Saturday, November 1, 2014

BACK AGAIN (the novel) Excerpt & Pre-order Link

With great excitement, I announce that my latest book, the time slip novel BACK AGAIN, will be available for sale on 21st November 2014. 

   For a sneak peak keep reading, as I've posted the first three chapters (9 pages) here. I know once you start reading, you won't want to stop.

    For a limited few days from the 21st November, it will be on sale for .99 cents. After that it will go up to its normal price of $5.99.  

PRE-ORDER NOW!!! at the crazy .99 cents price from Amazon (in case you forget on the 21st) by CLICKING HERE.

If you prefer to order it in a different format, CLICK HERE to grab the format that suits you. 

Here's the blurb from the book. Doesn't it sound intriguing?

BACK AGAIN

"Between life and death, lies fate."

Could there be any greater nightmare than living through the death of your child? 
Yes! Reliving it again and again. 
A tragic accident takes Dawn’s only child right before her eyes. The following surreal days are filled with soul-destroying grief and moments she never wants to live again—until, inexplicably, she finds herself back again, living that day. 
It’s a second chance to save her son. But changing fate is not as simple as it first appears. Time is not Dawn’s ally.

“She’d lost count of the number of times she’d lived through this. Every time it hurt as much as the time before. Eventually, she thought that she must become immune to the events, and that her heart wouldn’t shatter into a thousand, million pieces— 
But it always did.”

Reviews of BACK AGAIN the Short Story 
“Well-written. Thought-provoking. Highly recommended.” Peg McDaniel-Amazon 
“I recommend this book to fans of time travel, parents, and those who thing texting and driving is okay. Please, read this story!” Chris Mentzer, author of the Askinar Towers 
“It is a story not easily forgotten.” L. Frier-Amazon 
“A MUST READ novella that will tug at your heart!” Ana Medina-Amazon 
“A well written and haunting story that the reader will not soon forget.” Evie-Amazon 
“Heartbreaking and, yet, wonderfully told.” Tamara-Amazon

This is the novel, inspired by the short story BACK AGAIN, published in May 2014. At the urging of her editor and readers, Susan May revisited her popular time slip novelette and created the novel. The result is a thrilling ride into the wonderful possibilities of travelling back in time to avert a disaster. Susan's editor's comment: "You’ve written something pretty wonderful here."




Chapter 1  


4:29PM

4 MINUTES TO THEN


Fourteen seconds.
Dawn counted them down in her mind. On any other day, what difference would fourteen seconds make?
Today, they would be the difference between life and death.
Tommy would leave his music lesson any minute now. No, that was too vague. She knew the time. He would leave his music lesson at 4:33 and fourteen seconds. The seconds were what mattered. Fourteen increments of time that could—and would—change everything.
She checked the car clock. Dawn always glanced at it—she couldn’t help herself—though there was no need to note the time. She knew it.
4:29
Her hands twisted together in her lap before pausing to pull at a stray thread on her skirt. She wrapped it around her finger and pulled. The thread was always there. It came away from the material, but she kept it twisted on her finger like a ring, as if she were married to the moment.
Married. That was a few years ago. She didn’t think about Richard so much anymore. She used to, but there wasn’t the time to care and fuss about inconsequential things like a broken marriage since this.
How many times had she checked that clock? How many seconds had she counted down? Still, the beat echoed in her head as if she herself were a ticking time bomb.
Her mouth felt dry, not a normal dry but the draining thirst that no amount of water can quench. Without looking down at it, she pawed at the drink bottle sitting in the center console. Flicking the lid open, she raised it to her lips and sipped. As she did, the digital clock changed numbers.
4.33
She lowered the bottle, her fingers gripping the cylinder, as if it were the last rung of a ladder hovering over a long drop. The metal felt as cold as her heart in those times when it all seemed pointless.
The door of the music studio flew open. Tommy’s guitar, a large black case that seemed too big for his ten-year-old body, preceded him through the doorway. He paused and looked across the cars parked outside.
Catching sight of her, a smile erupted across his face and he waved. It was a small wave, one of those waves where you barely lift your hand. A wave that simply said I see you—you’re there. Not a wave to say I love you, you’re special or I am so happy to see you. Certainly, it wasn’t a wave to say goodbye.
Internally, she coughed back a sob as her hand raised to wave back. Her wave said more. It said I love you. I’m sorry. I will find a way to get you back.
Fourteen seconds to go.

Chapter 2  


8:10AM
8 HOURS 23 MINUTES TO THEN

Today was not the best day of Dawn’s life. She’d had very little sleep thanks to last night’s phone call with Richard, her prick of an ex-husband. She tossed and turned most of the night, churning about his request.
He and that woman wanted to take Tommy to Disneyland for a week. He’d never suggested that kind of trip while he was with her, so why he’d suddenly decided to do it now, she couldn’t understand. Well, she could. It was his way of winning Tommy over to thinking that his new wife, the “everything’s awesome,” curly-haired, husband-thief was better mother material than her.
She remembered when he’d first courted her. It was fifteen years ago, but still so fresh in her mind. Richard had been such a charmer, tall, square-shouldered, confident, mesmerizing deep-brown eyes—the same eyes Tommy had inherited. He’d made her feel as if she was the most beautiful, exciting woman in the world, and marrying him seemed like a dream come true. Even her mother, who’d disliked every other boyfriend she’d brought home, was in love with him.
So she could almost understand why husband-thief Miranda ignored the fact that he was married with a child and stole him away. That notion was little comfort and, certainly, it was no excuse for her to break up their family. She blamed him just as much—not the correct apportion of blame, according to Dawn’s best friend, Gail. In Gail’s opinion he was totally to blame.
Sometimes, like last night, her thoughts swung like a pendulum from anger at them, to a deep guilt that somehow she was responsible for it happening. That it was her punishment for spending more time worrying about Tommy than their marriage.
Then there were the slips—that’s what she called them, anyway. It wasn’t like she’d kept them a secret with Richard; he knew about them before they were married.
So what if sometimes she lost a little time and forgot what she’d been doing and where she’d been? Didn’t everyone have forgetful moments? Before the other night, she hadn’t had a slip for years. With the medications and the relaxation techniques they had dwindled in frequency and duration. None was ever as bad as that first time with her sister on the mountain when she was a kid.
Why was she even thinking about him? She must stop blaming herself. He met a woman, whom he found more attractive than her, who would pay him more attention, and who didn’t have the welfare of a child to consider. The End.
She needed to get her head back into today and stop thinking about the past.
This morning was the usual rush, their son being an average ten-year-old dawdler. On days like this, parenting him was a tricky job. When they were married, Richard just hadn’t been up to the task of managing the day-to-day organization of Tommy’s life. If Dawn were honest, some days neither was she.
Today Tommy was on a go-slow. He could be charming, delightful, loving, and beyond enthusiastic about life and particular topics that interested him—like soccer and YouTube stars. On some days, though, like today, she would get the other Tommy. The ten-year-old that ate his breakfast—always Coco-Pops because of the monkey on the box—so slowly that it could easily become lunch before he’d finished.
She looked over the counter at him, drew in a deep lungful of air, and exhaled a long, frustrated breath.
“Tommy, if you could hurry it up, Mommy would appreciate it.”
He looked up and gave her his cheeky smile. That boy knew how to work her.
“Mom, you want me to get indigestion? I’m going as fast as I can.”
“Not fast enough, if you want to get to school on time. And I don’t think you can get indigestion from Coco-Pops. Come on. Hurry it up.”
Tommy went back to eating, now shoveling the cereal from the bowl to his mouth so quickly that little brown beads of over-processed rice, or wheat, or whatever the stuff was made from, fell all over the counter. It lay there, scattered around the bowl, like mini brown rocks.
Dawn saw the amusing side, but she’d learned that if she let him get away with these antics he would think he had the go-ahead to clown around any time. He never understood when it was a good or a bad time to be a funny little guy.
“You can clean up that mess you’re making as well, buddy.”
“What mess?”
Dawn put on her stern mother look and said, “Very funny… Not! In one minute, you are putting that spoon down and we’re walking out the door, mister. I don’t want you to be late. Again!”
Dawn checked the clock on the microwave. If she had one dollar for every time she glanced at those glowing digits and thought, I’m going to be late, she’d be rich. About every third time, she would think about Richard, and how if he hadn’t done what he did, she wouldn’t be running from one thing to the next, and have a better chance of being on time.
Forget. Him. Dawn.
Her mother had told her regularly that she needed to move on. She knew she did. Maybe tomorrow she would make a resolution. Today she just wanted to be angry as hell with him.
She looked at Tommy again. He’d slowed back down to the snail pace, as if she hadn’t spoken. She wanted to remind him that they were a team, and he was letting the side down. Gail told her that she said that to her children in these situations, and that sometimes it worked. Dawn couldn’t say those words. They seemed kind of… well, false. “Yahoo, aren’t we the perfect Brady Bunch family. We’re a team. Yippee-yi-ay.”
Truth was, she didn’t believe Gail acted like that all the time. How could she? It seemed impossible to keep your cool when, often, children seemed like an opposing force in your life, put there simply to test you.
Dawn grabbed a cloth from the sink, wet it, then wiped around Tommy’s bowl. He was mid spoon-to-the-mouth when she decided she’d had enough. Swiping the spoon from his hand and grabbing the bowl from beneath him, she pulled them away and put them in the sink.
“Enough. We’re going.”
Tommy looked shocked, affronted. He gave her one of those looks that said, “You’re not part of the team, I hate you.” That look in his eyes always hurt her. He’d been giving it to her more often lately. Perhaps in response to her waning patience.
Damn Richard.
Now the day had started badly. Tommy’s annoyance always faded quickly, soon replaced by his charming chatterbox self, while Dawn would spend the next few hours riddled with the type of mother-guilt that ate into her mood all day. Her inability to control herself with Tommy activated a nagging self-doubt about her power to take control of her own life. She couldn’t afford that, because as much as she dismissed the slips, it was always in her mind that one might happen at any moment.
When people told you that parenthood was the hardest job in the world, it wasn’t the truth. Being a single mother was the toughest, most demanding job in the world. At some point every day she felt like a miserable failure. The person paying the price: Tommy. That just didn’t seem fair.
Tomorrow, she decided, she would make a change and begin the day with a renewed determination to be patient. She just knew she had it in her. Today, she was tired and cranky. Tomorrow, she would start again. Surely, tomorrow she could find it in herself to be a better mother.
She checked the time on her phone as she grabbed Tommy’s bag and hustled them both out the door.

8:20AM

Chapter 3   


8:20AM
8 HOURS 13 MINUTES TO THEN

Kylie dawdled out her front door. Late again. She was always late. Late to meet her friends, late home for dinner, late in making her car payment and, at least twice a week, late for work.
Being late never bothered her. It bothered everybody else, she noted, but that was their problem. It was her thing. Part of her personality, part of what made her unique, like the blackness of her hair or the green hue of her eyes, or the way her nose tipped down a little at the end.
That tip was the reason she’d had the single nose ring pierced through each nostril. The mom—as she called her—said she looked like a cow, but Kylie thought it drew the attention away from her nose; she hated her nose. As soon as she had enough money she would have plastic surgery like all the actresses did and have it fixed.
To her mind, the ring camouflaged the flaw using reverse-psychology. Everyone noticed the ring and nobody really looked hard at her nose. It gave her face a daring look. Like mess with me and I could get wild and dangerous, just like those cannibal pygmy people with the bones through their noses. Mess with them and you’d get eaten. Mess with her and you’d wish you had been eaten.
Perpetual lateness was her other way of showing her true self. Time did not control her like it controlled her parents, her brother, and all those other losers who wanted to be part of the mind-numbing world of clones. She was an individual, and the rest of the world could just suck on that.
Although, today, concern did tingle at the back of her mind that this was the third time this week she would be late to work. Mr. Ramello, her boss at the shithole IGA supermarket, where she was slowly being bored to death, was constantly at her to show pride in her work. Every time he said it, she wanted to reply: “Yeah, well give me something worthy of pride and I will.” She’d been close to quitting so many times.
Her little, red baby stopped her.
The first thing she’d done when she’d gotten the job was to buy a beautiful red Ford coupe. Complete with sunroof. Only five years old, it was perfect for her. The minute she saw it she fell in love. Driving it gave her a sense of freedom she’d never experienced before. It was her baby, and she took better care of it than herself.
 She hadn’t saved any money since she’d started this job five months, three weeks, and two days ago. (That’s how much she hated it; she counted the days, marked the number up there on her calendar.) She’d given herself two years to pay off the car and set herself up to move out of home.
That plan wasn’t going so well. All the Main Street clothes stores were too tempting. She’d also found an addiction that had surprised her at first, but that she found growing increasingly important to her. Tattoos.
The bluebird on her ankle was the first and meant to be the only one. After she got it, though, she couldn’t stop examining it whenever she was sitting on the couch, or lying on her bed, or any time when her ankle was exposed.
It added something to her, improved her life in a way that makeup and changing her hair color didn’t. So she went back for another, never telling her parents, knowing they wouldn’t approve of even one, let alone a collection of them.
The next one, an entwining of stars and vines and hearts, was larger, and ran from the back of her waist to spread out just above her bottom. Every few months she added another tattoo to the collection. Her star-sign Gemini on her right breast, a bloom of rose buds springing from a vine up her left wrist, a dolphin jumping through a crescent of the moon on her stomach. Next month she was planning another for her left leg: a beautiful owl, wings spread, hovering over mystical symbols. 
It hurt like hell to have a tattoo done, taking hours of pain that she could barely stand, but she endured it for a good reason. Right from when she got the bluebird, each tattoo filled a hole in her she hadn’t known existed. Every night before she went to bed, she would hold up her shirt, twist her neck to catch a glimpse of her back, examine her breast, her wrist, and her stomach.
They were beautiful, just like her red baby. She deserved them, needed them and, as much as the mom was on her case about scarring herself once she saw her bluebird and rosebuds, she wasn’t about to stop collecting them any time soon.
Continuing to work at Ramello’s IGA was the biggest pain in the ass; sometimes it even got her down. Lately he’d issued even more threats about firing her, but he never followed through. She couldn’t leave this job just yet, because then she might lose her car, the installments taking a big chunk out of her pay. And the owl, which she’d set her heart on and couldn’t stop thinking about, would have to be put on hold.
No, she was stuck at this dead-end job, putting up with her idiot boss and the stupid parade of customers she was forced to serve every day. Eventually, she’d find something else, and if he got on her back today, maybe she’d start looking sooner than later. Maybe as soon as she’d gotten the owl tattoo.
As she turned the key in her car, her gaze fell upon the painted rose bud daintily resting on her wrist, while the vine travelled up and under her sleeve. She suddenly imagined herself a rose stuck in an ugly weed garden. She thought, Even another year of this and I’ll wilt and die.
Her decision was made in that instant. Tomorrow she would change her life, look for a new job. She was not a wilting flower and she wasn’t going to stand for the cosmic unfairness of working at this mind-numbing job.
Tomorrow would be the beginning of her new life.

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





Friday, October 31, 2014

Films Reviews 31st Oct 2014

First of all, you may be surprised to find my film reviews on my writer's site. No, I didn't make a mistake. I am consolidating. 

Someone once said to me, what the heck are you doing with four blogs, and honestly, I haven't got a clue. I thought thats what you do when I started blogging four years ago. From here on in, everything is going here: films, books, interviews, and writerly musings. 

I've also got myself my own website address for ease of memory, mine and yours. So now its just www.susanmaywriter.com  If you ever want to check in to my old sites to look up an older book or film, they will still be there. I'm just not posting to them anymore.

Now to the films...

My film pick of the week, Pride, almost never made it to my reviews. I wasn’t going to go to the screening. In a busy preview week of 5 films, it appealed the least. Lucky some of my mates talked me into attending, because I loved it. You will, too, if you see it.

My new book, BACK AGAIN is finally complete, formatted beautifully, and about to wing it out to my mailing list absolutely FREE, so if you haven’t registered, you best get on it. CLICK HERE

If you would like to pre-order BACK AGAIN at the special limited time introductory price of .99 cents (and why wouldn't you?) CLICK HERE.

THIS WEEK'S PREVIEWS

(My movie Pick of the week)
Pride  ✪✪✪✪
Opens in Australia:               30th October 2014
USA: 26th September 2014    UK: 12th September 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                     Luna Palace Cinemas

This is a wonderful story that doesn’t sound at all interesting… gay activists raising money for striking mineworkers in the summer of 1984. Yeah, that sounds like a million laughs. However, the cast is beyond superb, and it is an endearing, inspirational film set to a backdrop to a very difficult time in U.K. history. Somehow, the British manage to consistently pull off these biopics. 

Of course, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton are divine in their roles. I can’t remember ever watching Bill Nighy and not enjoying his performance. Andrew Scott, as the leader of the charitable gay rights group, plays the role with wonderful zest. It’s just the tonic we need between all these darker films like Gone Girl, Fury, and The Judge.

STUDIO BLURB
PRIDE is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It's the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers' families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all. (C) CBS

Kill The Messenger  ✪✪✪½
Opens in Australia:               30th October 2014
USA: 10th October 2014         UK: 6th March 2015
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                   Luna Palace Cinemas

This is a case of fact being stranger than fiction. It’s a true story of a misguided CIA and the US government working with drug traffickers in order to smuggle arms to rebel fighters in Nicaragua. Yes, right, like thats going to work. Morals, people!

Jeremy Renner gives a fine performance as a Pulitzer prize winning journalist who won’t let go of a career-making story even as it destroys everything in his life. It’s not fast-paced, but the subject matter is extraordinary. Sometimes it’s nice to watch a thriller that hasn’t been Hollywoodfied with mad car chases and average Joes imbued with super abilities to outsmart the bad guys. The title says it all.

STUDIO BLURB
Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner ("The Bourne Legacy") leads an all-star cast in a dramatic thriller based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb. Webb stumbles onto a story which leads to the shady origins of the men who started the crack epidemic on the nation's streets...and further alleges that the CIA was aware of major dealers who were smuggling cocaine into the U.S., and using the profits to arm rebels fighting in Nicaragua. Despite warnings from drug kingpins and CIA operatives to stop his investigation, Webb keeps digging to uncover a conspiracy with explosive implications. His journey takes him from the prisons of California to the villages of Nicaragua to the highest corridors of power in Washington, D.C. - and draws the kind of attention that threatens not just his career, but his family and his life. (c) Focus

The Best of Me ✪✪✪
Opens in Australia:               30th October 2014
USA: 17th October 2014         UK: 15th October 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

Nicholas Sparks’ adaptations usually make my "worst films of the year" lists. They are clichéd, poorly scripted, with god-awful acting. So my heart was not all a flutter to see another one of these schmaltzy lets-capitalize-on-the-book-with-as-little-money-spent-as-possible films.

Now it could have been the lovely gold class cinemas; or the two cups of coffee brought to us as we reclined in our wonderful, Event Cinemas comfy, leather chairs; or even the scones and jam (which are hard to spread in the dark), but I actually didn’t gag in the film. In fact, I found it rather sweet. Still clichéd and predictable but, hey, if you enjoy a seriously soppy romance with beautiful looking people on screen in Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden (girls, he takes his shirt off quite a bit), then come and get it.

STUDIO BLURB
Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they've never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances. . (c) Relativity


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