Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


Happy New Year?

It’s the first day of 2017 here in Oz; according to my world clock it’s still last year elsewhere, but Happy New Year wherever and whenever you are!

I sometimes think the millions of dollars spent on New Year celebrations, especially fireworks, is a complete waste of money and could be used more effectively elsewhere. I’ve not been to any of the city firework shows and they look amazing but the effort put in to getting a good spot is ridiculous. People come from all over the world to camp out overnight around Sydney Harbour; one young man from Taiwan, the first in line, had been there from 6 am the morning before New Years Eve. I hope it was worth it for him! I also think all that smoke would drive me nuts, not to mention the crowds. 500,000 people were there, in spite of, or maybe because of, terrorist threats!

I am, of course, a grumpy old woman, and if I was in my twenties and lived in Sydney or any major city, I’d probably be there, drink way too much and regret it the next morning. But I’d have a ball, of course. And to see so many people of all colours, children and adults, enjoying themselves together and loving the spectacle makes me think perhaps it is worth the money. Maybe we should have more such celebrations that everyone can agree on.

When I was a kid, in the country, we always celebrated Guy Fawkes Day with fireworks. Generally there was a vacant block of land somewhere in the neighbourhood and we’d get together with family and friends and write in the air with our sparklers while Dad and the other men lit rockets and wheels that were pinned on to poles and spun around, throwing sparks everywhere. It’s a fond childhood memory, but gatherings like that are now against the law and while a part of me thinks that’s a great pity, the fact that two men died last night using illegal fireworks makes me agree we probably can’t go back to that. I have no idea if anyone was killed back in the days of my childhood from firework accidents although I’m quite sure there were injuries. Now I doubt there could be such a family occasion without alcohol, which would be disastrous.

I enjoyed a celebratory can of bourbon and coke and managed to stay awake long enough to watch the Sydney fireworks on TV and I’m happy with that. I did consider driving into town and standing around watching the fireworks–I live in a regional city and they do put on quite a good show–but my recliner was more appealing. Now the new year is here and Christmas is over and I really must get back to work this week; I have a book half finished and the other half is swirling around in my head! I wish you all a great 2017.

I have a couple of books for the kids free on the 2nd and the 8th of January and I’ll post the links then to my Facebook page or you can check my author pages on or Amazon.UK 


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Snakes and Spiders in the Land of Oz

In case you missed it, here’s a link to the video of a huntsman spider dragging a mouse up a fridge door.

I’m not surprised it’s gone viral; we all love to talk about our creepy crawlies here and to be perfectly honest I’d be pretty freaked out by that sight myself, but I’m easily freaked out by mice anyway. If we had a resident huntsman capable of killing mice I’d be okay with that, though I’d rather he did it in the dead of night. Fortunately we don’t have mice and any huntsmen I see are nowhere near that big.

I didn’t know whether to be amused or . . . what? when I heard some Americans had cancelled their planned holidays to Australia after seeing that video, but given that most of my readers are from USA I thought it worth explaining a few things about our creepy crawlies. Huntsmen, first of all, are common but perfectly harmless, unless you’re an insect. Or a mouse apparently! And they’re not usually that big.

I spent my very early years living in a house surrounded by orange trees, quite a few miles from the nearest town. The little school I went to was also surrounded by trees, or grape vines–I’m not sure now, but I do remember sitting on the ground with my friends eating lunch and drinking rain water from a red plastic mug. The rain water often had wrigglers (mosquito larvae) in it and no doubt a few things we couldn’t see but they didn’t do us any harm.

Most of my schooling was after we moved to a bigger country town–we used to swim in the river and I spent quite a lot of time at the farm when my older sister married a farmer. I’ve also lived in Queensland, both on the beach and inland. Would you like to know how many snakes I’ve seen? Not counting zoos, none!

I’m not suggesting visitors (or anyone)  should run around the  bush barefoot, or approach snakes or spiders to test if they’re venomous, but generally they prefer their own company. I’m hardly an expert of course, just an average Aussie with a healthy respect for our wildlife–I was once kind of attacked by a kangaroo at a park, so my mother tells me, but I don’t remember it. They can actually be quite dangerous, but like most of our wildlife they don’t actually like us much and stay away. So if you want to go Oz but you’re frightened of spiders and snakes just stay in the civilised areas, or go with a tour, and you can be pretty sure they’ll stay away from you.

For details on my books please see my Non-Fiction and Fiction page or visit my Author Pages at or Amazon.UK 


Another attempt at facebook . . . come visit me.

I’m finally succumbed to the nagging of writer friends and have set up an author facebook page at

I’ve had a facebook page for years and spend way too much time there already and I’m not at all sure if I need an author page. For me it’s always been a family thing. My sons actually got me started because they’ve all done a bit of travelling and, rather than sending emails to everyone, they could just post a status and as many photos as they wanted on facebook. Between the five of them, they’ve been to Japan, Mauritius, England, France, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and South America. I may have missed one or two.

My ancestry is British–all over Britain–Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland and I’d love to go there one day–it’s the number one thing on my bucket list but I’ll need to sell a lot of books! Anyone who lives in, or has been to, Australia knows it’s a very long way from the rest of the Western World and a very expensive trip to make. Not to mention it takes, I think 20 something hours. Yuck. I’m not fond of flying and my longest flight so far has been 4 hours, to Perth. Half an hour of fear and three and a half hours of boredom. Make that three. It was kind of interesting at one stage flying over some islands near the Western Australian Coast.

What on earth do people do on a 20 hour flight? Staring out the window at ocean views or clouds would soon wear pretty thin. No doubt my kindle would be useful and I know there’s movies–anything else? I’d be like a little kid–are we there yet?

I’ve also read, and still do, many books set in the English countryside. I’ve even written a couple and it would be good to actually go there and feel the air and see it for myself. Then, of course, like the rest of the world I’ve watched countless movies set in the USA and would love to see some of the places they were made. I’m not talking about Hollywood but the towns and cities where the movies were set.

I’d also like a taste of something less familiar–China is very interesting, as is India. And all of Europe of course–oh what the hell, I’d like to go everywhere!

So I’ve digressed again–back to the facebook thing–I believe I have to collect as many ‘likes’ as possible. This feels like primary school–could you please come visit and ‘like’ my page?