three children in 1910, and Her Flesh and Blood, which is a fictionalized account of the same story.  Not Guilty evolved from my Honours thesis on infanticide and child murder and involved a huge amount of research. I do consider myself more a fiction writer though and found the restrictions in writing non-fiction somewhat frustrating, so I then wrote Her Flesh and Blood and gave my characters a life before the murders.

Not Guilty is free 28 and 29 September and Her Flesh and Blood from 28th to 30th September.

UK Readers: Not Guilty, Her Flesh and Blood

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Is nothing better than . . . nothing?

I’ve had all my books on Amazon free at various times this year and I’m still unsure about the whole thing. I finally decided to withdraw them all and put up my last book I had free days to spare on, ‘Inheritance‘,  a couple of weeks ago. That was it, I was sure, and I would then put them all on Smashwords rather than exclusively with Amazon.  All of a sudden, after that free promotion, I had a sudden burst of sales in the UK and I’m back to wondering again.

If you pay for an ebook and then find it’s free the following week, does that upset you? I think it would me, to be honest. Does anyone know how Amazon actually promotes books? I’ve had quite a few emails promoting my books amongst others but I don’t know if they do that only after you’ve had your book free. Does anyone know?

I think maybe I’ll stay with KDP Select for a couple of my smaller books that only sell for .99 anyway and keep the others out. I have signed up for Matchbox now so that might be interesting. The idea is that anyone who buys a POD version of a book is entitled to a reduced price ebook  version. I’m making my ebook versions all free for that promotion. The PODs are a reasonable price but the postage, especially to Australia, is a bit pricey; no doubt it’s much cheaper in the US.

Football season has finished at last–I actually watched the grand final with hubby on Saturday. In Australia most people have a team they follow and I finally succumbed, several years ago, after watching a grand final with Hawthorn and Geelong. Knowing little about the game I was, nonetheless, impressed by Hawthorn’s skill and their consistency, so I decided they could have the honour of being my team. I really don’t follow them but since they were in the final I did watch and, surprisingly, didn’t mind it at all. And they won. Yay Hawks!

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Footy Season.

It’s footy season again here in Oz. Ho hum. Lots of fit young men running around in tight little shorts and sleeveless tops. I suspect that’s a large part of the attraction, for women at least. For those of you who don’t know Aussie Rules football, it’s very different from American or European styles. I just know I’m going to get this wrong, but from the point of view of someone whose knowledge of American football is only what I’ve seen in movies, I think it’s like our rugby, where the guys are bulkier. Soccer players seem to be quite lean, while our Aussie Rules guys are somewhere in between; they’re muscular but lean. They also don’t wear helmets (although they probably should) or any of the other protection gridiron players wear.

Now I’ve no doubt proven my complete ignorance re international football I must say in my defence I have zero interest in spectator sports, except maybe some of the Olympics. My idea of spectator sports consists of home renovation contests like The Block and cooking competitions like My Kitchen Rules. I have no intention of ever even painting a wall, let alone ripping one down and re-designing a whole house, but I love to watch these old ugly ducklings become beautiful again. The fact I don’t always agree with the choices made by the contestants or the judges just makes it all the more interesting.

I also have no great interest in cooking, although I occasionally am inspired to try something new. What annoys me is the way some of the contestants say they ‘just love food’. Seriously,  doesn’t everyone? That doesn’t mean we all want to spend hours slaving away over a hot stove! Even more annoying is the phrase ‘cooked to perfection’. I’d be interested to hear if that’s only here in Oz or if it’s taken over the Western world. I suspect our resident French chef is to blame; although he’s been here for years he still has his accent and when he says ‘cooked to perfection’ it sounds perfect. When anyone else says it, it sounds like a poor imitation. Can we please go back to saying ‘It’s perfect,’ or ‘perfectly cooked’? Maybe even something more original. Buy a dictionary.

Okay, I am annoyed by quite a few over-used phrases; politicians are probably the worst, with their ‘end of the day’, and ‘at this point in time’. Then we have sports reporters with their nonsensical ‘back to back’, when they really mean one after the other. That phrase always reminds me of a little nonsense poem my father used to say, ‘One fine day in the middle of the night, two blind men got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other . . . I forget the rest.  I have to keep reminding myself English has always been an evolving language and continues to be so but do we have to blindly imitate things that don’t make sense?

All my books are available on Amazon and most are also as ebooks on Apple, Kobo and others.