Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


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Life Without Power

There’s been massive storms in the last day or two, especially in South Australia, where the whole state was left with no electricity and several thousand homes are still without power. Commiserations to all South Aussies! The storm was forecast to hit us in Victoria last night but nothing happened; now they’re saying some time today but it won’t be as severe as it was in SA. I quite like storms but not blackouts. No-one likes blackouts, except maybe burglars.

Most of us have had the experience of being without electricity for an hour or two; it’s inconvenient and, mostly, boring. If the weather’s okay you can go out, although driving can be a bit risky if the traffic lights are out of action. Have you ever considered how your life would change if the power never came back on?

A few years ago something happened to the gas supply–I forget what, but it was a big deal. Big enough that we had no gas for a couple of weeks. Our house runs mainly on electricity but we do have gas heating and hot water; I don’t think it was particularly cold and we were lucky we have an electric stove and were able to heat water for baths but it wasn’t much fun. There were a few public places with electric hot water systems that allowed people to use their showers and we went to the nearest one, the jockeys’ showers at the race track! It was clean I suppose, but pretty awful and once was enough for me.

I have no idea how I’d survive without electricity though; no stove, no fridge or freezer, no air-conditioner, no TV, no computer, no internet. My phone would work for a little while on 4G but how would I recharge it? When I was a child most of those things didn’t matter and when my mother, who’s now 96, was a child, most of those things didn’t exist and those that did weren’t in every home. People were a lot more self-sufficient. I’m not pining for that kind of lifestyle at all–I like my comforts–but it’s a little scary to think just how dependent we are on other people and machines.

I doubt I’d be writing at all if I had to use a manual typewriter, let alone selling books to be read on kindles on the other side of the world!

For details of my books please see my ‘Fiction and Non-Fiction Page‘ or my Author pages at Amazon.com and Amazon.UK.


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FREE SHORT STORY

Winter, or at least autumn, is here at last; we’ve had quite a bit of rain and very little sunlight this week. Lovely after a long, hot and dry summer. Whether you’re curled up in front of the fire or soaking up the sun on your outdoor lounge here’s a gift for you: The Runt of the Litter, from my short story collection. My short stories, like my novels, are over a large range of genres–that’s the way I like to read as well!

 

 

RUNT OF THE LITTER

© Christine Gardner

 

The boy stood at the edge of the cliff, staring at the waves smashing onto the rocks far below him. His coat, handed down from his father, flapped around his ankles in the roaring wind. Hugh was small for twelve and an onlooker would think he was in grave danger of losing his footing and slipping over the edge at any moment, but he was accustomed to the wind and had stood in this same spot far too many times since the death of his father four years earlier.

Before his father’s death, Hugh and his sister and brothers would never go anywhere near the cliff top; their father built a wall of rocks to keep his children and his sheep safe from the dangerous precipice. Since his death the wall had crumbled somewhat from the harsh and icy winds raging across the Atlantic Ocean and the cliff top had become a sanctuary of sorts for Hugh; a place of quiet isolation. Away from his stepfather.

His mother, Bridget, had married her childhood sweetheart, John McIntyre, when she was pregnant with Hugh and his birth was followed quickly by that of his twin brothers, Andrew and David. However they managed it, there were no more children for four years, until the arrival of Eliza, the apple of her father’s eye.

John and Bridget were content enough; at least Bridget thought they were. It was true, as all the villagers said, that  they didn’t have two pennies to rub together, but they always managed to feed the children; Bridget was very good at making a hearty soup from potatoes and mutton bones with the addition of a few herbs from her garden.

John, she found out one day, was not so content; he was worried about the future of their family. Eliza would marry a decent man, someone who could take care of her properly; John would make damn sure of that, but the boys could never make a living for all three of them on the little farm. They would want to marry and have families of their own—it simply was not possible. If he, John, though, were to go to Dublin for a few months? Just during the winter, when there was not much to be done here; the boys could take care of it, with a little help from their mother, then he could buy that plot of land Old O’Neill wanted to get rid of.  They could have a proper farm; even if he had to spend every winter at the Dublin mills for ten years, it would be worth it.

Bridget was horrified; she begged him not to go. She’d heard stories about the mills and about Dublin; it was not safe. And she couldn’t manage without him here. The boys were not old enough; she would be frightened without him. Eliza was just a baby. All her pleading did no good. Once John McIntyre made up his mind to do a thing it was as good as done.

She packed him a bag with a change of clothes and some mutton and bread and he filled his belly with her wholesome soup before he left. The children all woke to see him off on the trusty old chestnut, Sal.

He was found later that day by a farmer on the way home from market, by the side of the muddy road. Sal was nowhere to be seen and in fact was never seen again, at least not by the McIntyres. Someone, no doubt, had found a use for the animal. It seemed something must have frightened her and she’d thrown her beloved master into a nearby ditch, where he’d lain for several hours before the farmer came upon him.

“Are you all right?” the farmer had asked. The fellow had just looked at him, he told everyone later at the Old Cock Inn. He was trying to talk, but couldn’t manage it and then, that was it. “He just gasped for air, but couldn’t get none, like. He were a goner. Knew that soon as I saw him, of course.”

They’d buried him the next day and it was six months later when Bridget had succumbed to Jamie’s O’Donnell’s efforts at seduction. Or at least his persuasion—he could provide for her and all her children and, as he kept telling her, she clearly could not. She had no family left and John’s parents, who lived many miles south, were dirt poor and could never take them in. Since Jamie’d bought Old O’Neill’s bit of land next door the farm was now a reasonable size and he worked the boys hard to make sure it was in good shape.

Not that he was a shirker himself—everyone said Jamie O’Donnell would never ask anyone to do anything he’d not do himself. Of course Jamie was thirty-eight and he expected Hugh, at nine years old, to work as hard as he did. He was only slightly easier on the twins, who were eight, but taller than Hugh, who he always called the runt of the litter. And laughed every time he said it. That was the thing that annoyed Hugh the most—the laugh.

The beatings he could put up with—the continual bullying, both verbal and physical. The verbal was even a source of amusement at times, since he was well aware of his stepfather’s shortcomings in the areas of communication. Bridget’s grandfather had been the village parson and both John and Bridget saw value in reading, value in broadening the mind beyond the cottage, beyond the small village. They’d insisted all their children learn to read and write and Hugh had a stash of his father’s books hidden away. Jamie was not able to read and therefore did not want anyone else to read, especially in his house. Occasionally, just to taunt his stepfather, Hugh would use words he knew the man would not understand, to speak to his brothers, and they would look slyly at each other and grin when they thought he wasn’t looking.

He would become furious, of course, and Bridget would chastise them, but she couldn’t hide the smile, and the pride, in her eyes. Unfortunately Jamie saw it as well and would as likely hit her as the boys. None of them were safe from his jealous anger.

It was his little sister Hugh was most worried about. His mother, he figured, had made her bed and she must lie on it. He and the boys, well, they could put up with it for a few years; they’d talked about leaving, but knew they’d have to be older before they’d get a living wage anywhere. And they were reluctant to leave Eliza until she was a bit older.

She was eight years old when she first felt the back of her stepfather’s hand. It was also the last time. Eliza barely remembered her father; her brothers had told her about him and he was like a mythical creature in her mind—somewhere between a prince on a white horse and a unicorn—so Jamie O’Neill was her father, to all intents and purposes.

Bridget and Eliza were cooking and the little girl was excited to be able to use her mother’s knife for the first time, to peel the potatoes. Her stepfather came in just as she dropped a roughly peeled and chopped potato into the soup pot and he grabbed it out and looked at it.

“What do you call that?”

“A potato?” Her bottom lip quivered.

He threw it at her. “That’s a disgrace!” He looked at Bridget, already cowering in anticipation. “D’you expect me to eat that? It’s half peel and half dirt! Are you trying to kill me?”

“She’s just learning,” she said softly. “She has to start somewhere, Jamie.” She smiled at her daughter and handed her another potato. “Just let me check it before you put it in the pot this time.”

Jamie was not about to let it go though. “She’s bloody useless, that’s what she is. Just like her mother.” He looked the little girl up and down. “And what’s she wearing? That dress is too short for her. She looks like a little whore. Is that what you’re training her for?”

Eliza sat as still as she could, given her frail little body was shaking. She knew her dress was too short but Ma always said there was no money for fabric to make another. Tears rolled down her cheeks but she made no sound; she knew better than to make a fuss. Nonetheless his rough and enormous hand swiped across her face and Bridget stood up, shocked into action.

“Jamie!” She held her sobbing daughter to her chest and the tiny kitchen was suddenly filled with boys and noise and chaos and they were all yelling and they were not boys any more.

Jamie was hitting out randomly at whoever was close enough and he was massive in that room. He roared like a giant and Eliza’s sobs were drowned out and lost in the racket.

David picked up the poker from its place beside the fire and hit out wildly with it. Jamie laughed as it missed him and connected with the table. He was in his element; he loved a good fight and it was about time these little shits grew up and had a go.

When he saw Hugh take the poker from his younger brother he laughed even louder. “Oh ho, the runt’s going to have a go, is he?” He pulled his fist back to hit out at the boy but Hugh was quicker.

He took a deep breath and gripped that poker with an iron grip; he swung out at everything that was wrong with his life, at everything he hated. He brought the poker down on that hated head and silenced the laughter forever. Silenced the torment, silenced the bullying, silenced everything.

Bridget screamed when Jamie hit the floor; his face was a bloody mess and she knelt down beside him and put her head to his chest. Suddenly she was a widow again; she felt helpless. But when she looked up at her sons, at Hugh standing somehow taller, towering over her, backed by his brothers, and her daughter also staring at her brother with something like adoration, she realized she was not alone. Hugh was in charge.

“What will we do?” she asked him.

“Just take Eliza to your room, Ma,” he said quietly. “We’ll set things to right.”

The twins followed Hugh’s instructions and dragged the heavy body through the kitchen door to the cold and welcoming wind outside. They left him there while they cleaned up the blood on the kitchen floor so Ma and Eliza didn’t have to look at it.

It took some time to drag him all the way to the cliff and all the strength they had to hoist him over the crumbling rock wall. When they finally got to the cliff edge Hugh told them to leave the rest to him and to go back to help Ma and Eliza.

They were disappointed and relieved, in just about equal measure, and obediently returned to the cottage.

Hugh wanted to spend some time thinking, on his own. He wanted this moment to be a ritual; he knew he would remember every moment always and he wanted to remember it with pride.

So he stood there for several minutes—fifteen or more, with the wind whipping around him. He felt strong—invincible—and he knew he could do anything now.

He wasn’t shocked when he heard a groan from the heap beside him, only mildly surprised the man was still alive. And rather pleased. He now had the satisfaction of knowing that Jamie O’Neill would know his fate as he tumbled down to the rocks. And would know he’d been dispensed with, easily enough, by the runt of the litter. The last sound, apart from that of the waves crashing below, that Jamie heard before he met his maker was the sound of laughter—not his own this time.

 

FOR MORE INFO ON ALL MY BOOKS CHECK OUT MY BOOK PAGE OR MY AUTHOR PAGES ON AMAZON.COM OR AMAZON UK.

They are available now on Amazon’s Australian site and digital copies are also on Apple, Kobo and others through Draft to Digital, as well as Google Play.

 


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Good bye and good riddance, Daylight Saving

This morning saw the end of daylight saving for now; it will unfortunately be back some time in spring. I’ve never been a fan and I’m always pleased to see the end of it. Given that we live in a hot country and most of us whinge about the heat in the summer I don’t know why we choose to extend the hot days and have less of the cool nights.

Yes, I am aware we don’t actually change the length of the days, just our clocks, but summer itself does that already. I don’t have to rush off to a job in the mornings and I no longer have little kids to force in to bed when the sun’s still shining, so it doesn’t affect me as much as it does some. I had a particular hate for it when my kids were little.

As far I can fathom, longer summer evenings are nice for those who live in the cities and have to commute some distance for work, but they’re going to be going home in the dark in winter anyway, so may as well get used to it, hey? Mid summer sunset without daylight saving is closer to  8 than 7, I think, so plenty of time for most workers to get home. Wouldn’t that extra hour in bed in the morning, when you’re finally cool and comfortable, be more appreciated than in the heat of a summer evening?

Queensland and Western Australia, I believe, both had trial runs of daylight saving and decided they didn’t want it–interesting that they’re both very large areas of land with smaller cities than the southern states. I do think it’s the city folk that make the decisions for the rest of us here in Victoria, because more people live in the capital city, Melbourne, than the rest of the state. In Queensland it’s the country population that’s bigger than that in their capital city, Brisbane, so city folk there don’t have as much influence.

Well, that’s my whinge out of the way for now and yes, we do have bigger concerns, I agree. On the subject of my home country, I’m delighted to see Australian readers have found me on Amazon! I’ve been published there since 2012 but almost all sales have been in the US and UK, with just a few at home. Since I published the last book of my Red Dust series, set in Outback Australia, my sales here have grown tenfold! Thanks everyone!

For sales and all details on my books please visit my Amazon Author Page, or here for UK readers. 

 

 


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Who’s been sleeping in whose bed?

I recently wrote a blog on the misuse of the apostrophe with possessive pronouns; I’ve just realised I missed ‘whose’, which is another word that causes problems for some. The rule is the same–if you’re using an apostrophe you need to understand what it’s for. If the word you’re using is ‘who’s’ the meaning is ‘who is’ or ‘who has’: “Who’s going to take the rubbish out?” (Who is going to take the rubbish out?)

If you want to indicate possession the correct term is ‘whose’: “Whose rubbish is it?” (Who does the rubbish belong to?) When we know the owner of the rubbish we do use an apostrophe: “It’s Jimmy’s rubbish. He can take it out.” When we know whose it is but not his name, we might point to the owner and say: “It’s his rubbish.” No apostrophe is needed in his, whose, or its when used as a possessive pronoun. An apostrophe always indicates something missing and, for those of you who didn’t read my previous blog on apostrophes, the practice dates back to an old form of English when possession was written in a more complicated way. To indicate possession a writer would have to say “Jim, his rubbish,” and we now use an apostrophe to replace that pronoun ‘his’. (Jim’s rubbish)

A lecturer told me that when I was at uni and whether it’s actually true or not it’s quite a useful way of remembering which is the correct form of ‘its, whose, and their.’ For more easy to understand help on grammar I have a free ebook on Smashwords.

It’s Good Friday here today and autumn at last! I think we’re all happy to see the end of summer. Autumn is lovely here in central Victoria but with such a late start it won’t be long before we’re complaining about the cold! Time to curl up with a good book in front of the heater. My sci-fi for young adults, Sanctuary, is FREE today only at Amazon and I have others coming up free next month, Beast of War, Connections, and The Inheritance so keep checking in. For all info on my books on Amazon check out my Author Page.

 

 


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Thanks for all the suggestions on Hell and Fury.

Late last year I asked for title suggestions for a novel inspired by a child murder case in 1910 Australia. I lost count of the BookCoverImageher fleshandbloodnumber of replies I had, mostly through Linkedin, but I wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions. My original title was ‘No Hell Nor Fury’, which had about as many positive as negative responses. One kind person suggested I check Amazon to see how many similar titles were already there and that was the main reason I changed it. I called it ‘Her Flesh and Blood’ which is a little more ambiguous and I prefer that. There were no other books on Amazon with that title at the time–might be now! Anyway that’s available now and I feel at last, after a thesis, a non-fiction book, and now a fictionalized account, that I’ve exorcised that horrific crime from my brain. To some extent.

My latest publication is another kids’ book which is a welcome change from all that and is free on Amazon from 23 to 27 February, ‘No-one’s Good at Everything’. It consists of 2 stories–one’s an adventure about Billy, who loses his mother on a train and gets into all sorts of trouble trying to find her again and the other’s about Sophie, who’s the only one in her family not good at sport. All her friends are good at sport and so is her little sister, but Sophie dreads playing sport at school because she’s just not good at it. Positive reviews would be appreciated!

My last publication was a rural romance, Stony Creek, which is selling well, and I’m currently working on something which will probably be more suited to lovers of horror–I do like to mix it up–but I’m not even sure myself yet where it’s going. The characters will let me know–all I can say now is that they’re teenagers and they’re about to have a seance. I have an idea it won’t go well for some-one.

It’s been a lazy summer for me–too hot to get my brain going–but I think the worst is over now and I hope to get back to work this week. Summer’s officially over in four days and autumn is just around the corner. I love autumn and although all the trees in my garden are evergreens there are plenty around town that are just stunning in autumn. I think Bendigo’s at its best then.

I notice there’s been a lot of new interest in an old blog of mine about a writing challenge, ‘Write a paragraph beginning with “It was a dark and stormy night”.’ Do you think we should start another challenge?


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Problems with Smashwords! Amazon’s looking easy.

I’m in the process of publishing all my books on Smashwords, one at a time, as their KDP Select runs out on Amazon. I knew I was up for some re-formatting but some were already on there–I’d just archived them and only had to open them up again. Easy, right? Ha! If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about self-publishing, nothing is easy!Stony_Creek_Cover_for_Kindle

It may be something to do with Apple, which apparently is where we all want to be published. Something about their requirements with TOCs or whatever. Blah blah blah. I might just forget about it all for a while. Is it a waste of time? Time I could, maybe should, be spending writing? I’ve had very few sales on any of my Smashwords stuff and the same books sell pretty well on Amazon but I like the idea of having them available everywhere. I suppose I’ll figure it out eventually. Feels a bit like housework now. Something that needs to be done and I might feel a sense of achievement when it is finally finished, but then I’ll just have to do it all over again the next time and if no-one sees it is there any point?

We’re in for a week in the high 30s to low to mid 40s Celsius, about 102 to 109 F for those of you who don’t speak Celsius. It’ll be horrible but we do have an air-conditioner so I can’t complain too much. I plan to spend most of the week in the lounge room, hopefully writing, not torturing myself with Smashwords. I’ll have to get that done though–having anything half-done gnaws away at me and I cannot forget about it. Of course I also have two stories under way as well which are nagging me a bit. Quite a bit.

I’m well aware of the horrible weather some of you in the US and UK have been enduring, with ice and floods, so sorry to be whining about a bit of heat. I hope things are improving for you if you’re in an affected area.

I hope to have my book, Her Flesh and Blood, up next week. It’s a fiction story based on a murder trial in Australia, in 1910, and I enjoyed writing it. I also enjoyed writing Stony Creek, which is an outback romance I published a few weeks ago. It’s doing quite well, so thanks to you if you’ve read it.


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Spring at last in Oz!

It’s been a long dreary winter and although we had a good start to spring it didn’t last long. Today it’s finally looking like spring–the forecast is for 26c (78.8f) and the sun is shining. I should add I don’t represent all of Australia here, just one little spot on the map.

I’m not a fan of summer and soon I’ll be complaining it’s too hot, but spring is lovely–even my garden, neglected as it is, is brimming with flowering shrubs and buzzing with bees. The streets are lined with blossoming trees and everyone is out and about with their dogs enjoying the sunshine. Which reminds me I must take our mutt for a walk too. Poor thing doesn’t get out much when it’s wet and cold.

Does the weather affect your mood? I know some people are seriously affected when the sun doesn’t shine for weeks on end but I think it’s a bit depressing for most of us. I love a good thunderstorm and it’s nice and cosy sitting in front of the heater on a cold rainy day but after a few days like that I’m really longing for some sunshine.

I slipped over on the kitchen floor last week and sprained my finger. A silly little accident that has kept me away from writing for a week. It’s almost healed now and I need to get back into writing mode. It’s too easy to get used to chilling out and doing nothing–well, it is for me anyway.


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Easter Weekend

Next weekend is Easter–a big weekend here for tourists and locals, especially if they have children. We have lots of activities revolving around egg hunts as well as rides for all ages. This used to be in the main street, where traffic was blocked off for 3 days and made the whole centre of town a carnival but it’s been moved to a sporting oval not far away. I think it’s a pity because the street carnival was a point of difference and with two separate processions in the street as well, it was quite an event. I must admit though I haven’t been to the main procession for years; once my boys grew out of it I was happy to give it a miss. I did attend the torchlight procession a couple of years ago for the first time with my grandson and enjoyed seeing it through his eyes.

The Chinese lions and dragons are the most exciting part of both processions, especially for the children of course. Bendigo has a predominantly Caucasian population now but there were many Chinese miners here in the 19th century and their presence lives on with the dragons and an excellent Chinese museum.

I don’t expect to be going to the carnival this year but you never know. We’re going to an outdoor wedding on the Saturday and I’m just hoping the weather holds up for that, never mind the carnival! Autumn weather is tricky at the best of times with beautiful sunshine one day and rain the next.

I’ve been reading through some of the reviews on my Amazon site; isn’t it odd how people can read the same book and interpret it in totally different ways? When you put your work out there you have to be prepared for all sorts of opinions. Fortunately most are positive. I suppose it’s like food–our taste-buds are all different somehow. I’ve recently bought a kindle and have availed myself of quite a few stories on the free list at Amazon. Before I download anything I read one or two reviews and then the sample as well as the blurb. If I don’t like the writing style or the story doesn’t grab me straight away I don’t bother. If I do read a story I like I will be sure to post a good review but if I don’t like it I’ll keep it to myself. Self-published writers need all the help they can get and if you like a story it only takes a few minutes to write a review.

Happy Easter and happy reading.


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And here’s winter . . . What happened to autumn?

I warned you I’d soon be complaining about the cold instead of the heat but this is ridiculous! It’s 13 Celsius at the moment (55 Fahrenheit) and I’m barely resisting the urge to turn the heater on. This time last week we had the air-conditioner on every day and night with temperatures consistently in the 30s (80s to high 90s Fahrenheit). Glad to be rid of that but hopefully we’ll have a few nice autumn days before the worst of winter hits. Anyway enough complaining about the weather.

St Patrick’s Day yesterday. My son plays in an Irish band so we went and watched them for a while; part of the road outside one of the local Irish pubs was blocked off and they had a stage set up outside. Quite a few people there, most wearing silly green hats or something green at least. Good to see families and old people as well as younger ones all enjoying the music.

My ancestry is 25% Irish, although I only found that out recently. I was pretty sure I was a mix of British bits and pieces but when I started tracing my family history, using a couple  of online resources, I had no luck finding anything on my father’s mother. She died the year before I was born and Dad’s father died long before her, so they were somewhat of a mystery to me.

One day I received an email from a distant relative who’d come across my details on ancestry.com and knew quite a bit about my grandmother–I was thrilled to get that kind of information and now know I have that 25% Irish blood! I also have 25% Welsh and the rest is a mix of Scottish and English so a good mixture.

I’ve been amazed at the emails that arrive out of the blue. Not just my family history but also history relating to families that have some connection to my book, Not Guilty. I put an ad in a Melbourne paper years ago to try to find out if Camellia, the mother in the story, had any family out there. Since the story is set in 1910 I was pretty sure I could publish whatever I liked but as it’s not a pleasant story I wanted to speak to her descendants if she had any.

It was years later an email arrived from a man who married the niece of Camellia’s second partner. Quite a surprise! Since then I’ve had emails from her first partner’s grand-daughter and the niece of the woman he was having an affair with . . . it goes on and on. Fascinating to me and they were able to give me information and photographs I hadn’t seen before, most of which I agreed not to publish. They were also able to tell me that she has no descendants herself. I was also able to give them a lot of information they didn’t have of course, having spent years researching the murders. I’m hoping to put some other photos on my Amazon Author page, am currently waiting for permission.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Not Guilty is available on Amazon, both as an ebook and a paperback, https://www.amazon.com/author/christinemgardner.  I’m hoping to put it up for a free day in April and I’ll announce it here.

See you later.


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Goodbye Summer . . . and good riddance.

It’s been autumn for a couple of weeks now, but only in theory. With nights over twenty degrees Celsius and days ranging from 32 to 36 it’s hard to believe. Now however it looks as if summer is finally over, with temperatures  forecast under 30 for the next week or so. I live in Central Victoria in Australia and autumn is my favourite time of year–partly because I’m always glad to see the end of summer but also because the trees changing colour are just so beautiful and the weather is perfect until winter. (Then I’ll complain about that too.)

I have no right to complain, I know. So many areas of our country have been destroyed this summer with bush-fires and floods and we’re very lucky where we live to have had no such problems this year. The climate is relatively mild and I live in a large regional town which has just about everything we need, although a beach would be nice. As would a river. And perhaps if we could just move it all a hundred kilometres closer to Melbourne. Not that I’m particularly fond of Melbourne–I’m a country girl and have no desire to live in the city but three of my sons live there and it would be nice to be a bit closer to them.

Like many towns in Central Victoria Bendigo began with a gold mining boom, back in the mid 19th century, and much of the history written about the area relates to mining and the benefits and problems that came with that. There are still many miners’ cottages and much grander dwellings of those who did very well from Bendigo gold, as well as some beautiful public buildings.

By the arrival of the 20th century the town became less a collection of diggings and more a civilized township, with a shopping centre and theatre, as well as public transport in the form of trams, which still operate today.

In 1910, Camellia McCluskey and her de facto, George, settled on the outskirts of town, in an area known as Ironbark. The story of Camellia is not such a well-known part of Bendigo’s history. The house where they lived still stands and the grave where their children are buried is marked with a small plaque. Their story is both tragic and fascinating and I have written it using both public records and the newspapers of the day, which make compelling reading. Not Guilty is available at Amazon, both as an ebook and as a paperback, at https://www.amazon.com/author/christinemgardner

Not Guilty.

Not Guilty.