Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


Leave a comment

Instafreebie

I’ve recently started putting stories on Instafreebie, which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a site where, obviously enough, you can find free reads! It seems well organised and, from an author point of view, is another way of reaching new readers. Apart from the short stories I’ll continue to list as free on a permanent basis, I’m also putting books up for around a week at a time. If anyone knows anything I don’t know about Instafreebie I’d love to hear from you! At this stage I’m only using the free service; I know you can pay for different services.

These are my perma free stories at the moment and I intend to add another one very soon:

you never knew  You probably think this story’s about you, don’t you?

Brown Dog  Luke is flat broke and living in his car at the beach when an old mutt sidles up to him–the last thing he needs, or is it?

What Did You Say?  Not a short story but a small ebook to help with grammar and punctuation. Do you know the real purpose of the humble apostrophe?

I always tweet the temporary giveaways and you can find details on the right side of my blog posts or on twitter.

I’ve just been on my annual trek to my home town for my mother’s birthday. I do try to get there more often but never miss Mum’s birthday. She’s 97 now and still living at home (alone) and cooking her own meals. She does have some help with the housework as well as the garden but she still likes to potter around out there as well. There are lots of other family members who live much closer than I do, fortunately, including more grandchildren and great grandchildren than I can keep track of! It’s always nice to visit my old home town but it’s good to come back to the place that’s been my home for over 30 years.

Most of my books are available in print and ebook on Amazon.com and Amazon.UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

State to State

I’ve just been back to my home town for a few days to visit family and especially my mother, who just turned 95. I was born in Wentworth and lived on a property in Curlwaa, New South Wales, for my first few years and then moved interstate to Mildura, the other side of the  Murray River. Most of my mildurawentworthcuz 058memories are of life in Mildura but I do have some memories of Curlwaa. The old school has gone and so has our old house but my sister and I drove around the area where they used to be. We also went to the Wentworth Hospital, where I was born and hadn’t seen since, so that was interesting. It’s popped up in my book Stony Creek so I wanted to have a look. I was delighted to find an old Ferguson tractor there, also in my book. The Fergies were used extensively in the severe floods that hit the area in 1956.

I didn’t particularly appreciate it when I lived there but I’m always blown away by the Murray River when I go home–it’s quite spectacular and is of course the whole reason Mildura and Wentworth, as well as surrounding areas, grew into what they are today. Both the Murray and the Darling were used as highways in the early days and there mildurawentworthcuz 053are still paddle-steamers operating, now for tourists. The area also relies on the river to irrigate the many different kinds of fruit and vegetables grown there. Known as Sunraysia the area is well known for its citrus and grapes–especially dried grapes but it also produces wine–as well as other fruit and vegetables. It was the first place in Australia to be irrigated, thanks to Canada’s Chaffey Brothers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Chaffey

Rain tends to be scarce and it’s usually the warmest place in the state, so it’s a popular tourist destination. Only problem is it’s a long trip from anywhere, including where I live now, with nothing much to look at along the way! I’ve put a few other photos on my Pictures of Oz page.

darkamazonMy novelette ‘Dark Innocence’ is free on April 29 and is set in Mildura, so have a look at  the pictures and a free read as well. Happy Reading!


5 Comments

Much ado about nothing

I had no idea what to write about today–didn’t really have anything to say so I decided to have a look at my first post. I started this blog last autumn (March here in Oz) and wrote about the weather and about writing. I had no idea what I wanted the blog to be about and I still don’t really. It’s about my adventures with self-publishing certainly and I still have to mention the weather sometimes, but we do, don’t we? In our everyday conversation, which is, after all, how I write, we always talk about the weather. It’s one thing we all have an opinion on. Is it cold enough for you? Nah, like it cold. Hot enough for you? Too bloody hot! I hate it. I love it. No politics, no religion–a safe subject.

It’s frosty here this morning, which makes a change from the rain at least–nice to see the sun shining through the window. It’s the first day in a while I’ve been able to see the keyboard without the light on. My typing speed is actually not too bad but I tend to look at the keyboard and just glance at the screen now and then rather than vice versa–this is where good old spell-check comes in handy. I did attend a couple of typing classes many years ago and at least one shorthand class–does anyone use shorthand these days? Do you type without looking at the keyboard?

At school, because I was fairly good academically I suppose, I was in what they called ‘Professional’ classes, which I suppose meant I could have gone on to university (which I did, 30 odd years later!) while my sister was in the more practical ‘Commercial’ stream, which taught useful things for girls, like typing. Ironically, she ended up in a profession, as a dental nurse, while I spent most of my working life working in various office jobs. I quite liked it too and didn’t particularly miss those skills but now the ability to touch type would be handy. Still, as I said, I manage pretty well.

I have no idea if they teach touch typing at schools now or if most kids just pick it up naturally, since they’d be typing now as soon as they can read–actually before they can read. My six year old grandson likes to type and I often write out words for him to type in. Like most children his age he has a natural ability and has already told me how to use my smart phone properly. I’m not exactly frightened of such things these days but when I first learnt how to use a computer I was always terrified I’d somehow manage to delete everything if I accidentally pushed the wrong button. I have actually deleted a day’s writing on at least one occasion but that was long ago. Last year! Fortunately I have lots of clever sons and now two grandsons so I’ll be okay!

‘Demented Mothers‘ is free from the 14th to the 18th July (USA) and ‘Her Flesh and Blood‘ is free one day only, the 14th. BookCoverImageher fleshandbloodThe first is my university Honours thesis, out of which evolved ‘Not Guilty’, the true story of the McCluskey murders, as well as “Her Flesh and Blood’, a fictionalized account of the same story. As a creative writer, although I was enthralled with the research about the case, I was frustrated by the story that was lacking, so eventually I decided to create one myself. I gave Camellia McCluskey a life prior to the murders and afterwards and blended fiction and non-fiction. I think it’s a good read and it’s free if you’re quick; if you like it, reviews would be much appreciated.

UK links: Demented Mothers

 Her Flesh and Blood


6 Comments

What’s a good length for an ebook?

Is there one? I find I don’t have the same staying power reading ebooks as I do reading a paperback but maybe that’s just me. Not having read short stories in the past I now find myself actively searching for them on Amazon. I even published a collection myself but it hasn’t done as well as my novels have–‘Stony Creek’ at 60 something thousand words is still doing very well so maybe the length doesn’t matter as long as the story’s engaging. Of course that’s still quite short for a novel but I don’t think I’ll ever write a 100,000 word story–I’m more of a ‘let’s get to the point’ writer and reader.

My latest publication is around 11,500 words, which apparently qualifies it as a novelette–too long to be a short story but not long enough to be a novella. I think it’s a good length for an ebook, but certainly not long enough to be in print. I’d like to thank everyone who suggested titles for this one; I was tossing up between Innocents and Innocence but finally decided on Dark Innocence. It’s not the only book in the world with that title but I think it says more about what I’m getting at. Without giving away too much of the story it’s about teenagers in the sixties, in a country town in Australia; they’re all innocent, naïve really, but they cause things to happen and it’s their very innocence that prevents them foreseeing the possible results.

‘Dark Innocence’ will be free on Amazon from the 12th to the 14th May and I’d appreciate a quick review if you like it. I grew up in a country town in Australia in the sixties and it was kind of fun re-living some of that. Some of the language could be confusing to some people but I’m hoping most of you will understand that thongs worn on the feet have nothing to do with a g-string! In Oz we’ve been watching English and American movies and TV shows for many years and we understand the lingo–I hope you understand ours!

It was Mothers Day here yesterday and I realise it’s Sunday now for most of you, so Happy Mothers Day to all the mums. I have two sons who live locally and they both dropped in for a visit, which was lovely; I also have one currently honeymooning in Thailand who sent me a facebook photo/message and two others out of town who rang. And I rang my mum of course. So all good. Mothers Day for me is all about being in touch, in one way or another, not about new washing machines!

‘Dark Innocence’ link for UK

‘Stony Creek’ for UK

 

 

 


6 Comments

Going back to school when you’re old.

I have five sons, all grown up now, but they kept me pretty busy at home for around twenty years and I was happy being a full-time mum. When my youngest started school though, I decided to do something else. I couldn’t decide whether to do a course in visual art, something I’d always loved, or something more practical, like an up-skill of the office work I used to do. I’ll leave it up to them, I thought. Just do the entry tests for both and if I pass one, that’s the course for me.

So I passed them both and had to decide for myself; the art course was impractical, a silly idea really, so of course that was the one I chose. And loved (almost) every minute. Strangely enough, the subjects most of the students hated, those that involved writing, I thoroughly enjoyed, and after two years full time and three years part-time I went on to a writing and editing class. Even more fun. So then I had a Diploma of Art and Design and a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. Should have been enough, right?

Then the local university made us an offer–our two year diploma would be counted as one year at university if any of us wanted to  attempt a degree there. Of course I did. It wasn’t that easy a decision–I gave it some serious thought. Probably part of my decision to go for it was I’d met so many people who had university degrees and, quite frankly, they didn’t seem any more intelligent than me!

So, to cut a long story short, I graduated, with Honours, from uni in 2005, and absolutely loved it. Not every minute–I didn’t love all the assignments and some of the lectures were better than others but most of them were fascinating. I studied History, Philosophy of Religion, Women’s Studies and Literature. If anyone is considering gong back to school I can’t recommend the experience highly enough.

My book, Not Guilty, evolved from my Honours thesis and I’ve decided to put the original thesis on Amazon as well. It is an academic thesis, not a commercial true crime, but I’m sure some will find it of interest. If you do, please take the time to put a review up. Demented Mothers is free from 21st (US time) to the 25th October.