Monday, December 2, 2013

Stories that move you

How clever is this video?

I love these innovate marketing campaigns.  This reminds me of the magic I see happening when I watch my 13 year old son, who has suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia until the beginning of this year, pick up a book for the first time and be dragged into the story and refuse to stop reading even for dinner. He's discovering the doorway to worlds.

There is magic in the pages of some books that is beyond the words on the page. I know the web and the smart phones and Facebook and Twitter are all fascinating.  I am with you there. But don't forget books, they were our friends and our companions who drew us away and gifted us with worlds long before Steve Jobs pulled the Apple iPod out of his jean's pocket and showed us the future.

Hachette will be running substantial giveaways across their owned platforms and readers will have the chance to win $1,000 worth of books each Wednesday in the lead up to Christmas. So, I would like them on Facebook or follow on Twitter @HachetteAus  and check out the giveaways.  Sign up here with Hachette  so that you can stay up-to-date with all their competitions and fabulous books. They are one of my favourite publishers.

Hachette Australia publishes high quality fiction and non-fiction for both adults and kids, spanning diverse genres and local and international imprints and good storytelling is always at the core of what they do.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I love this! Giving Back

Free Books at Bus Stops

How wonderful is this ad? Fill your bookshelf by Bookworld  

See what books do for people. They get them talking. They get them laughing. They get them sharing ideas. They get them missing buses! When I look at this video it makes me proud to be a writer and be part of that sharing of thoughts and worlds.

The bus stops were in Sydney at Bondi Rainbow Shelter and Melbourne at Wynyard Station stop.

I just checked out Bookworld and they have free delivery Australia wide and up to 40% discount on their books.  So, seems like a great deal to me and supports an Australian retailer. I've got nothing against Amazon but seems to me, we should support Australian innovation when we can.

Go visit Bookworld. I bet a company as innovative as this, provides a good service as well. Check it out and get your Christmas shopping sorted.

And while I am here, I shall have a little rant about the cost of cards.  I went to buy a card for my son the other day to say "Congratulations" on winning an award at school. Six bucks is what they wanted! That is $6.00 for a small piece of card with the words "Congratulations to you" written on it that will be thrown away the next week and forgotten. 

You can buy a book for that price and if you have an e-reader six books for $0.99 or two $2.99 books of household name authors. So, why would you buy a card?  Next time you go to buy a card, buy a gift voucher for a book instead and write on the voucher, which can double as the card, "I would have bought you a card, but I knew you would love this more. You can keep it forever and it may change your world."

Six bucks!!! That is crazy.  Who buys these cards?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Let's Get Technical– Guest Post by Charlie Hudson

Off With Her Combat Boots and On To Writing – Meet Charlie Hudson

     There is something quintessential about the image of a writer in a garret, and with having lived in many two-story dwellings, the term "garret" was easy to adopt, although not architecturally accurate. I may have posted once about when we were looking to move from a three-bedroom to a four bedroom house, a neighbor was puzzled. "It's just the two of you at home, why do you need four bedrooms?" I immediately replied, "Separate offices." Sharing an office brings distinct problems for us and we only do that for as short a period as possible. I do acknowledge that having the wireless environment in the house means that if I am so inspired, I can carry the laptop to wherever, but my upstairs office really is set up well.
In speaking of writing, that of course involves inspiration and style - where ideas come from and how they develop into characters or story lines. Although other writers will be different, I spend time constantly watching and listening - picking up bits and pieces that might be useful someday. My short story FlightPlan illustrated this practice. I was on a lengthy delay in Atlanta during one trip and not surprisingly spent extra time in the Sweetwater Brew Pub. On that same trip I had the occasion to pass an evening with a lesbian, Wiccan couple. Really, how does one not want to use that particular tidbit to open a story? Voila!, the story of "Flight Delay" emerged. From a character perspective, I mostly do composites of people that I've met, except for times when I have to create a genuinely bad person, and for that, I often turn to true crime shows. Those are quite useful sources for not only characters, but also for methodology for investigations and murders. And what a useful tool we have with the Internet.

As I mentioned in a tweet one day, the list of “My Favorites” on the computer can have an odd collection of sites at any time that reflects sources that I have been checking for scenes. I recently deleted the ones on Meth Labs, but have left the Meaning of Aura Colors, and naturally, the Yacht Broker site that I drew heavily from for Deadly Doubloons  and False Front ( (due out in October). I don’t have problems with getting the scuba scenes right in my novels since I dive and my husband is an instructor, but we don’t own or spend time on a variety of different boats and therefore, I need the exact image and specifications from a reliable source. We all make our choices as to writing style, and in my case, my military background (especially as a female who entered the Army during some of the “pioneering years”) is probably the major factor of my insistence on technically accurate scenes. As an example, when I recently wrote Small Town Lies (, I spent hours with ladies who quilt, learning about the craft, and more importantly, the passion for it. Even though I’ve always admired quilting and grew up around it, that isn’t the same and sitting down with quilters and watching/listening to them.
That is not to say that I don’t enjoy fantasy writing – it is merely that if I am reading a novel that addresses a particular topic that I am familiar with and there are errors in how a situation or characters are portrayed, I can become annoyed to the point of setting the book aside. Since I react in that way as a reader, I react in the same way as a writer. I don’t want my readers to think, “Hmm, that doesn’t make sense,” even though they are reading a novel. Again, every writer makes a choice as to style, and mine relies heavily on believable characters and strong dialogue. A fan once said, “What I especially like about your characters is that I can see them and imagine being able to sit down with them.”
So, as a writer – what inspires you and did you have a specific style from the beginning or did one evolve over time?

Charlie Hudson, a retired Army Officer, and her husband, also a retired Army officer, relocated to South Florida where he teaches scuba and she combines her love of scuba with writing in many of her books. Charlie’s novels, non-fiction, and a rich archive of short stories can be found at or enter Charlie’ Corner CafĂ© at
 Charlie and her husband dive and she uses his expertise for the more technical aspect of diving. Charlie snaps photos of scenes that she might later use in her writing. 
Follow on Twitter:    @chudsonwrites 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Upcoming author events in Perth and Melbourne

Tina Arena 19th October

Tina Arena Book signing
Saturday 19th October 2013
Centre court appearance and signing
Dymocks Garden City

Ricky Ponting  Wednesday 30th October

West Australian Leadership Matters
Ricky Ponting - coinciding with the release of his autobiography Ponting: At the Close of Play
Wednesday, October 30
Crown Perth, Grand Ballroom
Breakfast: 7am (for 7.30am) to 9am
Online Bookings: Click here
Tickets: $98 (inc GST), $133 including book, $980 corporate tables (10)
Information: Email or phone 08 9482 3820

Book signing
Dymocks Garden City
Wednesday 30 October 2013
3.30 pm

Ricky Ponting  Thursday 31st  October
Breakfast with Ricky Ponting
8.00AM  $10.00
 Mt. Lawley-Inglewood Cricket Club, Hamer Park, 2nd Avenue, Mt. Lawley
tickets available from: Beaufort Street Books - 567 Beaufort St  Mt. Lawley PH 08 61427996
Mt Lawley-Inglewood Cricket Club – 2nd Avenue, Mt. Lawley
Email Enquiries: or

Book Signing
Dymocks Carousel
3.30 pm
Thursday 31st October

An evening with Ricky Ponting 
Aquinas College Hall
Thursday 31st October 2013
Commencing at 7.00pm
Gold Coin Donation
Book sales & signing available on the night
RSVP: Aquinas Events Co-ordinator on 9450 0600
email: or Dymocks Garden City 9364 7687

George R R Martin - MCG Luncheon, Victoria, Richmond, Thursday 14 November, 2013
Winter is coming ....And so is George R. R. Martin.
Thursday 14 November, 2013
12:00 PM
Olympic Room - MCG Brunton Ave, Richmond
Tickets: $45 – [Plus $2.12 booking fee]
Bookings Essential
No seat allocation
Talk with book signing*
[*maximum of two books. No dedications]

(For booking queries or if unable to pay with Paypal, please email Dymocks Camberwell on or call: 03 9882 0032)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

There's No Such Thing As Writer's Block

Guest Post by Jennifer 
Kloester author of The Cinderella Moment

Susan May says:
Thank you to Jennifer for sharing her insights on writer's block.  I agree with everything she has suggested.  I actually have starter's block when I get worried I am going to have writer's block. But really there is no such thing. If you sit there long enough, something will happen.  And if you are really stuck, it could be you've gone down a wrong plot road further back, so go back and look for the sign.  Even brainstorm with a friend about where to go with your blocked point. Now I shall hand you over to the very capable Jennifer Kloester to reveal her secrets. 

There's No Such Thing As Writer's Block

"There's no such thing as writer's block!" I was at a writer's festival in Melbourne when I heard bestselling author Bernard Cornwell utter those words. At first I was shocked and then as I listened I felt an incredible lightening inside – as if the dreaded blank page had been dealt a death-blow. I almost cheered!
Cornwell explained that, because he viewed his writing as a fulltime profession, he didn't have the right to take a day off because he had 'writer's block'. "Nurses," he said, "Teachers, firemen or anyone who works a job can't take a day off because they have nurse's block or teacher's block or firemen's block. They have to show up, no matter what, and get the job done."
At the time this was a revelation to me and the idea has stayed with me ever since. But if Cornwell is right and there is no such thing as writer's block, then what do authors do when the words won't come?
Here's what I do when the words elude me and I appear to be in danger of producing nothing at all.

  1. I give myself permission to write any part of my book and, if necessary, to write it badly. Any scene, any bit of dialogue, a character description, back-story, the end, the beginning, the middle. If I can see part of a chapter – even if it's several chapters ahead – I'll write that, if I've got a character who's desperate to get onstage, I'll let him or her have the spotlight and all the time they want to tell me their story. If I can hear voices in my head, I'll let them speak onto the page
  2. I free write. This is where I set the timer on the HIIT app on my phone for ten minutes . When it starts, I start writing. Ten minutes, without stopping – even if that means typing the same word or sentence over and over again. With this type of writing I don’t worry about spelling or grammar or punctuation. This is rough, wild west sort of writing, where anything goes and my subconscious gets free rein. The joy of writing like this is that it will often give me a sentence or two or sometimes even an entire paragraph that sparks an inspiration and moves my story along in some new and unexpected way.
  3. I force myself to write to the end of the chapter. This is hard and can be painful BUT the best thing about it is that, once I get to the end, if it's not the chapter I want it to be, it's very existence will often show me what it should be. It's kind of like creating a devil's advocate
    in words. If I write a chapter then I can see that part of my story more clearly and where, how and why it's wrong. Once I know that, I can fix it.
  4. I remember that no one has to see my manuscript until I'm ready. This lets me write anything – anything at all, just to see if it works. Okay, so sometimes I feel embarrassed or icky or weird because my character is behaving badly or the action is bizarre or the dialogue is confronting, but if it's what's happening in the world of my book then I really have no choice but to write it. The best part is that, once it's written, if I don’t like it I can delete it.
  5. I follow bestselling novelist, Georgette Heyer's maxim that, "Writing oils the wrist". This is true. Writing usually begets writing. If I'm struggling to write then maybe I've let my writing 'muscles' get a bit weak and I just need to push out some words. We all know how easy it is to stop writing, to procrastinate and find a reason to get up from the chair every ten minutes. If this is you, then strap yourself in (literally – with a piece of string or a belt) and work your writing muscles by writing something easy. Blogs, diaries, letters and emails are great for this. Give yourself ten or fifteen minutes and write that overdue letter or email and, when you're time's up, don't think about it, just segue straight across to your manuscript.
  6. Write a sentence. Just one. Anyone can write one sentence. When you've done that, write another sentence. Then another. All books are written one sentence at a time.
  7. Have a deadline. This is a very effective motivator… in fact, I have a deadline – better get back to the book!


Jennifer Kloester is passionate about books and writing. She is the author of two books on the bestselling historical novelist Georgette Heyer: Georgette Heyer's Regency World and Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller. The Cinderella Moment is her first novel. She is currently writing the sequel The Rapunzel Dilemma. In her spare time Jennifer loves to travel and train in karate. 

Connect with Jennifer and discover her books:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Mariam Cheshire wrote to me via Good Reads about a month ago.  When I had a quick check on her bio I realized what a truly amazing person she is.  Mariam is 86 years old and embarking on a writing career and diving right into social media. Wow!
          I love this new era of publishing and communication where anyone can participate no matter how old, where they live, or their message.
         So, I asked Mariam if she would like to write a guest blog post for me.  A person like Mariam has a lot of wisdom to share with all of us.  And meeting Mariam and reading her wonderful essay I was inspired to open my blog to other writers who had something to share.
           You can read how to submit here.  Mariam certainly had an impact on me and I hope she will have the same effect on you.
          But for now, enjoy Mariam’s wonderful post and do support and encourage her by visiting her new blog and I would recommend buying her book The Alternate Safe World of  Sanctuary. Its received some rave reviews and at currently 99 cents for an e-copy its amazing value for you to be able to connect with this wonderful woman. 
          Mariam you have certainly inspired me. Thank you.

Where is your dream? by Mariam Cheshire

“I have a dream.”  These words are now building blocks in our history.
We hear the power of Martin Luther King’s voice and another small voice speaks inside of each of us.  “Do I have a dream?” 
The answer comes clear and true.
          You might be going from the tumultuous teens into the growing years of the twenties.  How does your dream appear?  Are there visions of someone to love,  a bond for the future and kiddles who would progress further than you do? Is this a time to conquer the business, the creative, the money world?  There might be hopes of  writing and travel.

         Then come the thirties.  Maybe the 20’s dreamer is too busy  to  think beyond what needs to be done today.  When children are in the picture the Friday night football games could take precedence over far away rainbows.   Goals could be tucked away in the desk drawer. Today’s schedule keeps the busy thirty-some person from pulling it out to check.  Where is the dream?
          When the forties come over the horizon there comes a skid, a halt and a look around.  Yes, the green lights flash on the road ahead  You can ask “Am I on track?”   
          If you haven’t reached the fifties yet, you will discover how quickly they merge into the sixties and seventies, even the eighties.  We are comfortable, we can settle here.  Maybe on rainy days we can take the dream out of the closet , dust it off, brighten it up.  No two people will make the same choice.  We hear Alexander Pope who has told us, “Whatever is, is right.”
          My dream of grade school years was pushed from start to stop, from give-up to a steady gallop. Despite getting mired down in mud from time to time, my dream came out of its cocoon.  At 86 I am flapping my wings wanting to fly!  When we follow our dream it becomes part of our being and turns into Reality as we grow with it.   
This blog is written to tell you . . . Take minutes from your busy life, brush away the cares of today and . . . 


       With love, I sign as mother, step-mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, correspondent and writer. 
Mariam Lewis Heiny Cheshire

Links for Mariam
The Alternate Safe World of  Sanctuary (Amazon) -


          Mariam Cheshire, at the age of 86, is publishing her first novel, “the alternate safe world of Sanctuary”.  She began writing when she was six and her first rejection came from Liberty magazine. 
         In the third grade. Mariam clearly stated her ambition.  “I am going to travel and write.”  A paper box became filled with rejection slips, but successes with small magazines kept the typewriter working late on many nights.
         Travel became a Way of Life flying standby to countries around the world.  With a backpack carrying only the necessities she landed in the city of her choice and found a hostel or B&B with the bathroom down the hall.
         Mariam speaks of a wonderful life – writing - seeking family history in genealogy libraries - flying Cubs into the blue yonder – airline flights to faraway places - photography and printing in her own darkroom - painting oil landscapes with her mother - playing with rocks for one-of-a-kind necklaces - and always beautiful love.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Please Rock Our World!

Do you want to write a guest post for my blog?

It wasn’t so long ago I was a newbie in blogging, twitter, Good Reads, Google+, and Facebook.
It’s been two years (September 2011) since I dived into this world. Through trial and error I now feel pretty confident using all the social networking programmes that are supposedly there to create an author platform to help you sell your books.
You know what I’ve discovered? If selling books is your goal then you will soon grow tired of maintaining your blogs, twitter and Facebook account, and the myriad of other social programmes out there.
What I have found is that this social networking world is filled with wonderful people who want to connect, share, enliven, encourage others, and learn. It astonishes me the time people dedicate to share their passion and knowledge with their connections, followers, and friends. And all for FREE.
You can try and sell your book to all these people with whom you’ve connected, but I figure, unless you’ve connected with them in a "non-using" way first, they probably are not going to be greatly interested in what you have to sell.  You become a social network door-to-door salesman and, in fact, something worse.  You become more akin to a crazy person running up to strangers on a street shouting, “Buy this! Buy this! You should buy from me because we are walking on the same street.”  I am sure you get the picture.
The friends I have made since entering this on-line world have become as real to me as my friends who live in my area, and I am so grateful to them and all those wonderful sharers out their I would like to give back. 
So, that brings me to my new idea.  I am full of ideas, just like an excited five year old—ask my husband who has to listen to them constantly.  
          I am offering a helping hand to you out there who may be new or even if you have been around awhile and would like to spread the reach of your message.  If you have a blog post and would like me to host it here and then after to continue to promote it on twitter and facebook, please email me at  Use the heading, "Blog Post."  
If I like your post I will put it up here for you and continue to promote it via my networks from time to time. For what its worth, I have around 35,000 followers across the social media I use which is growing daily by about 100. Most are on twitter.  You can also promote it as well.  See… then it’s a win: win proposition. I love those type of deals.

A couple of rules:
·     The post must be educational about writing or an experience in writing; or if not writing something inspirational that would encourage a writer. (I ask this because most people who follow me are writers, so I’d like to keep them happy.)
·       Keep it between 400 and 1,000 words. (if its outside this, please check with me).
·      Send at least three photos (they can be of yourself or pictures illustrating your points.
·      Ensure you add links to your website or where your book is sold and a short 2 to 3 line bio if you like. If you are taking the time to create a post of value then I want you to get some benefit from it.
·        Give me a snappy title to plug.
·    Proofread and spell check it. You want to put your best foot forward. (Sorry I haven’t got the time to do much in the way of editing.)
·         Don’t be annoyed with me if I can’t accept it.  I will send you a quick note why and if I think it can be changed to suit my site. Then you can change it or forget it.
·     I will let you know when your blog post is up and send you the link. If you want something minor changed once its up you can let me know but I can’t guarantee how quickly I can change.
·         I will put the blogs up when I can, in between my own writing. So don’t hassle me if it is not up the same day or same week. If I accept it I will put it up. I promise.
·     Follow my blog via the feeder you are most happy to use. Leave a comment on your blog post, like “Thanks for posting my blog. I love you, Susan May.” And then tick that you want to be kept updated if someone comments.  This way you can follow the comments and answer them if you like.

So, that’s it. Pretty simple. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your interesting story or words of wisdom.  
Please rock mine and my wonderful friend's worlds!

P.S. I just found this video via a social networking author friend.  This is what it is all about: "Giving is the best communication." 

This Three Minute Commercial Puts Full-Length Hollywood Films to Shame
Courtesy of 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Exciting news!
Meet Michael Robotham

        The fabulous thriller writer Michael Robotham is visiting Perth.   I looooove Michael Robotham!   I will be there standing in line for the signing.  Wild serial killers couldn't keep me away.
          Why don’t you get your book club down to Scarborough Library and meet him.  It's FREE!

 When:            Tuesday 10 September
Time:              10.30am - 11.30am
Where:           Scarborough Library

Bookings essential please phone 9205 7420

          Michael Robotham's 2012 novel, “Say You're Sorry” was named by Stephen King in his top 3 reads of 2012.  And I wholeheartedly agree. It's a brilliant book and his upcoming novel, “Watching You” is fantastic as well. I will be reviewing it shortly.  And he is here in September giving a talk at Scarborough Beach library for FREE. Wow!

A morning of Suspense with Michael Robotham

         Come and meet internationally renowned crime author Michael Robotham at Scarborough Library.
         “Say You’re Sorry” was selected as one of the ‘Get Reading - 50 books you can’t put down’ for 2012. Formerly a journalist for major newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America, he has won international crime awards and two Ned Kelly awards for Best Crime Novel.
        This will be an opportunity to get an up close and personal with Michael and purchase his latest novel. There will also be time for a book signing.
        Read an interview of mine with Michael late last year.  He is a fascinating man.  Delving into Dark Minds
Visit Michael’s website:


          Another great writer, Stuart MacBride, is coming to Perth.  Do try get out and see him speak.  He’s travelled all the way from Scotland to meet his readers.

An evening of Suspense with Stuart MacBride 

When:            Monday 9 September 2013 
Time:              6.30 – 7.30pm 
Where:           Osborne Library 

Bookings essential please phone 9205 7900

          Close to the Bone is a new crime thriller from the number 1 best-selling author of Shatter the Bones and Birthdays for the Dead. For McRae things are finally getting better... until the first body is found chained to a stake. 

          He’s already dealing with warring gangs; missing persons; brutal attacks on immigrants; and also feeling the heat from his superiors and the local crime boss. But when another body turns up, he begins to wonder if those little knots of bones he’d been finding are more important than they look... 
         Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae series has already sold over 1.1 million copies. Shatter the Bones reached no 1 on the Sunday Times Bestseller list.
Visit Stuart’s website:

Harper Collins launches new unsolicited submissions portal

For all those writers looking for that book deal, here is some exciting news for you.  I hope Harper Collins has plenty of readers.  I think they will be inundated. Good luck everyone who submits.  Remember to polish your manuscript until it is beautiful and shiny, and the most important tip: KEEP WRITING

          Harper CollinsPublishers ANZ is excited to announce the launch of its new online unsolicited submission program, The Wednesday Post, which will be going live, Wednesday 21 August 2013. Our goal is to uncover, develop and promote the most outstanding voices writing today.

The new portal can be accessed at and will also link from the HarperCollins homepage (in Australia and New Zealand). Submissions are accepted every week on Wednesday only. Aspiring authors will be asked to present synopses of their work and the first 50 pages of a manuscript. We are looking for writers at every stage of their career, from closet scribes to those who have a history of publication.

          Adult and YA books are the focus for this initiative, and we will be accepting manuscripts in both fiction and non-fiction genres. We are particularly seeking exceptional contemporary women’s fiction. The Wednesday Post will respond to authors within three weeks if we wish to see more of their work. All submissions will be considered for print and e-book publication as well as digital-only publication, which is an area we will be actively growing in the coming years through a dedicated e-only publishing model.  
         We are eagerly looking forward to our first intake of submissions and encourage all hopeful authors to apply. We love a good story, and if you have one to tell we want to hear from you.

If you have enjoyed this musing, do hop over and register for my very random newsletter. Straightaway you will receive two fantastic short stories FREE. You'll also be the first to know when I have exciting news to share like free books (international) and film ticket giveaways (Australia). Hop over here: