Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Resting Time & Bootstrap's Journey (Pre-Order Now)

Sometimes, it's important to take a rest or break, and recharge the batteries. At least one person will show surprise to see me write this.

When I finished writing Dead Cell last year, my head brimmed to overflowing with ideas for Books 2 and 3 of the series.

Craig Ramsey's character intrigued me, and I must have hit a winner because my readers enjoy him too. They also like Brianna Cogan. She's a strong female co-lead whose sceptical personality contrasts with Craig's beliefs in psychic phenomena. Brianna even doubts Craig's psychic abilities at first and tries explaining them away with logic. Then there's Emma Fraser, the cheeky Scottish lady who appears in ghost form to Craig. She loves burbling like a two-year-old to Craig and distracts him when he's conversing with other people so they think he's a freak.

So I loved my characters enough I wanted to write more. But time was running out.

 Christmas came. I met an interesting couple. One of them inspired me enough to create even more material, a backstory for Emma. My muse worked overtime in my head.

Writing these ideas proved difficult. So many of them, so little time. My wife and I were expecting our first child soon. Priorities would soon change.

 April came. So did our daughter Harper. Book Two, Demon Blade, was put aside. Harper needed attention from both Mum and Dad. I love our little girl so much, despite sleep deprivation from the two-hourly feeds we gave her - taking turns.

I'm not sure what inspired the new idea. It came from nowhere.

I was either coaxing Harper back to sleep while sitting in the recliner at 2am, or I was sitting on the toilet. But when the inspiration hit, I listened.

The thought of time travel came to mind. Stephen Hawking doesn't believe it possible to travel into the past. Why? Because we'd see those people from the future. Arguing is my strength. So I challenged Hawking in my thoughts. What if they do discover time travel and they don't want us to see them? What if they keep it secret among themselves?

Then something shot through my head. Mark Twain. A song called I Am My Grandpa. The Grandfather paradox; what happens if you travel back in time, meet your granddad as a young man, and kill him before your father is born? What if you ... Oh, that thought was plain nasty. Sleep deprivation is a sick, twisted and terrible beast. But I wondered. How can it happen without wrecking the time-space continuum?

 And, that is how I came to think of Bootstrap's Journey, which is available for pre-order now (at your favourite digital bookstore) before its release on Boxing Day 2017. It's only 99c US for early bird orders. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it.

What's the point of this, you ask? It's not just a shameless plug. My point is: after resting by taking time away from the keyboard (for a little bit) and allowing other ideas to flow, I found my next Craig Ramsey book is falling into place again.


More to come next time soon...

Monday, 25 September 2017

So close...

Sooooo close to the end of writing my novella: a tale of time travel, finding love and its paradoxes. It's presented a rollicking ride to write, and just like reading a great book, I feel frustrated when I have to fold down the laptop at a really exciting point. I'm looking forward to writing more tomorrow and I'm wondering what will happen next! To be continued ...

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Coming Soon in April

We're coming up to April, which is when I'm expecting my first baby to be born. I'd like to celebrate that with you.

Now I'm not saying when Baby's due date is, nor am I revealing the gender at this time. But I am making an offer with my ebook "Dead Cell" for you.

From now until my baby is born, "Dead Cell" will be available at Amazon and Smashwords for only USD$1.99! That's a savings of USD$5.99!

For those who came in late:

DEAD CELL is an action-packed paranormal thriller with suspense dripping from every page. The Queensland city of Statton's road toll has spiked to 85% of the state's average in just over a fortnight. People are dying at the wheel of their car in unexplainable ways: brain haemorrhage's, heart attacks, broken necks. But that is BEFORE the moment of impact. The authorities put it down to misadventure or accidental death, but what do they know?

When psychic investigator Craig Ramsey's adopted teenage daughter dies in one of these accidents, he learns something more sinister has hit the sleepy city of Statton. He has to find a way to work with sceptical Detective-Sergeant Brianna Cogan to investigate this serial killer from beyond the grave. Will he find the killer in time before he ends up a victim himself?

Please hurry! When my baby is born, this special offer will stop. Grab the saving while you can.

This special offer is available only through: Amazon and Smashwords.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Cell-Revenant-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01N08NM2Y
Amazon AUS: https://www.amazon.com.au/Dead-Cell-Revenant-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01N08NM2Y
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Cell-Revenant-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01N08NM2Y

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/679528

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Where is Statton?

Could this be Statton?
"Where is Statton?" Simon's steady gaze demanded an answer.

He's not the first to ask, and he's probably not the last either. The answer started in the 1980's when I first decided to write novels and stories, for fun and profit.

I created three fictional cities and towns, make that four, which I feature in my writing. Banksia Grove, Statton, Dingo Ridge, and Errabunga. There are others I remember now too, but I'll talk about them another time.

Banksia Grove was originally based upon my hometown of Rockhampton. It has the same schools, buildings, and streets as Rocky, only with different names. You see, when I started writing, I used to write myself into the stories. I would be the guy wearing the superhero cape, alter-ego of the nerdy guy - which wasn't far from the truth. Two of my favourite characters I used to write about back then were people I wanted to be. As I wrote more and more, and re-read my work, I realised how dorky it seemed. So, I created a new name for the town.

I think I picked the Grove part from Little House On The Prairie (we used to call it Dunny In The Desert). Banksia came from an Australian plant. It seemed to fit well for a country town that desperately wanted recognition as a city.

Later, I realised that Banksia Grove was too small to cater for all these adventurous stories. It must have been like Smallville, Superman's hometown as a boy, attracting all this trouble. Plus it seemed stupid for a little place to have so much property-destroying action.

So, in 1988, I created the city of Statton - originally based upon Brisbane, only closer to Banksia Grove than Brisbane was to Rockhampton. For those who have read Dead Cell, the name will strike a few memory cells. Since the 1990's, Statton has developed to be a hybrid of Brisbane's CBD and Ipswich.

Errabunga was a beach town, sort of like Maroochydore on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. I named that after my high school sports team; the name was an aboriginal word for fish, I think.

Then I created Dingo Ridge. I never based it on any particular bush town, although that's what it is. You will see it mentioned in one of the "Easter Eggs" I included in Twelve Strokes of Midnight.

Now, the only problem I can see is, what happened to Brisbane and the Gold Coast? I have mentioned them both in Dead Cell, so now I have to figure out exactly WHERE in Queensland they are!

You can find copies of Dead Cell and Twelve Strokes of Midnight on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Apple iBooks.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

My Ebook Library

My wife convinced me to get an e-reader. I had so many books, crammed in a large bookshelf and overflowing from numerous storage boxes. We didn't have enough room for them all, and I couldn't bare to part with them.

So, I acquired a Kobo E-reader from a friend; she had won it and gifted it to me. I'm grateful for it as, using the funds from selling most of my paperbacks, I converted to an electronic reader.

It's hard to believe I am carrying 2000 books on this device, which is lighter than a newspaper!

But do you know what I love about it most?

I can increase its font size, making it easier to read the books!

Do you use an electronic reader at all? What kind? And what do you love about it?

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Pre-Order Now: Bag of Life



"Gibbs literally held his life in his own life. As he clutched the bag, the doll's shape showed through the cloth - arms and legs appearing to struggle for their freedom."

Gibbs used to work on a cotton farm in the early twentieth century, alongside the black workers - descendants of slaves. He enjoyed their company, working alongside them as they sang in the sun. But not all of them were happy.

H'anga felt the white men still oppressed them, making them work for low pay while they collected the profits. He created two dolls, enchanted with ancient black magic that would make examples of the white bosses.

Gibbs and his boss Wilson finally overcame H'anga, killing him before he could kill others — but you can't kill evil curses. And some curses carry a double edge, disguised as a hellish blessing.

The Bag of Life is set for release soon - April 1st 2017 - through Amazon. Pre-order it now, before it gets you! Find it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XJDHJ32


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Does An Author Write Themselves Into Their Stories?

It's a common question. When an author writes about "what they know", are they writing themselves into their story?

I often use the disclaimer: This is a fictitious work. People, places, and events are fictitious. Any similarity is purely coincidental.

To be cheeky: This is a work of fiction, except for the parts that aren't.

Yet, people still fail to see that disclaimer.

While I was writing One Man's Wife, one of the short stories in Twelve Strokes of Midnight, someone I know read it for me. Parts of it were based on me, but not all of them; some were completely fictitious — created purely to entertain the reader. Yes, I wrote it after finishing a long relationship, one through which I endured a lot of pain (besides the good things that were also abundant). Chances are the other half in the relationship felt a lot of pain too.

The person who read the story for me recognised the inspiration but didn't recognise the other parts as fiction. She thought she was reading my inner-most thoughts, mistaking the main character's autophobia (fear of being alone) as mine. I'm not autophobic.

Most of the stories are written in first-person, meaning the narrator is speaking from their experience. One of the stories - Eva - involves an encounter with a vampire that returns every time it snows. Another includes Marilyn Monroe, and so on. I can't say I have known someone who dated Norma Jean, and I definitely don't remember meeting any vampires — not the kind with fangs, anyway!

The same has happened with Dead Cell. One of the main characters, Craig Ramsey, is a psychic detective who can pick up information by touching people or their possessions. He goes to, and performs, at psychic parties and similar events. Yes, I based him upon me... but I also described him as one of my favourite actors, injecting as much of the other personality as I could. I'd rather him get beaten up, even in fiction!

Can you guess who he is?

Sometimes, an author may base characters upon people they know. Sometimes, it's upon an actor; Traci Harding has based character's upon the late Alan Rickman. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, used to imagine himself as the spy's boss, M, sending him to a possible death every mission.

For the most part, although I imagine myself in the characters' roles while writing, I don't write myself into the stories.

But, I am glad if you think so.



All the best,

Chris Johnson
(C) Copyright 2016-2017

PS: It's coming up to the New Year. For a free sample of my writing from Twelve Strokes of Midnight, please sign up for my newsletter. Or tell a friend.