Tag Archive | Heart Search

Saying Goodbye and Hello

Well it’s time to say goodbye to author Carlie M A Cullen as the blog tour for her third book, Heart Search: Betrayal, comes to a close. And since she’s finished her trilogy and is facing the prospect of having to start again with whole new characters, I asked her opinion of the change. Here is her response…

 

Call me a wuss if you like, but I get quite sentimental about my characters. I get attached to them and they become members of my family, even if they do only exist in my head. The longer I’m with certain characters, the harder it is to let them go and this was brought home to me in an almost brutal way when I finished my Heart Search trilogy.

Even though I’d written ‘The End’, I still had all the revisions and edits to go through, so my characters were right alongside me, telling me what changes to make and where to leave well alone. When the final proofread had been completed and the book was ready to be launched like an ICBM on an unsuspecting public, someone turned to me and asked if I would miss my characters. Until that moment, I hadn’t thought about losing them and the idea came as quite a shock.

These wonderful people I’d created: Remy, Joshua, Jakki, Becky, Ashley, Aidan, Samir et al were part of me and had been since 2010 – the thought of ‘losing them’ was anathema to me. How could I lose them? Yet to move on and make room for new characters, I had to say goodbye to these people who had become real in so many ways and it was painful. It felt like a bereavement, but without the pomp and rigidity of a church funeral to go with it. The pain was physical for a few hours, something I wasn’t prepared for, as some outside force ripped them from my head. However, they’re not ripped from my heart. There will always be a very special corner allocated to Remy, Josh, and the others and I will never forget them!

Yet now, even as I say hello to new characters and get to know them, the ghosts of Remy and Joshua are still floating in the background, until I dive into writing my new novel, a standalone fantasy, and then I forget them for a while as the new characters take pole position.

Creating the characters for my new book has been a great distraction. They are so different in every way from the vampire culture created in the Heart Search series. There are no vampires in the worlds I’ve built. There are creatures of my own design and my main character is the lovely lady I use as my avatar. It’s exciting to explore these new worlds and getting to know the people who inhabit it – the good and the bad. It’s fun to write real bad guys and feisty women who can fight back with swords and other weapons. It’s so completely dissimilar and I’m really enjoying the challenge of it.

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Excerpt – Heart Search: Betrayal

A few days ago, author Carlie M A Cullen launched the final book in her trilogy, Heart Search: Betrayal. During the subsequent 3 week blog tour (7-27 Feb) you will read many interviews and excerpts – each one unique.

And… today is MY turn!

 

Betrayal front cover

 

click on image to buy on Amazon

Excerpt

Joshua’s jaw dropped open and he stared at his elder in shocked disbelief. Immediately the surprise gave way to a primordial rage so intense, it radiated from every pore. “You coveted my fiancée? You watched her like a dirty voyeur looking for his perverse kicks? You let her see you, which probably scared her half to death?” With each snarled question he stepped closer, until he was in Samir’s face. “It’s all becoming clear now.” He nodded to himself.

“What is?”

“I never realised to what lengths you would go to stage manage those around you, or how ruthless you could be. I knew you were capable of it – just look at how you engineered that second . . . situation between Farrell and me. It almost cost me my life, but that didn’t really matter to you, did it? As long as you got what you wanted, the end justified the means. Farrell and I were expendable. That says so much about how deeply you care about your coven, your little family.” Joshua voice rose to a roar. He grabbed Samir by the throat, slammed him up against a tree then punched him in the face, hearing a satisfying crunch of bones.

He paused, savouring the feeling of having his maker at a disadvantage. When he spoke, his voice dripped with venom, cold as winter. “So now we get to the heart of it. You wanted Remy, my Remy, in your coven and went all out to get what you desired. How easy was it to manipulate Pavel and Iskra, to get them thinking along the same lines as you? How did you manage to sway them into agreeing it would be best if Remy became immortal? Do the most powerful vampires in the world know they’ve been manoeuvred by a master tactician? I wonder what they’d do to you if they realised. Perhaps I should educate them. It would be satisfying to see them mete out some justice.” A chilling smile crossed his face at the thought.

“And then we come to the deed itself,” Joshua continued. “You must have been so excited to be the one biting into her warm, human neck, to taste the blood you’d coveted for so long. I’m surprised you could contain yourself. You’re nothing but a sadistic, underhanded, controlling bastard!” He brought his knee up, missing Samir’s genitals by the merest fraction, catching him in the lower abdomen and pubis area. Samir clamped his eyes shut for a few moments so Joshua did it again, this time scoring a direct hit.

Samir raised his palms upwards and opened his mouth to speak, but Joshua tightened his grip on Samir’s throat.

“Move one more muscle and I will end you!” Joshua’s voice unnerved Samir and he fought to remain calm.

“If that is your desire, I won’t stop you. However, you are misreading this situation. Please just listen for a moment. Yes, I admit I engineered the altercation between you and Farrell and I’ve already apologised for my lack of judgement. The situation with Remy is completely different. I’ve already said I coveted her, but I didn’t know who she was. Even when Pavel, Iskra, and I were discussing her fate and trying to reach a fair and informed decision, I had no idea she was the one I’d been watching. It wasn’t until the night she was turned, when I officially met her at Grangewood, that I realised she was the same one.

“Think about it for a moment. Yes, I’d been observing and considering her suitability for the coven, but I didn’t know her name or who she was. Then you told me about Remy and your children’s visit to the manor. It was as a result of your disclosure that Pavel, Iskra, and I determined the best course of action for all concerned. Did I see Remy when she visited? No. Did I know what Remy looked like at that point? No. When we discussed how Remy was going to be turned, did I know then she was the same woman I’d sought? No! I can understand your anger at my revelation, but surely you can see there was nothing premeditated in the decision reached.” There was a pleading quality to Samir’s voice that Joshua hadn’t heard before and although it touched a chord deep within, his fury was too pronounced for it to reach him.

“You are a silver-tongued demon, Samir, but something doesn’t quite add up here.”

“Like what?” Samir looked puzzled.

“Oh, like the fact that we immortals have super-senses, hearing being one of them. You explained how you were looking in the window of her house on many occasions over a period of time. Now the likelihood of her being on her own every single time you chose to visit is remote. So working on the law of averages, and knowing how often Remy’s twin used to visit, you seriously expect me to believe you never once heard her name mentioned?”

AND… there’s even more for you. The author is running a giveaway! Check out her site for pictures of the various prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author

HEADSHOTCarlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing.

She has always written in some form or another, but started to write novels in 2011. Her first book was published by Myrddin Publishing in 2012. She writes in the Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres for New Adult and Adult.

Carlie is also a principal editor for Eagle Eye Editors.

Carlie also holds the reins of a writing group called Writebulb. They have published four anthologies so far, two for adults and two for children, all of which raise money for a local hospice.

Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.

Book Launch – Heart Search: Betrayal

You saw the cover reveal a few days ago, now it’s time to give you the book! The final volume in the Heart Search trilogy is officially launched TODAY! The author is running a 3 week blog tour, so keep an eye out for various excerpts, interviews and reviews. Links to them will be posted on her website daily.

Heart Search Test Cover 300ppi

 

If you haven’t had the chance to check out this amazing series, the first book, Heart Search: Lost is FREE on Kindle for this weekend ONLY! Get it while you can.

 

 

NOW… (drum roll please)… I present to you, Heart Search: Betrayal!

Betrayal front cover

Click on the image to buy the book

Blurb

One bite started it all . . .

Joshua, Remy, and the twins are settled in their new life. However, life doesn’t always run smoothly. An argument between Becky and her twin causes unforeseen circumstances, an admission by Samir almost costs him his life, and the traitor provides critical information to Liam. But who is it?

As Jakki’s visions begin to focus on the turncoat’s activities, a member of the coven disappears, and others find themselves endangered.

And when Liam’s coven attacks, who will endure?

Fate continues to toy with mortals and immortals alike, and as more hearts descend into darkness, can they overcome the dangers they face and survive?

 

Check out this amazing trailer!

 

AND… even more for you to see. The author is running a giveaway! Check out her site for pictures of the various prizes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author

HEADSHOTCarlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing.

She has always written in some form or another, but started to write novels in 2011. Her first book was published by Myrddin Publishing in 2012. She writes in the Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres for New Adult and Adult.

Carlie is also a principal editor for Eagle Eye Editors.

Carlie also holds the reins of a writing group called Writebulb. They have published four anthologies so far, two for adults and two for children, all of which raise money for a local hospice.

Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.

Cover Reveal – Heart Search: Betrayal

For those who follow this trilogy, it’s been a long wait for the final book in the series. However, the time has finally come. The author, Carlie M A Cullen, has unveiled the cover, and will launch the book next Saturday! Keep your eyes peeled for more to come!

 

Betrayal front cover

 

Blurb

One bite started it all . . .

Joshua, Remy, and the twins are settled in their new life. However, life doesn’t always run smoothly. An argument between Becky and her twin causes unforeseen circumstances, an admission by Samir almost costs him his life, and the traitor provides critical information to Liam. But who is it?

As Jakki’s visions begin to focus on the turncoat’s activities, a member of the coven disappears, and others find themselves endangered.

And when Liam’s coven attacks, who will endure?

Fate continues to toy with mortals and immortals alike, and as more hearts descend into darkness, can they overcome the dangers they face and survive?

 

About the Author

HEADSHOTCarlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing.

She has always written in some form or another, but started to write novels in 2011. Her first book was published by Myrddin Publishing in 2012. She writes in the Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres for New Adult and Adult.

Carlie is also a principal editor for Eagle Eye Editors.

Carlie also holds the reins of a writing group called Writebulb. They have published four anthologies so far, two for adults and two for children, all of which raise money for a local hospice.

Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.

 

Find her here:

Website: http://carliemacullen.com

Twitter: @carlie2011c

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CarlieMACullen

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=240655941&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B009MWVL5A

About.me: http://about.me/CarlieCullen

Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/CarlieCullen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6550466.Carlie_M_A_Cullen

BOOKS:

Heart Search, book one: Lost: http://smarturl.it/HeartSearch-Lost

Heart Search, book two: Found: http://smarturl.it/HeartSearch-Found

Cover Reveal!

Well… it’s that time again. Time to drive all my lovely readers insane!

I’m sure you remember a competition I advertised a couple of weeks ago. My good friend, author Carlie M. A. Cullen, was looking for a name for one of the characters in her upcoming sequel Heart Search: Found. She obviously found one she liked, because she’s pushing full-steam ahead to launch it!

Today, on various blogs, the cover of book 2 is being unveiled!

 

 

Blurb

One bite started it all . . .

Another mysterious disappearance sparks a frightening chain of events for Remy and her family. Events foretold come to pass, and more strange and alarming occurrences assail her life. Where can she turn?

Coven politics continue to threaten Joshua’s existence, but an even bigger menace looms . . .

And Remy’s life hangs in the balance – can Joshua save her?

Fate still toys with mortals and immortals alike, as hearts torn apart by darkness confront perils which could lead to their doom.

Now…

What would a reveal be without a little teaser to whet your appetite?

As you will know if you’ve read book 1 – Heart Search: Lost, there was an opening poem, written specially for the book by yours truly. That poem highlighted the most key theme in the book. So, to get things going, here’s the opening poem for book 2.

 

An unexpected caller,

her familiar face;

careworn and drawn.

 

My fingers twitch; her hair curls,

obscures her sight.

Car keys jingle, she trembles;

my hand reaches for her – drops.

 

Pain; heartbreak shines

in her eyes, reflecting mine.

Guilt shreds my frozen heart

burns clear the ice

encasing my love.

 

A gulf between us,

insurmountable differences.

Outside agents conspired,

innocents crushed.

 

As hearts leap the chasm,

bodies forcibly divided

yearn to be united.

 

A little obscure, isn’t it? I must admit, I do want to get you thinking. When you look closely at a poem you can often find a lot more than you first thought.

But… that’s not the only part you get to see. Check out the following blogs below, who are also involved in the reveal today – some even have a small excerpt from the book!

Donna L Sadd

Joy Keeney

Sherry Fundin

Deborah Jay

And you must check out the author’s blog – Carlie M. A. Cullen has a special treat for all her readers. She has unveiled the prologue as well as the cover!

Keep an eye out… The trailer won’t be too far away!

If you’ve missed out on book 1 – Heart Search: Lost, or the anthology The Other Way is Essex, click on the images below, which will take you directly to their Amazon pages.

Heart Search Test Cover 300ppi     Essex front only copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlie M. A. CullenHEADSHOT

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 was also a professional teacher of Ballroom and Latin American dancing until recently.

She has always written in some form or another, but Heart Search: Lost is her first novel. This was launched 8th October 2012 through Myrddin Publishing Group and book two, Heart Search: Found, is due out early July 2013. 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, The Other Way Is Essex, was published September 2012 under Myrddin Publishing Group. Their second anthology, Creepy Tales for Boyz and Ghouls, is in editing.

Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.

 

If you want to stalk/find her, check out the links below.

Website: http://carliemacullen.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carlie2011c

Facebook: Carlie M A Cullen

 

Exclusive Competition!

I’m sure you all remember when Heart Search: Lost came out? Well… here’s a chance to be in on the ground floor of book two – Heart Search: Found!

The fantastic author of these books, Carlie M. A. Cullen, is running an exclusive competition to name one of the characters in her upcoming second novel!

Here’s what she had to say:

Sometimes, naming characters is as easy as breathing. Mostly they jump into my head, fully formed, and their names just pop onto the page without a second thought. However, on occasions, minor players are harder to place. Whilst they have their parts to play, and some of them are quite integral to a certain section of the story, their formation isn’t always quite as complete as I’d like.

In Heart Search: Found, I have a character who needs naming so I decided to run an exclusive competition on my Facebook page. To enter, all you have to do is ‘like’ my page and come up with a name to suit the character, whose profile is shown on there. The winner will have the chosen name in my new book. To find out what else you can win, you’ll have to visit the page, but be quick – the competition ends midnight GMT Friday! Good luck.

Click this link to take you straight there:

http://www.facebook.com/CarlieMACullen

Oh, and before I forget, watch out for the cover reveal of the second book in the Heart Search trilogy – coming very soon to a blog near you. I’m also going to be looking for reviewers in the next couple of weeks so if you’re interested in showcasing the cover reveal, the book trailer &/or reviewing the book, please leave me a message below. I’m only looking for a certain number of people, so get your name down fast. Heart Search, book two: Found is nearly here!!

If you want to enter, you’ll have to be quick! Good luck everyone!

The Descriptive Balancing Act

One of the hardest parts about writing is getting the level of detail correct. If you don’t describe something well enough, how are the readers supposed to connect to it? On the other hand, if you describe too much they will give up reading it completely.

It has always been a balancing act, between description and plot. One thing you need to remember though is that a story should always be either plot or character driven; it cannot be driven on description. The whole point of description is to paint the scene. Think of a painting of a woman. Is it interesting if she is standing in a white canvas, nothing around her? Not really. But is it interesting if she is standing in the middle of a huge crowd, or a forest, so you can barely see her? No. An author has to try to find the middle ground, just like with that painting.

So how do you use enough description to show the scene without overwhelming it?

Step One. Focus on telling the story. You can always go back and add more detail later if it’s needed.

Step Two. Try to be realistic. Don’t put in fancy words and elaborate phrasing just because it sounds good or you think it will stun the reader with your eloquence. Look at this phrase from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/2011win.html

The Los Angeles morning was heavy with smog, the word being a portmanteau of smoke and fog, though in LA the pollutants are typically vehicular emissions as opposed to actual smoke and fog, unlike 19th-century London where the smoke from countless small coal fires often combined with fog off the Thames to produce true smog, though back then they were not clever enough to call it that.

Now a) this sentence is way too long, which makes it difficult to follow from one end to the other, and b) you only need the first 8 words. Who doesn’t know what smog is? Who doesn’t know this author is referring to the car emissions? It is unnecessary detail. And the reference to 19th-century London? This would only be relevant if this were in a Historical Fiction novel or something similar, rather than being a throw-away comment on what real smog should be.  The author should just say “The Los Angeles morning was heavy with smog,” and then move on with the story. We all know what it looks like, and those 8 words conjure enough of a picture for us to understand the scene.

Step Three. Think about your characters. How do they act, think, feel? When they do or say something can you see their personality, their motivation, their feeling behind it? You don’t need whole paragraphs to do this unless it is a scene that calls for it, e.g. when someone is crushed by grief and the emotions are overwhelming everything – including the story, sometimes all you need is a word or two. Look at this example from Heart Search: Lost by Carlie M. A. Cullen.

“I don’t know what to say,” he moaned, anguish still apparent in his tone.

The male protagonist has just accidentally hurt his partner. You can see with just a few words how much it has affected him and how he feels about it. This tells you a lot about his character, how caring and gentle he is, and how much he loves her.

Step Four. Before sending it off to an editor, give it a read through and ask yourself “Is this something I would like to read?” If the answer is no, then ask yourself why.

Four easy steps to follow towards a balanced story. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but even for the exceptions there is a rule.

The Rule. If you are going to break a rule, make sure you do it well enough that nobody cares!

Let’s look at two classic examples of this – C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien is known for his amazing scenes. Pick up The Lord of the Rings and you will find description on top of description. Even when they take up the entire page, it doesn’t feel too heavy. This is partly because of the length of the book, and partly because of the way he makes the scenes come to life. You don’t notice how long the descriptive passages are when you are lost within the world he has created.

On the south-eastern side the ground fell very steeply, as if the slopes of the hill were continued far down under the trees, like island-shores that really are the sides of a mountain rising out of deep waters.

Lewis is the exact opposite. Read The Chronicles of Narnia and you will see how little description he actually uses. The fact that this is a children’s book helps. A person’s imagination is most vivid as a child. He gives just enough detail to release the child to see the rest. He makes the reader the describer, letting them go where they want with only a little nudge. In The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe most things and people are described, but not until you are half-way through the final chapter do you learn anything about the four main characters.

And they themselves grew and changed as the years passed over them. And Peter became a tall and deep-chested man and a great warrior, and he was called King Peter the Magnificent. And Susan grew into a tall and gracious woman with black hair that fell almost to her feet … Edmund was a graver and quieter man than Peter, and great in council and judgement. He was called King Edmund the Just. But as for Lucy, she was always gay and golden-haired…

 

So now you know the steps to follow, you are half-way to having a decent novel which will engage your readers. Don’t forget that you should ALWAYS send it off to a professional editor – NEVER try to do it yourself!

Remember The Rule and happy writing!