Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Are You My Daddy?

This is an unusual post for me. It's about you, a bit about me, and how we fit.
Two weeks ago, I took my 2yo daughter who loves playing outside to the park. There's a certain tiny swing she loves that's suspended by two chains under a slide. It's unstable to sit upon, can tip either way. And it's high. But she keeps trying.
Ever the daredevil, she lunged across it, probably meaning to hang by her stomach. But she went too far, sliding headfirst to the ground.
Luckily, I caught her before she hit her head. And oblivious to the danger, she happily went to try again. Such a daredevil.
Another little girl saw this.
There was another little girl, of about five or six, watching. She said, "It's lucky you were watching. She's too small for that swing." Then the girl looked across the playground towards her father, probably aged late thirties. "I like how you play with your little girl. My Daddy's too boring." Meanwhile, her father is busily scrutinising his phone's screen as though his life depended on it.
I offered a weak defence for her father's benefit. Something like, "Oh, I'm sure he sees more than you know." But inside, I knew the truth.
Then earlier this week, I saw a post from one of my favourite Australian authors. In reply to about question about Facebook on phones, she replied: I only use my phone for taking photos.
Really? No social media? No email?
That's virtually unheard of, even for people my generation and older. Yet, there it was!
Then I remembered something from her novel - Immortal Bind. A scene where an author's adult daughter laments how her mother spent no time with her children when they grew up.
Traci (the author) was saying something, not just to authors who love burying themselves in their creative work, but for everyone. Live your life!
The Universe acts in strange ways. Not long after that thunderbolt, I started my digital detox. But the Universe wasn't letting me get away with it so easily. A radio show with Carrie Bickmore introduced a Resilience Coach who also specialised in digital detox - helping people to disconnect from social media so they can reconnect with life.
Cut to last Sunday...
I'm at the park with my little girl again. And I look around at the other parents with their children. Of the eight parents I counted, not counting myself, only two were participating with their kids. The rest weren't even there consciously; their brains were absorbed by their phones.
Since when are the thoughts of so-called friends, who we have never met, so important they can steal us from our real friends, our families, our own lives?
Normally, a parent will ask down the track where the time has gone. But these parents will wonder who these new adults are, and why they call them Mum or Dad.
Dead Cell - A psychic thriller guaranteed to keep you off the phone.
Available at Amazon now















Monday, 15 October 2018

Inspiration Comes From...?

It is 44 days until DEMON BLADE hits the electronic bookshelves.

Already some friends and readers have asked me what inspired me to write about a serial killer based upon Jack the Ripper.

My answer: Jack the Ripper was only one identity of this killer. There were many more, and possibly, there will be many more. For the creature in DEMON BLADE is older than old. It's ancient, and being drenched in prehistoric legend, it has always been with us.

For there is more to DEMON BLADE than the killer. Every beast has its hunter, and that hunter has a story. I have written that hunter's story as well, but DEMON BLADE is a mere peek into that hunter's life.

But why has this person (a term I use loosely) chosen to devote an entire existence that spans most of humanity's lifetime in "Jack's" pursuit? What could drive that obsession? And what happened along the way?

The hunter's story fascinated me the most. I found myself immersed in Babylonian history, Iraq's ancient civilisation, and even Mesopotamian culture while researching. This hunter even appears in Greek tales, although not in the way it really happened. For there are bigger parties at play in this tale than people realise. Conspiracy reigns behind the scenes all the way.

While I'd love to divulge the full story right now, I won't.

You will have to find out in DEMON BLADE, for until then, my nervous fingers will remain silenced.

DEMON BLADE is available on pre-order now from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple iTunes, Google Play, and other great e-bookstores.


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

If You Came In Late

If you have read Dead Cell, you will remember bits and pieces seemed to hang loose like an empty noose in the air.

One particularly strange piece was when Craig Ramsey's adopted nephew Tyrone received a visit from a dark spirit. It said there was only one way to catch his sister who had been murdered before his eyes in the drivers seat beside him.

Then after that, Tyrone "disappeared". He was rarely home when Craig came back, and then there was the ending when Craig picked up his mobile phone to read the text...

Well, the answer to that awaits in Demon Blade. What happened to Tyrone?

I had written a scene which described what happened to Tyrone, his thoughts, the things that flashed through his mind in those moments. But it never made the final version of Demon Blade.

But I have included it so ONLY the readers of my newsletter can see. It will be published next week for them.

You can see it too, if you hurry, and if you're not too late....

Come along now and click this link for more.


You can find Dead Cell and Demon Blade at any good bookstores by clicking below.


Monday, 1 October 2018

The End - Sweet Beginnings

THE END.

They're the words a lot of authors enjoy reaching after labouring for a year on their masterpieces. It marks the end of creation, the stress of maintaining a novel's continuity, knocking out the perfect words and phrases, and the telling of a story in a way we hope readers enjoy.

But when I reach those words, I also think about how it's like the days when I would finish a school year. Summer break is about to begin, Christmas is coming, and I won't see my friends until the new year when we start all over again. These particular friends, however, are the characters: Craig Ramsey, the sassy spirit companion Emily Fraser, and the tenacious while beautiful Brianna Cogan. The three form the perfect dynamics for each other, and I love them heaps.

That's who I feel after finishing the final draft for Demon Blade. Soon the exams will begin when the book hits the digital shelves at all good e-bookstores and maybe even the shelves of brick-and-mortar stores with the paperbacks.

Demon Blade picks up shortly after the events in its prequel Dead Cell.

A demonic serial killer is terrorising the red-light and stripper joints of Statton. But this isn't any normal murderer. This is a killer with ancient beginnings and many faces, one of which was Jack the Ripper from Victorian London. And this ancient demon carries a secret that links him with our intrepid Craig Ramsey's past. The thriller contains sassy ghosts, some old and some new, and two mysterious new characters.

It's due for release now at all good e-bookstores (incuding Amazon, Kobo, Apple iTunes, Google Play Books, and more).



This October...


Books by Chris Johnson

This October, expect to find something under your bed!

Confront the mysterious and unknown with Twelve Strokes of Midnight

Pursue a killer from beyond the grave in Dead Cell

Track the many faces of Jack the Ripper before he catches you in Demon Blade

Travel back in time to before your birth in Bootstrap's Journey

You can do all this and more with the books found at https://books2read.com/ap/RavAKn/Chris-Johnson


Saturday, 2 June 2018

Interruption

I’m feeling happy and frustrated at the same time.

My current Work In Progress, Demon Blade, is nearly complete. I’m halfway through the last chapter after the climax. All plot points are almost tidied, apart from two I will deliberately leave open.

Then the bell rings. It’s time to re-enter life. And I itch to return and finish the rest.

Sometimes writing is like reading. There’s nothing like an interruption during a good bit. :)




Saturday, 12 May 2018

To Credit Or Not To Credit - That Is The Question

Some know I work as an entertainer. A mentalist, I read minds on stage, bend spoons, and perform a range of other things that require concentrated use of trained mental ability.

As a performer, originality is a big thing. Ask a songwriter or poet. Ask a comedian or even a magician. We each have our signature moves or pieces because they help us stand out from the crowd. Because although we are a community and love each other, we still compete hard with each other. Originality is important. It's like a fingerprint.

When we hear of someone else performing something we created, a strange feeling comes over us.

Years ago, I created a performance piece and crafted it around something that happened in my childhood. I named my childhood friend in its storyline, telling how we played noughts and crosses together in class instead of studying. My friend has since died, so a lot of love for my friend exists in the performance because I remember those good old days.

Then I received an email from a client in South Australia. "I saw this kid perform this illusion of yours here. He even uses the same scripting." My client included a YouTube link, which my copycat had created and claimed as his own.

I felt like someone extract my guts through my nostrils! Some punk had stolen my work. I didn't mind him performing it, but he included the story of my friend and me as if it was his to tell!

So I contacted him. We argued back and forth until I pulled out the legal card. By all means perform it, but if you don't change the names, your arse is mine to force through the blender. Give me credit.
He realised his error, and he apologised. We've grown a semblance of a friendship since.

Now, the other day, another writer asked me about using lyrics in her novel. She told me the song and how she believed it would fit in her book. I think it's a lovely idea. But she wanted to know the legal way to do it.

If only the young man I mentioned earlier had done that!

And the antagonist in my upcoming release of Demon Blade hums and croons a tune too, every time he stalks and kills a victim. It's the last thing they hear before they die.

How do I go about getting that permission?

The answer is simple. No, you don't include lyrics in your work without permission. Someone else wrote them, someone else placed a lot of effort into creating it, and you can end up in big trouble.
Maybe you can escape notice for some time before people catch up, but do you really want Sir Paul McCartney picking up your book and loving it... until he sees the lyrics for Live And Let Die laughing back at his face?

Who do you ask for permission? The singer and writers? Well, you could ask, they might give it to you. But they're not the ones who won't come grabbing for your wallet via your jugular.

You need to ask the publishers, the writers, the co-writers, etc. They will charge your for it. Sometimes it's a lot of money. Other times, it's not. Usually, they charge you per copy you expect to sell.

That is, they may charge you something like $5 per copy for 1,000 copies for a whopping total of $5,000. But if you only sell twenty copies, you have 980 x $5 to recoup.

It's expensive.

No, you're better using something that's public domain, written before 1923. 

But that's too far back! I don't want to use crappy songs from the days of Greensleeves!

Then write your own lyrics. Change the lyrics. You're a writer. Write.

Alternatively, you can mention titles. So far, titles are non-copyrightable (unless you use the word Cocky in them since someone decided to trademark that). You can mention the character walking into a bar where the musician played a ragtime version of a Beatles tune - similar to how Stephen King wrote The Gunslinger from his Dark Tower series.


My further advice, before you find a legal shark coming up your drain, is to research the hell out of it. Or find a lawyer/solicitor of your own.

Have fun!