Tag Archive | novel

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.


Review of ‘Huw the Bard’ by Connie J. Jasperson

For those of you who saw my post on Friday, I recently proofread a book called Huw the Bard, for my good friend Connie J. Jasperson. Now, before this book gets launched TOMORROW, I have a little treat for you!

HTB Front Cover

‘Huw the Bard’ by Connie J. Jasperson

Book Review

The youngest master in the Bards Guild, eighteen-year-old Huw Owyn is at the top of his craft. But the artists’ quarter catches fire, forcing Huw to flee the burning city. The turmoil and panic involved in the spread of the fire is portrayed extremely clearly, and you sympathise with all those caught up in it.

The action at the start of the book sets up everything that is to follow. We see Huw’s pain, and grieve with him, at the loss of the rest of the Bard’s Guild – including his own father, the Guild Master. The pain is very real, and while I was proofreading this book, I occasionally had tears streaming down my face. We feel his anger when he learns it wasn’t an accident, and his terror of being discovered as he tries to escape. It’s a 200-league walk, as the crow flies, to the one place he might have a friend, though the path Huw must take is anything but straight and he must face many hardships along the way.

Throughout his journey, we watch Huw grow from a young, vain man used to being the center of attention, into a courageous man who finds he is capable of far more than he ever believed possible. The way Mrs. Jasperson does this is so life-like, you often expect him to leap off the page. But her amazing characterisation isn’t limited to the main protagonist, the vast array of supporting cast have all received the same attention to detail; regardless of how much time the reader spends with them, you immediately get a sense of who they are.

Although this sounds like a ‘journey of self-discovery’, it is far more than that. There is enough adventure spread throughout to satisfy all but the most bloodthirsty of readers, while not being too gory for those that aren’t partial to violence.

Now, of course, this is a fantasy book, so where would a review be without at least mentioning some of the weird and wonderful creatures Huw encounters on his journey into the wild northlands, the one possible place of safety for him. I could talk about the stupendous firedrake, which is pretty much a small version of a mythical dragon, or the ginormous wood-wraith which looked like an extremely tall tree unless you saw the eyes, or maybe even the fire-sprites. They may not be all that large, even look quite cute, but they’re viciously lethal – so venomous that you have to wash a sword in water at least two times before it is safe enough to sheath after killing one.

There is a wide spread of diverse issues addressed in this story. From murder and rape, to treason, and even homosexuality – all are handled with the utmost delicacy by Jasperson so you know exactly how her characters feel about each of them, as well as society’s view, through the eyes of Huw and the narrator. The author has hit the perfect balance in every aspect of this book. I can’t wait to see what else is in store in the rest of the series.

A superb 5 STARS from me!

I hope this has whetted your appetite ahead of the launch tomorrow. Come back here in the morning to find the links to this amazing novel on Amazon!

Huw the Bard – Cover Reveal!

It’s been a long time since I posted, but I like waiting for something worth sharing (plus I’ve been ill). I’m not the sort of person who will write a blog post about what I had for dinner, so a big THANK YOU to all the followers who have stuck with me and kept an eye out for any new material! Here’s something extra special just for you. I’ve recently proofread a wonderful fantasy book called Huw the Bard by my good friend Connie J. Jasperson, and today is the cover reveal.

So, without any further ado… here it is!


HTB Front Cover



Huw Owyn is the last true bard in Waldeyn.


Fleeing a burning city,

Everything he ever loved in ashes behind him,

Penniless and hunted, no place is safe.

Abandoned and alone, eighteen-year old Huw the Bard must somehow survive.


It’s two-hundred leagues to safety,

And then two-hundred more.


A lot can happen to a man on a journey like that.


And we even have an extra little surprise for you… Keep scrolling to find a short extract from the book!

Murfee’s voice drifted back, saying, “Did you see that? Jaky got himself a biggie! You couldn’t have done any better, Bil!”

Dismounting, Huw handed his reins to Derik, who rode just ahead, and attempted to retrieve his sword from the dead lion. At first, it seemed to be stuck, so he placed his foot on the cat’s body and yanked until it came out. When it finally did come free, he stumbled backwards, staggering like a drunk. Fighting the urge to laugh hysterically, he steadied his nerves as he stood, nonchalantly cleaning the bloody blade with his rag, trying to remember what the Bear had told him about disposing of anything he killed. “Always clear the road once you’ve dispatched a beast or a highwayman. Act like you’ve done it all your life, no matter how badly you’re shaking in your boots,” he’d said.

The great cat’s corpse partially blocked the trail, and Huw knew he couldn’t just leave it there. He wasn’t sure he had the strength to move such a large carcass alone, but had to at least try. Looking around, he couldn’t see a ditch, so decided to move it to the cliff-side edge and try to shove it off there. Straining with all his might, he dragged the beast out of the road. It turned out to be a much more difficult task than he expected, as the creature seemed to weigh as much as a horse. Nevertheless, by rolling first the tail end and then the head, he finally had the cat perched at the edge of the cliff.

Making every effort not to look over the abyss, Huw nudged the dead lion toward the brink, trying to nudge it over without losing his balance. Unfortunately, the great body stuck on a low shrub and stubbornly refused to go any further. In desperation, Huw put as much force as he could into it and with a mighty heave he strained to get the huge cat rolling.

Suddenly the tail end of the immense carcass lurched over the edge, yanking the rest with it, sending it tumbling down the cliff.

Of course, this threw Huw off balance. The combination of his efforts and the lion’s momentum as it plummeted into the gorge, nearly sent him over the edge. Desperately grabbing at shrubs and bracing against the rocks to hold himself back, he clung to the cliff, speechless with terror. Frozen, he watched the cat’s body careening down the sheer mountainside, occasionally bouncing like a rock. Through it all, he had to fight a nearly overwhelming urge to scream madly. Indeed, he couldn’t speak for fear of bursting into girlish hysteria.

Silently saying heartfelt prayers of thanks to God and all His angels, Huw remounted Blackberry, all the while keeping his jaws clenched to stop his teeth from chattering.


All I can say is… WOW! This is one heck of a brilliant book. Extremely well written, with plenty of action, while still having a lot of character building – this novel has it all. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series has in store! Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming launch!


Meet the amazing author, Connie J. Jasperson!

Connie Profile PicConnie J. Jasperson, author of The Tower of Bones Series and the Billy’s Revenge Series.  Her worlds are crafted out of whole-cloth and peopled entirely with her imaginary friends.  Sometimes reality intrudes and writing grinds to a halt, but through it all she continues to build the worlds and their people that she loves so much.

Connie Johnson-Jasperson lives in rural Washington state, where she shares five children and 11 grandchildren with her husband.  She has worked as a field hand for a Christmas tree grower, a hotel maid, a photographer’s assistant, a bookkeeper, and spent many years in the data-entry pool for several large corporations.  Her favorite music to write to ranges from Blackmore’s Night to Eric Whitacre, and from Pearl Jam to the Seattle Symphony. She is currently working on another book in the Tower of Bones series of tales built around the World of Neveyah.  With her move to Myrddin Publishing Group new opportunities have opened up, and along with new books in both of her fantasy series which are due to be published in 2014, she is working on a science fiction novella.

Connie is a professional structural editor, who works primarily with self-published and Indie authors. She is passionate about helping authors achieve as professional and submission-ready a manuscript as is possible. She works closely with each author, making sure their work is handled with the utmost care and consideration.

As a published author, Connie knows only too well the importance of having a first class editor to guide you through every stage of your novel’s life and she is lucky to have both Carlie M. A. Cullen, Maria V. A . Johnson, and Irene Roth Luvaul’s expertise for her work. At this time, her first published work is undergoing a complete overhaul at the hands of these intrepid women and will re-emerge in mid 2014 under the new title. Julian Lackland. In it’s original form as The Last Good Knight, this is the tale from which the entire concept of the Billy’s Revenge series emerged.


Carlie M. A. Cullen

Well, the time is finally up. Today is the last day of the blog tour for author Carlie M. A. Cullen’s Heart Search: Found. As her fabulous editor, I got the best position to be the one to close the tour. Throughout, we’ve had the chance to meet her in a couple of amazing interviews, seen some cracking excerpts, and even got her take on a few things in various guest posts. But there was one thing missing, in my opinion. We didn’t really know what was going on inside her head while she was writing, and after. Now though, we do.

Please read the guest post below by Carlie, to find out what she really thought!

Over to you, Carlie!

When I sat down to begin writing the second book in the Heart Search trilogy, I was full of ideas and inspiration, my confidence level was running high and it started well.

When I reached 10,000 words, for some inexplicable reason I began to doubt myself. It came out of nowhere and I suffered a confidence crisis. Just because I’d written one book, did it automatically mean I could complete another? Did I have another novel in me? Would I find enough of a story to finish it? Was I a good enough author to write a second book?

Having received nothing but four and five star reviews for Heart Search: Lost, I felt I had a lot to live up to and the pressure was on!

After giving myself a stern lecture, I connected with my Muse, dug deep and carried on writing. As the word count grew, my confidence came back little by little; the doubts were still there but I was determined to prove to myself that I wasn’t a ‘one tricky pony’.

The bulk of the story was written during NaNoWriMo and I finally finished the first draft of Heart Search: Found in January this year.

I’d done it!

I can honestly say I experienced the same sense of achievement and joy as when I finished writing book one; I’d overcome my misgivings, my confidence crisis and affirmed that yes, I did have it in me to produce another novel. This was another heady experience and I was euphoric.

As the manuscript went through the various stages of editing, alpha and beta reading, my excitement grew. I was getting excellent feedback and some great suggestions for small improvements, all of which added to the strength of the storyline and through all these stages I was expertly guided by my fantastic editor, Maria V A Johnson.

While all this was going on, my wonderful cover designer, Nicole Antonia Carro, came up with a great cover which now gives my books a signature brand and ties them together beautifully. I was also working closely with my book trailer creator, Connie J Jasperson and between us came up with a new, exciting and unusual concept that we are extremely proud of.

When Heart Search, book two: Found was finally launched at the end of June, I was ecstatic yet nervous. What would my readers think? Would they like it as much as the first book? So far, the response has been fantastic and I’ve had seven five-star reviews and one four-star. It’s only been out a little over a month so its early days yet, but I’m blown away by some of the comments I’ve received.

I’ve proved to myself I’m not a ‘one trick pony’ and as I begin writing the final book in the series, I’m fired up and excited. Perhaps it will be the best one yet – I’ll let you be the judge of that!

Wow! Thanks for that Carlie. I guess, even if you’re published, you still have moments of doubt. I’m glad you were able to get past it and produce the brilliant sequel you have. I look forward to working with you on book 3: Betrayals!

Now for the last time. Here is the cover and buy-links for Carlie’s new novel, Heart Search: Found.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/11mZvnq
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/15XSYf2

And the amazing trailer one last time:

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!




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.


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:


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!

Forbidden Road Review


Forbidden Road

This is a brilliant follow-on to Tower of Bones. Sequels are often iffy, as you don’t know whether the author can keep the momentum going. Mrs Jasperson has done that and more. This book is better written, more descriptive and more gripping than the first – and I read Tower of Bones five times!

The characters go through practically every emotion under the sun at some point in the story, and their reactions are so well done, you can’t help feeling it with them. There were points when I laughed out loud as I read, and points where I felt myself crying.

Right from the start of the novel I was hooked as the main characters turned the world upside-down – doing it on a dime when they were thrust into the arena unawares. There were more twists and turns to surprise me as I continued reading, and some things I never saw coming; things I never wanted to happen to them. The role-reversal at the end was brilliantly done, and you could empathise with the confusion it caused.

I would recommend this series to anyone, and will be going slowly crazy in my room while I wait for the next book to be released.

5 * * * * *

My favourite line: “Sometimes you skitter around from topic to topic like a fart in a skillet!”

You can buy it here at Amazon: http://amzn.to/WBDQ32