Archive | October 2012

The Dreaded Red Pen

Today is the final day of the Heart Search: Lost Blog Tour. I know, I know. How ironic to end a blog tour  for a vampire novel on Halloween? But today is the perfect day to go all out! How many of you trick-or-treaters will dress up as Joshua tonight? Or Samir, or Jasna? Whoever you dress up as, have a great time! And to those that celebrate a more traditional Samhain or All Hallow’s Eve, blessed be. Also, make sure you get your entries in for the Heart Search giveaway before it closes today at midnight EST!

Now a final parting shot from Ms Carlie M. A. Cullen, to say goodbye to the Blog Tour for her first novel Heart Search: Lost.


You write your novel, the first draft is finished and you experience a sense of euphoria which lasts for several days, during which time you’ve sent it off to your editor.

A few years ago, you would have printed it out and sent it by mail or courier and all the corrections would have come back written in red pen. These days it’s obviously much easier to do everything electronically. The Comments boxes on the Review pane in Word have replaced the dreaded red pen.

None of us are naïve enough to think we’ve produced the perfect manuscript first time – or are we?

When I finished the first draft on Heart Search, my first full length novel, I thought maybe I’d made a few grammatical errors along the way, but that was about it. To me it was close to perfect. I’d done spell check so knew there were no spelling errors. But spell check can’t tell you ‘form’ should have been ‘from’. As far as spell check is concerned there is a correct spelling in that position. These were things I didn’t think about.

I found an experienced professional editor, Maria V A Johnson, who understood my nervousness, went out of her way to explain the process and didn’t overcharge. I was so impressed by her attitude I engaged her services and sent her my manuscript that very day.

When I got the edited manuscript back from my wonderful editor, I was gobsmacked and totally unprepared for how many corrections would be needed. It turned out my ‘close to perfect’ story needed a lot of work. I must admit I felt a bit deflated at first and I began to doubt whether I had any talent for writing at all. But I picked myself up and with a heavy heart began to look through the comments Maria had made.

As I went through them, I realised most of her comments were just because of silly mistakes I’d made where I’d been so caught up in the writing, I’d switched tenses or put commas where I should have used semi colons and things of that ilk. She also pointed out over-used and superfluous words which, when removed, made the sentences much stronger.

She looked at sentence structure and suggested ways to improve them. She pointed out areas where I was telling instead of showing. There were comments about sentences which didn’t flow very well and again suggested ways to fix the problem. Maria also looked at duplications of the same word(s) used close together and suggested alternatives. As well as looking at each line, she looked at the story as a whole and made structural and developmental suggestions. Each comment was written in an encouraging tone which made suggestions. I never felt I was forced to do anything. She used words like consider and suggest, leaving me in a position where I knew she recognised everything was ultimately my decision. I think she knew I needed her to acknowledge that.

We didn’t always agree on changes she suggested, which of course is the author’s privilege, but we’d forged a good working relationship where we could discuss the issues and often reached a good compromise.

By the time I’d finished going through all the comments and alterations, I realised the polished work on my screen had worth. There was a good story with strong relatable characters and I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, I did have some talent after all.

Of course the process didn’t stop there. I had an alpha reader and two beta readers, all of whom made comments and gave valuable feedback. This resulted in me making a few more changes to the story and Maria once more edited my revisions.

The final result is the book which has now been released for sale and I have to say it’s a heady feeling.

My attitude towards editing has completely changed. I can now see why it’s so important to have a professional editor go through my work. I was too close to my words to see the errors – I saw what I wanted it to be and not what was actually written on the page. Maria opened my eyes and made me see and for that I’m incredibly grateful. She has supported me through the whole process and continues to do so as I launch Heart Search: Lost by joining my Blog Tour and helping to publicise it for me, all of which she’s doing out of the goodness of her heart. Editors like her are a rare find and I’ve already engaged her to edit books two and three of the Heart Search Trilogy!

Editing is a positive process, not a negative one. If you approach it in a professional manner, with an open mind and understand the editor’s position is to help and guide you, you will emerge with a polished work to be proud of.


Thank you so much for that Carlie! I wish you all the luck and success in the world for your new novel – and I can’t wait for book two to land in my inbox!

Other posts today are as follows:





You can buy the book from the link in the sidebar.

Visit Ms Cullen at her website:


Heart Search: Lost

I believe I mentioned before that I edited Heart Search: Lost by Carlie M. A. Cullen. Sometimes being the editor pays off! In all of the Blog Tour, I am the only one to get a SECOND excerpt of this wonderful book!



And here is the excerpt!


I checked the wine bottles on the table and found they were both empty. My glass was half empty and Pat’s only had about a mouthful left. She saw me check them and slurred,

“D’ya wanna open ‘nuther one?”

I shook my head. “Nah. Think I need t’go bed.”

“Think I do too,” she chuckled, her eyes somewhat unfocussed.

I drained my glass and carefully returned it to the table, using both hands to steady it. She made a grab for her wine and only succeeded in knocking her glass over. She chuckled again as she watched the contents puddle onto the tablecloth.

“Oooops. I made a mesh!” she exclaimed between giggles.

“C’mon, bedtime, yeah?” I asked trying to push myself to my feet, using the table for support.

“Yesh pleeease,” she replied trying to copy me, but only managing in lifting her behind a few inches off the seat before collapsing back into it, which resulted in another fit of giggles.

Using the table for balance, I swerved around it and dragging her arm around my shoulder, I managed to get her to her feet. We linked arms and weaved through the dining room to the exit. Once into the reception area we hugged and said goodnight – Pat headed in one direction and I headed towards the stairs.

I grabbed the banister rail and looked upwards; the stairs were comparable to a small mountain and instead of steps there appeared to be a smooth slide. I put one foot on the first tread and as I proceeded to move my weight onto it, my foot slid off and I ended up on the floor. I sniggered, before deciding it would probably be safer and more productive to crawl up, so on hands and knees I negotiated the stairs and eventually made it to my floor.

I edged a short way along the hall before getting to my feet, using door handles and the dado rail which ran the length of the wall. I snaked along the corridor, ricocheting off first one wall then another until I finally reached the door to my room. I pulled the key out of my pocket and promptly dropped it on the floor; as I bent down to retrieve it I overbalanced and ended up in a heap. Chuckles escaped unbidden and, despite my drunkenness I must have somehow realised there were people asleep nearby, so I put one finger against my lips and made a shushing sound.


Definitely well done! How many of us have been in that position after a few too many drinks? And how many of us have laughed at watching a friend in that position? I bet you can’t wait to read it now to find out what else she gets up to!

Heart Search Blog Tour

Well guys and gals, how do you like the blog tour so far? Have you missed anything? Here’s your chance to catch up!


Yesterday’s offerings are: – A wonderful review! – A fantastic interview! – An amazing excerpt!


Keep your eyes peeled on the following blogs for today’s scheduled offerings! – Read the latest review of Heart Search: Lost here! – Look out for the upcoming interview! – The expected excerpt is already live here! – A special guest post by Carlie M. A. Cullen is live!




Heart Search Blog Tour

Well the blog tour for Heart Search: Lost by Carlie M. A. Cullen is fully underway. If you missed yesterday’s posts go to: – an awesome review! – an amazing guest post by Carlie – Avoiding the Drama Queens!

For today you have two more options to savour.

Visit for an interview with Carlie.

Check out for a sneak peak from the book!

Enjoy the blog tour, and let’s keep the energy going!


Well, the moment you have all been waiting for is finally here! Heart Search: Lost by Carlie M. A. Cullen is now LIVE! YAY!!!!

View the book trailer one more time!

Read the Prologue again! 

His hiding place was perfect; darkness surrounded and comforted him and he became one with it. He had chosen well. The ancient ruins were totally hidden by overgrown shrubs and trees. From this place, he could venture out before dusk, completely obscured by the dense canopy of the primordial trees; the sun struggled to break through even at midday.

He was close, closer than ever before; so close the flavour of the human’s essence coated his sensitive tongue. The one sought was nearby – he could sense him. He had searched for a very long time to find someone this special. Sure he’d found talent along the way, but this one, this human was something else entirely.

The excitement was building inside like a volcano preparing to erupt. His tongue ran over his teeth; venom pooled in his mouth and he savoured the flavour. There would be a new flavour to add to it soon. Very soon.

He first detected the scent two days ago. Unfortunately, an opportunity had not presented itself and he had become frustrated to the point of anger as strategy after strategy was thwarted by the most stupid and pointless of reasons. He was tenacious when there was something he desired and right now there was nothing he desired more than this human. There was a plentiful supply around to quench his thirst – that was not his aim.

His reverie was interrupted – a familiar scent wafted on the air that permeated the shelter. It was the human – the one he sought – and so near, too near to be allowed to escape again. Once more venom collected in his mouth.

He moved swiftly through the darkness with perfect vision towards the exit hidden amongst the foliage. The closer he got to the outside, the stronger the scent, and the more eager he became.

It was time.

And here is a sneak peak from further inside the book!

I am the most senior member of this coven after Samir and you will recognise my superiority,” Farrell’s voice thundered through the room, causing the light fittings to quiver. Erika and Jasna cringed into their chairs, not in fright but disbelief. Erika was in agony as the emotions assaulted her body in blows, but Farrell was too far gone to even think about his partner.

“The hell I will,” Joshua retorted, his tone causing a blizzard of air to blast through the room. His hands balled into fists so tight his bones jutted through his skin.

Farrell’s expression contorted once more, rearranging his features into that of a deranged psychopath. Erika cried out as the torture assailed her in waves and Jasna put her arms around her friend’s shoulders to try to comfort her. Farrell was completely oblivious. With a shriek of pure rage, his hands moved faster than a cobra’s strike to encircle Joshua’s throat.

Joshua reacted instinctively. He knew Farrell had the strength to literally rip his head off and it would be the end of him. One hand streaked up to grab Farrell’s throat while the other grabbed one of Farrell’s wrists and gripped it in a crushing vice, a guttural growl ripping from his throat. Joshua brought his knee upwards connecting with the area between Farrell’s legs then used the same leg to swipe at Farrell’s ankles, sweeping his legs from under him. Farrell snarled like a savage wolf as both men fell on the floor in a tangled heap, neither willing to let the other have the advantage.

Farrell was the first to recover, using his strength to manoeuvre himself on top of Joshua he released the free hand from around Joshua’s throat and punched him in the face. Joshua roared, not in pain but in fury. He pushed against the floor with his feet, leaving a divot in the wood and dislodged Farrell who fell onto his side.

WOW! How does the fight end? Read the book to find out!

Amazon USA:

Amazon UK

Now meet Carlie!

Carlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing. She has been an administrator and marketer all her working life and is also a professional teacher of Ballroom and Latin American dancing.

Carlie has always written in some form or another, but Heart Search: Lost is her first novel. This is being launched 8th October 2012 through Myrddin Publishing Group and work has started on book two: Heart Search: Found. She writes mainly in the Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres for YA, New Adult and Adult.

Carlie is also a professional editor.

Carlie also holds the reins of a writing group called Writebulb. Their first anthology was published September 2012.

Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.

She can be found on her website at:

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