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The Many Faces of Jeff Gardiner

I enjoy performing a variety of roles in my other life as an actor. I’ve been lucky enough to work as a supporting artist for TV and film; perform in scare mazes and at other public events. Here are some of the images of me over the last few years:

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Not so sure about this wig for ‘The Royals’:

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This moustache was seen on ‘Downton Abbey’.

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As a Beefeater on ‘The Crown’ – episode 1

 

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Not for the faint-hearted. A selection of characters from scare mazes and street theatre from Tulleys Shocktober Festival.

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Just so you don’t have nightmares . . .  I was Santa in Jersey at the Narnia Experience.

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Take care and keep smiling. . .

GAIA TRILOGY: the Ancient Secrets of Nature Revealed


The Gaia trilogy, beginning with PICA, is a fantasy series that explores environmental issues in a modern world.

Luke uncovers ancient magic and some of Nature’s lost secrets in an exciting race to save Mother Earth from environmental disaster. But can one person save the planet alone?

Shape-shifting adventure as Luke’s mission becomes more complex and his fame goes global. He meets a group of others who also have a close affinity with Nature.

Can Luke live up to his unwanted reputation as the new messiah? Will it all go to his head?  Can he find Gaia before she gasps her final breath?

Reviews for The Gaia trilogy:

“The strong ecological theme is very pertinent in this time of global warming. I highly recommend this talented writer.”

 “Superbly written – intended for young adults, thoroughly enjoyed by older ones too!”

“It truly stretched my imagination. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. An excellent fantasy story for teenagers to adults of any age.”

“This imaginative story continues brilliantly and beautifully with unexpected twists and turns. It was a joy to read.”

 

Indigo’s Dragon by Sofi Croft

I’m delighted to introduce YA author Sofi Croft to my blog. She is here to tell us about the Dragon of Krakow, which inspired her new novel, ‘Indigo’s Dragon’.Her post below also includes an intriguing extract. There are purchase links at the end of the post. Don’t miss out on this brand new Accent YA adventure. Over to you, Sofi…

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The Dragon of Krakow is a famous dragon from Polish folklore. He lived in a cave in Wawel Hill, on the banks of the River Vistula, and spent most of his time terrorising the population of Krakow. The cave, located underneath Wawel Castle and Cathedral, is now free of the dragon and has become a popular tourist destination. A metal dragon can be found outside the cave, breathing fire every few minutes.

Stories about the Dragon of Krakow have been told since at least the 12th century, and as with most stories of that age that are many different versions. All of the ones I have found end with the dragon being destroyed; sometimes slain by a prince, but more often poisoned by a tailor or shoemaker using a sheep stuffed with sulphur.

The Dragon of Krakow was one of the inspirations for Indigo’s Dragon. I took the story and thought what if …? I expanded it, weaved in other threads, and twisted it into another tale.

Like living things stories often grow, evolve and reproduce, and I hope by borrowing and changing the story of the Dragon of Krakow I have not done it an injustice, but helped to keep it alive.

Here is a short extract from Indigo’s Dragon, which features the indestructible story of the Dragon of Krakow:

Indigo dragon

Rue sat and pushed her fingers into the sand. ‘He grew up in Krakow, when the city was young. It was beautiful. Cobblestone streets, wooden buildings, roofs painted gold and blue, willows drooping into the clear blue waters of the River Vistula, and a stone castle on a green hill overlooking it all. The people were peaceful and happy.’ She turned to Indigo and her eyes darkened with anger. ‘That was before Smok came.’

‘The dragon?’ Indigo sat next to her, and she continued.

‘Krakow never recovered from the damage he did. Dragons can be so destructive.’ Rue shook her head. ‘Over time the smoke cleared, the ash washed away, houses were rebuilt, crops grew back, livestock recovered, and trade returned. But it wasn’t the same. Every family had lost a loved one, either killed by Smok, or by the starvation he caused. The people changed from peaceful to warlike. They built armies and weapons. They were scared, suspicious, and selfish, thinking only of self-preservation. Orava was a tailor. He made beautiful clothes for the king and the princess. Smok turned him into a killer.’

‘Orava killed Smok?’ Indigo felt a pang of grief. He had thought Smok was alive – Omi kept pointing to the sky and saying his name, as if she were waiting for him.

Rue nodded. ‘Orava filled a sheepskin with explosives, sewed it up, and planted it near Smok’s cave.’

‘Boom,’ Indigo whispered, remembering the picture on the side of Opi’s book.

‘Orava never forgave Smok for making him do that, or for what he did to the town. He’s still angry about it, and the anger eats away at him.’ Rue looked at Wojtek, who was now swimming towards them. ‘So you see he has good reason to hate him. To hate all dragons.’

‘Indigo’s Dragon’ (Indigo’s Dragon #1) by Sofi Croft is a children’s fantasy novel full of adventure, mystery, monsters and dragons.

It is published by AccentYA on 23rd June

You can find out more about Sofi and her books on her website www.soficroft.com

‘Thou Shalt Not’ – Anthology Launch

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My short story ‘Dionysus’ appears in this new anthology from Tickety-Boo Press, edited by Alex Davis.

There are ten stories – one for each of the ten commandments. My story corresponds to the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me…”

The Greek god, Dionysus, has always fascinated me, since seeing the Greek tragedy ‘The Bacchae’ by Euripides. Dionysus is an arrogant and angry god, demanding people worship him. Those that do are still punished. He gives his followers wine and offers them a life of sensual pleasure.

I’ve often thought that if Dionysus came to our modern world then he would be a rock star or a drug dealer. I have nothing against rock music – in fact I’m a fan of rock and heavy metal. But today, rock and pop stars, actors and other celebrities often come unstuck due to their hedonistic lifestyle. My story doesn’t moralise (neither did Euripides). Readers are free to respond to it however they wish. A parent won’t feel the same way about the celebrity their own child worships. The cult of celebrity is with us whether we like it or not. What are you going to do about it?

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Blurb

The Ten Commandments were laid down in the earliest days of mankind, a guiding set of principles for our everyday lives. For centuries these tenets have shaped our morality, our laws, our societies. But what happens when these commandments are tested – and even broken?

Step inside for ten tales exploring the dark consequences of stepping outside these most ancient and sacred of rules…

Featuring stories from Jeff Gardiner, Amanda Bigler, Clare Littleford, Stuart Young, Laura Mauro, Danuta Reah, Pat Kelleher, Mark West, Jasper Kent and Jacey Bedford.

Purchase Links

http://shop.ticketyboopress.co.uk/index.php?id_product=104&controller=product

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thou-Shalt-Not-Alex-Davis-ebook/dp/B01DRBA4YK/

Jeff Gardiner – you are what you read

I discuss books that have influenced me on Anna Legat’s blog.

I’m very excited to welcome to my blog Jeff Gardiner – an author, editor and a teacher – talking about the books that ignited his imagination, sharpened his pencil and set him on a journey into writing.

730I’ve always been an avid reader – reading with a torch under the bedcovers, making me tired the next day at school. The two biggest influences on me as a youngster were quite different: Enid Blyton and Superman comics.

The first books that really changed me were both series by Enid Blyton – The Magic Faraway Tree, The Adventures of the Wishing Chair. Wonderful feats of imagination that allowed the heroes to travel just about anywhere and have the most incredible adventures. Meanwhile my uncle passed on his DC comics about the Man of Steel and I particularly relished the comics about the Legion of Superheroes (of which Superman was an occasional…

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Letters from Elsewhere: Luke

An' de walls came tumblin' down

Letters from ElsewhereI haven’t quite “landed” following the twelve-and-a-half-hour flight back from Hong Kong and I have a visitor. He’s a boy called Luke. He sounds quite sensible really. And brave.

Dear Mum and Dad

Sorry about the incident at school. I was stupid and have no real excuse. Sometimes I do things without thinking.

I know I’ve been a bit strange and distant recently, but I find it hard to tell you exactly what’s going on. In fact, there are some things you just would not believe – I hardly believe them myself.

You wanted me to be friends with Guy didn’t you? At first I kept thinking, why him? He’s so… weird. I know he has ‘special needs’ or whatever they’re called, but everyone else at school laughs at him. He gets bullied, but I promised to look out for him. And I did. I am.

I was right about…

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