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) - http://goo.gl/DvCsp
GOODREADS - http://goo.gl/gYkqsu


          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 susanmay21@iinet.net.au.  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  Gawker.com 

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:  http://www.michaelrobotham.com/


          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:  http://stuartmacbride.com/index.php

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 www.wednesdaypost.com.au 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: http://eepurl.com/3P-Wz

Monday, April 15, 2013



If he was lucky, Hugh Howey thought his 2011 self-published science-fiction novella ‘Wool’ would sell five hundred copies.  Instead, he has sold five hundred thousand, scored a seven-figure publishing deal, and had Twentieth Century Fox snap up the film rights with the iconic Ridley Scott possibly to direct. 
He thought he was just writing the sort of tale he wished already existed and he would then return to his other novels.  But the enthusiastic demand from Amazon reviewers caused him to hurry back to his dystopian subterranean world to continue the story.   Less than six months later he had released four more novelettes of varying lengths, the 550-page ‘Wool Omnibus’, which has since spent considerable time in the Amazon top 100 and was a #1 Bestseller in Science Fiction, and  Winner of Kindle Book Review's ‘Best Indie Book of 2012’ Award.
A modest Howey, who is passionate about the options available to authors through self-publishing, wants to make it very clear that this success story is about his choice to self-publish from the beginning. “It wasn't a matter of dealing with rejection and finally resorting to this. It was a choice from the get-go.” 
“The first thing an industry insider will think when they hear ‘self-publishing’ is that an author gave up on the query route. I don’t query my books. I haven’t since my first novel was published by a small press and I decided to publish the rest of my books on my own.”
Howey claims it took “crazy” and “lots of guts” as opposed to “clever” to create the deal that “everyone in the industry was saying would never happen—ever.”  His “brilliant” agent Kristin Nelson walked away from six-figure offers, and then seven-figure offers, to eventually strike  a deal with Simon and Schuster to distribute ‘Wool’ to book retailers across the US and Canada. The deal, though, gave Howey full rights to continue distributing ‘Wool’ online in these territories himself.  Normally, an author signs over all their territory distribution rights, which includes the increasingly lucrative e-book sales.
Adds Howey, “We stuck to our convictions and we were doing well enough with foreign rights and film sales to not worry about what we were leaving on the table. To us, the goal was to get a different conversation going. And Simon and Schuster deserve all the credit for stepping up to the plate.”
The deal has de-stigmatised the self-publishing door for other new and established authors to follow suit in taking control of their careers and their intellectual property.  “Many authors are now seeing the benefit of earning money now rather than waiting years for a dream that may never materialize,” says Howey.  “The route we take no longer signals the quality. It makes for an interesting time to be a writer.”
Howey suggest that self-publishing may actually be a smart career move. “Many authors are now skipping the years-long submission cycle and placing their stories directly in the hands of readers (and at incredible prices). Instead of manuscripts sitting around, they are collecting sales and building a fan base. Even a handful of sales are more than none. And time is spent writing the next work rather than shopping around the last one.”
Much has been written about the poor quality of self-published books and whilst self-publishing is a great opportunity, the sheer volume of releases makes it difficult for readers to find gems that aren’t peppered with errors and novice mistakes.  There is an expectation that a major commercial publisher will provide a superior read.
Howey comments on this assertion, “I see typos in the first printing of major releases all the time. If you ask a reader if they’d rather have a book with two typos in it for $12.99 or one with ten typos for $2.99, I think they’ll go with the latter.”
“All authors need to put out their best work possible, and Indies (independent authors) are no exception. But I do think they deserve a little more of a pass, just as an Indie rock band might release an album with some pops and static. It reminds you that you’re discovering something, not being handed something.”
Instead of asking ‘How’s the writing?’ of an Indie book, Howey suggests the question should be: ‘How’s the story?’ “Readers care less about writing and more about gripping tales with unforgettable characters. The publishing industry is largely run by English majors who think we should care about pristine prose. They don’t understand the success of ‘Twilight’, Dan Brown, and E.L. James. They wish everyone was reading and discussing literary works. This is why they often miss out on books with wild potential.”
“If you have to lean one way, it shouldn’t be towards the writing. And I say that, as someone who cherishes fine prose and agonizes over every one of my sentences. But only after I’ve crafted what I hope is an addictive story.”
‘Wool’ is indeed one of those addictive stories. Set in a not-too-distant future, the story takes readers into the world of a Silo, home to thousands of descendants of the survivors of a sixty-year-prior cataclysmic disaster.  Nobody remembers what happened but outside the Silo, the world is in ruin with air too toxic to breathe.

Those living inside are bound by strict rules.  One being you must never express the desire to go outside. Doing this, will automatically see you sent outside in a specially made suit to participate in what is known as a ‘Cleaning’.  Unwise unfortunates as well as convicted criminals are sent to clean the one wall-screen allowing the inhabitants a view on the desolate world.  Within minutes their suits break down and they are asphyxiated.
The Silo is tiered with two hundred levels and maintains a systemised society of engineering, I.T., administration, food production and Government, all on different levels.  ‘Wool’ begins the story with the Sheriff who has lost his wife to a ‘Cleaning’.  But readers then move through the volumes to view the Silo habitat through the eyes of various characters including Juliette, an engineer who begins to question the values and rules of the system. Then the fun really begins.
It is a grim, claustrophobic vision of the future and Howey admits he cannot be sure of the story’s origins but he shares that silos were always a part of his life. “My father was a farmer and had two large grain silos behind his barn that we played in and on top of.”
“I also grew up in the Cold War Era and another type of silo was the missile variety. We practiced nuclear drills in grade school. People built bunkers. I took it as an axiom that people would one day live underground while a wasteland raged overhead.”
The limited view of the outside world via the wall-screen is a central component of the story.  “It came from my wariness of 24-hour news,” says Howey, “and what I fear a constant barrage of bad news does for our perception of the world. What if it really isn’t so bad out there? What if we’re bold enough to go see the world for ourselves?”
In his own way, Howey has widened the perception of the self-publishing world, that outside the landscape of traditional publishing there is a richer world than initially imagined.  He believes publishing opportunities are broadened with the two working together such as the publisher initiated idea with the Wool U.K. edition.  The book contains the first chapter of the already e-published follow on series, ‘First Shift Legacy’, and concludes the free chapter urging readers to immediately purchase the already-available e-book, even though the print copy is yet to be released.
“What’s great about this,’’ adds Hugh, “is that a major publisher embraced e-book availability before the print book was available! I’ve always thought this should be the case. It helps make for a stronger print debut. For proof, Wool hit #8 on the ‘Sunday Times Bestseller’ list in the U.K. upon release, almost unheard of for a debuting author. The only reason that was possible was because of the existing fan base and word-of-mouth generated by the e-book sales. I think publishers are doing the opposite of what’s good for their customers, their authors, and themselves, when they hold the e-book back in an attempt to protect hardback sales.”
Whilst many authors complain of the deadlines imposed by their publishing contracts, Howey says, “I was the one who dictated the release schedule and told Random House (his U.K., Australian publisher) when I would have each book available. I have yet to sign a contract where someone demanded or expected a book from me at a particular time. The pressure to release multiple books swiftly has come from indie authors. We are making a great living off our work and enjoying the rapport with our readers. We just want that to continue.” 
With his publishing success, Howey’s only complaint is that his wife misses him whilst he is whisked away from his South Florida home on long book tours through Europe, the U.K. and currently the U.S.  The benefits though have outweighed the negatives, with the author now able to enjoy more free time at home after success saw him resign his day job as a bookshop employee. Even with the extra work load of his new found celebrity he still maintains his daily 2000 word-a-day count. “But it has meant some long days.” 
And if he were ever banished into a deserted silo with time on his hands, the busy author says he would read Shakespeare’s and Edgar Alan Poe’s complete works, and ‘Ulysses’, not because he thinks the latter is any good but he figures, “it’s the only way I’d ever read it. It took being stranded on an island to finally read ‘War and Peace’. No joke. I Loved it.”
So many authors quote their indebtedness to their agents or publishers for their success but Hugh Howey, as one of the poster-children of the new social media and self-publishing phenomena, is adamant who is the major inspiration and support for him. It’s his readers. In ‘Wool’s’ Amazon Book description he writes, “Thanks go out to those reviewers who clamored for more. Without you, none of this would exist.”
It may be, in the not-too-distant future that many successful self-published authors will leave a similar inscription in their Amazon sales pitch, but with one added line, “If not for Hugh Howey and his crazy courage, none of these stories would exist.”

Read my review of the sensational WOOL:  Click here

(Seriously you need to if you are a writer)

Hugh Howey is the author of Wool, a bestselling novel that has appeared in the top 5 of science fiction on Amazon. He is also the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga. He lives in Boone, N.C. with his wife Amber and their dog Bella.

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: http://eepurl.com/3P-Wz