Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


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Crazy Teenage Magpies

I’ve never seen a baby magpie but we have a family or two of maggies that hang around constantly and their behaviour is quite fascinating. They all look the same size but the younger ones have slightly different feather tones and, while the parents sing their lovely little magpie melody, these badly dressed teenage birds squawk non-stop. They stand side by side with their long-suffering parent, who, in spite of the size of their offspring, still has to supply them with all their daily needs (most  from our dog’s bowl). I no longer have teens myself but I can empathise with the parents and cheer them on when, rarely, they fly off, seemingly after they’ve had enough of their child’s non-stop whinging. I don’t think our magpies are related to the UK magpies at all–I’m sure ours are much more tuneful, as adults at any rate.

It’s summer and nearly Christmas, but nice and cool today. For the first time in more than twenty years we’re not having Christmas at home–it’s the start of a new era. It becomes more and more difficult to co-ordinate a family dinner when all five of our boys have partners now and in-laws to fit in with plans. And three of the five live out of town. So this year it’s lunch at my eldest son’s, around 60 kilometres away, and then dinner at our second son’s, with his new wife, about two kilometres away! A busy day even though I won’t be doing much of the cooking.

I’ve just started a new book, which doesn’t have a name yet, but for those of you who’ve read ‘The Road to Karinya‘, the story karinya coverI’m writing now is Clare’s story, Book 3 of my Red Dust Series. Book 1 is ‘Stony Creek‘, which is doing amazingly well.

I was asked to write a guest post for a blog on self-publishing recently which was kind of fun–check it out here: http://theselfpublisher.wordpress.com/

Merry Christmas to everyone–help yourself to a free ebook for the holidays:

Sanctuary, Not Guilty and Last Chance at Amazon.com

Sanctuary, Not Guilty and Last Chance at Amazon UK

Innocents or Innocence?

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Innocents or Innocence?

Which title has the most appeal? My latest book, which is not quite complete, is about teenagers in a country town, which, although I don’t name it, is pretty much the town where I grew up. In my story, which will most likely be a novelette, a girl falls, or is pushed, off a station platform onto train tracks and the only suspects are a group of out-of town boys she’s been hanging out with.

The boys are in town for the grape harvesting season and that alone makes them immediately suspicious in small-town Victoria in the sixties, where seasonal workers, although essential, are viewed with distaste by many locals.

I think things are different now, although I haven’t lived in the area for over 20 years. I do visit though; most of my family still lives there and I’m going over next week for my mother’s 94th birthday.

Basing a story in my home town has been fun, especially since it’s set in the sixties and I’ve been able to use my own memories to set the scene. Memories of hot summer days, running across hot bitumen roads barefoot and hitch-hiking to the local sandbar. (Sorry Mum.) I’d be horrified if my kids hitch-hiked anywhere but we all did it in those days. And survived. I’m not sure if it’s just the rosy glasses of the past or if the world was really a much safer place then. Certainly bad things happened but we were not so aware of them unless they actually happened in our town. These days we hear of shocking incidents on a daily basis,  from all over the world, and I sometimes wonder if this is a good thing for our kids. The media generally seems to dwell on the bad and ignore the good. But I have to confess as a fiction writer I also tend towards the dark side, although I have written romance as well as murder and mayhem!

I’ve almost finished the first draft of Innocents (or Innocence), but it will certainly require a bit more work afterwards; I find if I get stuck on a scene sometimes it’s best to just go onto another one and I’ve done that a lot with this story. Now I have to go back and link them all together.

I have two books free on the 14th April, Last Chance and Sanctuary; both are science fiction and were intended for young adults, although Last Chance is for younger young adults and I’ve found it’s mostly adults who read Sanctuary.

Happy Easter to everyone and I hope you have the opportunity to catch up with family and friends and have a good break.

Innocents or Innocence?

Innocents

Innocents


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Wasting Time–Summer Daze

I realise most of you are on the other side of the world and some are suffering very severe cold weather conditions so I apologize in advance for complaining about the heat again! I just seem unable to do anything very constructive of late and I’ve come to the conclusion I should be hibernating for the summer. It just doesn’t suit me at all, not when it’s several days in a row of over 40 celsius here in Oz. (That’s 104 F.) The creative side of my brain seems to be in a summer daze while the more practical side is still able to cope with those chores I really have to do.

A lot of the time I consider wasted has been used up attempting to re-format some of my books for Smashwords–I’m not even sure why I bothered except it seems logical they may as well be available in as many places as possible. So far about half of my attempts have succeeded, one with a lot of help from a nice woman at Smashwords, The other half haven’t gone through and I’ve decided not to persevere at the moment; to be honest I can’t be bothered. I’ve had very few sales through Smashwords anyway but there are certain advantages–I’ve been able to make books available free there on a permanent basis, which I’ve chosen to do with ‘What Did You Say?’, which is a very short ebook on grammar and punctuation. There’s also an interview on Smashwords, which is not available on Amazon.

Apart from that, Amazon rules, and, while I may attempt to publish more with Smashwords from time to time, I am NOT wasting too much time, time that could be spent writing, on their crazy formatting.

So instead of writing or re-formatting today, I’ve spent a bit of time adding excerpts to my list of books here, so have a look at my book page. Probably not terribly well formatted–I’ll get to that one day. Or not! I’ve also been to the library for the first time this summer and am planning to waste some time this week reading a novel. Or two. In front of the air conditioner.

Happy Reading.