Sunday, 22 April 2018

Review - Sold - by Blair Denholm

This is one of my favourite stories by an Australian - Sold, written by Blair Denholm.

My review:

"Sold fits my warped sense of humour to a T. It's a noir crime thriller centred upon the hapless but resourceful Gary Braswell. He will gamble on anything, even which raindrop reaches the ground first, drinks like a thirsty fish, and this lands him in deep shit with his local bookie Jocko.
You see, Gary owes him a bucket load of cash and has to pay it ... or else. But like any loan shark, Jocko has still more plans for Gary. They're the kind that don't include happy endings, if you know what I mean.
Luckily, Gary has a plan. But it soon lands him in one hell of a mess when he involves his best mate Foss, a Russian to whom he sells four luxury cars and a house, the Russian's wife, and his boss. That's before we even include the Federal Police and other unsavoury characters. I found it hard not to feel sorry for him, even if he does attract trouble like seagulls to a chip.
Sold kept me turning pages that led me deeper into an involved spaghetti of conflicts that the author Blair Denholm weaves like the master he is. And I predict it will keep you rapt and laughing until the final page.
It's well worth the five stars."

You can find it at Amazon or Kobo.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Review - Road To Tamarlin

I recently picked up a copy of Road To Tamarlin by KM Steele. It's a good read, reminding me of some of the classic Australian literature I read so many years ago in high school.

I want to review more Australian works, and so I will include this in my blog for you all.

""Return to Tamarlin" proved a good read for me. While I expected another version of "Jasper Jones", "Return to Tamarlin" stands on its own.

The descriptions reminded me of when I lived in Perth and travelled out to Kalgoorlie for a weekend. I almost wanted to return myself. And the characters carried depth, the kind that suggest the author knows them intimately. These days, not many writers can do that, and it's a credit to K.M. Steele and her passion in sharing this story with her readers.

Pick it up and read it. You'll enjoy it."

Would you like a copy? You can find it on Kobo and Amazon.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Characters - What If?

You have noticed it. Right?

Some people cruise through life with a silver spoon up their arse. Life is easy for them, and everything goes their way. They have the perfect spouse, beautiful kids, and their house sports a sparkling jetty on the river with their own yacht looking pristine and beautiful. And why aren't they caught fucking their hired help in their gigantic mansion?

There we have the lower classes. Some of them are born with hypodermics jutting out of their arm, pumped with poison. Their futures are decided for them by the corporations, the governments, or the illumin-bloody-ati, for all we know. They will be jacking cars on bricks to steal hubcaps, forming gangs that roam the streets like stray dogs, and continuing their hellish cycles.

Or what about the others? I mean the ones doomed to the perpetual rat-race, wake up, sneak to the showers to wash for work, stealing spaces in clogged highway lanes and lining up to collect the pittance from their puppet idiot of a boss. They fight for their wage, fight to keep balance between their work and family and sanity, driving two hours to work to work eight hours a day in a meaningless job before driving two hours home again just to pay for the house they want to live in. And for what?

Whichever you are, I know you have noticed. But have you ever looked and seen the creature hidden behind the curtain? Didn't you know?

You are the character in a movie. Maybe even a book!

For somewhere in another universe, far away from here, yet so close, we each have an author who sits at his or her cosmic typewriter or word processor. He or she sits and ponders, imagines us into existence, before typing with maniacal glee our lives. Perhaps we are the main character in their story. Maybe we're just the fill-in characters.

You know the issue of free will? Dude, that's an illusion. We're all puppets on a string, words crafted into sentences and paragraphs.

They write our world, create our lives, our backstories, and even decide what names our parents give us. They determine our first kisses, our first true loves (if they want to grant that), and they even bequeath us the crappy jobs we'd gladly leave if we could just win the bloody Lotto! Why can't we be Charlie with the Golden Ticket?

The author creates our conversations, gives us the cool one-liners in arguments, sometimes after we have lost the fight, and they shut us down with dialogue from our significant others.

And you know how you go someplace, meaning to do something, and when you arrive, you wonder what you were going to do? That, my friend, is when they backspace over what they originally wrote, making you forget what you were doing.

They determine if you win, lose, or succeed.

Or do they?

You see, I think I found a way out. But it could cost you your current existence. It could be worth it.

What do you reckon?

Are you in?

Copyright (C) Chris Johnson 2018

For tales that stretch your imagination and take you beyond the curtain, visit my author page at

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Time Travel and Rockhampton

Time travel fascinates people.

What would you do if you could travel back in time? Go back to when you were a kid and make things easier? Take $10,000 back to yourself to invest in term deposits, making you a millionaire in the future? Maybe you'd go back and beat up the bullies who hurt you. Or would you go back and kill Hitler before the War began?

As many know, I grew up in Rockhampton, Queensland. Back in the 1980's, we figured nothing happened there and saw the town as a hole. Or at least, I did, and so did some of my friends.

But there's something that brings us back to our birthplaces. It's a power that summons us. And sometimes it's irresistible.

That's how I came to write Bootstrap's Journey. It's a tale based on so many things I loved about growing up in Rockhampton and my fascination with time travel. Some of its characters are based upon people I knew. And the action happens around scenes I saw, visited, and grew up in as a kid.

The houses - based on my grandmother's place and a beach house my parents built. Both places still stand. The Central Queensland University - I studied there, but I took liberties in some descriptions.

The events - they happened in a parallel universe.

So, today, I happened to Google about Time Travel in Rockhampton. I was amazed with this link, pointing to a Morning Bulletin article published not long after Bootstrap's Journey.

Check it out for some fun. And if you haven't read Bootstrap's Journey, please do!

Monday, 15 January 2018

The Who's Behind Bootstrap's Journey

My recently-published novella Bootstrap's Journey is a fun romp through time, travelling from the 2040's to 2017. I'm happy to say it's receiving a great response from readers.

One of them asked where I come up with the names. It's not a new question either as a friend asked me the same question, along with "Where do you get your ideas?" - but that's a tale for another time.

Knowing the story's main theme was around a fish-out-of-water, the fish being a 20-something-year-old's invention of a time machine, I thought of so many other stories with similar themes. But I wanted it to be something different again to stand out. That part I sorted, but the names eluded me.

So I thought of all the names of books on the subject, make it a fun thing for my readers to look at.

I'll give you some clues. One of the characters is named Claire Hilyer. The Christian name comes from Time Traveller's Wife and the surname comes from HG Wells' The Time Machine. Hilyer is the name of the book's narrator, a name often missed and forgotten.

See if you can guess where Tony Nowlan's name comes from. I'll give you a clue. You will have to look towards the 25th Century...

I'll give you the answer next week!

Bootstrap's Journey can be purchased at Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play and other great digital bookstores online.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

A Town Called Rockhampton

Many years have passed since I left my hometown of Rockhampton. There was a time when I could see myself living there until my dying day. But life happened.
One of my high school friends once called it a hole. Another friend said: there's no life there, only existence.
But it suited my purposes while I lived there. I enjoyed growing up a car trip away from the beach at Yeppoon; visiting my maternal grandparents at Zilzie (a suburb in Emu Park) and fishing with my Granddad in his boat. There I had my education in school and Central Queensland University. Rockhampton is where I cut my teeth as an entertainer, and that was when I realised Rocky's shortcomings and lack of opportunities.
So I left as soon as I found a job in Brisbane. I'd nearly left two years before that, but ... Well, that doesn't matter now.
Rockhampton, despite my thoughts on it, still possesses a rich historical past. It was once the Beef Capital, was almost Queensland's capital, nearly became the border for the Japanese in WW2, and much more. As I said, it provided for me in the first twenty-five years of my life. My early stories were based in a town based upon it (Banksia Grove) and I wanted to give it a nod.
A touch of romance, science-fiction, and thrilling adventure with time travel.
That nod is in my novella, Bootstrap's Journey, which is available at Amazon, Kobo, Apple iBooks, and Google Play.
What would you do if you received a letter from your high school crush, written before you were born?

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...